Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013 Sheryl Jedlinski
Dr. Phil used to say, “We teach people how to treat us.” Nowhere is this more true than in the medical community.
Against my better judgment, I recently gave up half a day to bring my two bionic knees for their one-year check-up. I say this because past experience taught me not to expect much, if anything, in the way of answers from my orthopedic surgeon. After all, he is accustomed to having his patients “out” when he works his magic, and I am sure he prefers it that way. Still, even I did not think he could limbo under the extremely low bar I had set for him… but he did.
Imagine a follow-up exam during which your surgeon did not look at your expensive new digital x-rays, which he ordered; watch you walk, or even move your knees around a bit. Well, this is how my check-up went. To be fair, doing these tasks would have necessitated that his full body enter the exam room, and that never happened. He did crane his neck over the threshold and almost make eye contact with me. His hand, however, remained on the door handle the entire 90 seconds (and that is being generous) he was there, signaling that he had more important things to do and was not interested in taking questions.
While doctors must be held accountable for their own poor behavior, patients must assume some of the blame as well. After all, we worship them like rock stars, making excuses like, “Anyone who takes people apart and puts them back together has to have a “God Complex.” When did good bedside manner and excellent technical skills become mutually exclusive traits?
When it is time for my next check-up, I’ll take my knees shoe shopping instead; at least then we’ll have something to show for our money and time.