Newton’s Third Law… well kinda..
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction…do you remember learning that? Somewhere in the cobwebs of my aging mind, Newton’s Third Law popped up when I thought about my most recent (last Friday, August 1st) doctor’s appointment with my new Neurologist.
You see, not long ago, I blogged about Arrogance and the Average Physician, in addition to previously blogging about some of my other ” please let me forget “ doctor(s) experiences. As I have mentioned before, I have strong feelings when it comes to both giving and receiving superior customer service, no matter what the industry may be!
And yes, I am one of “those“ people who speak up when I am the recipient of poor customer service or patient care (their negative behavior = my equally assertive reaction). But the other part of that is that I also believe in being the first to compliment and call attention to wonderful customer service & patient care when I am on the receiving end of it (their fabulous customer service = my equally “Because I’m Happy“ dance). I love to cheer & tell others about someone who is great at what he/she does or how kindly they treat the people with whom they must interact with as part of their daily job.
Sjodry’s Dream Team is coming together!
Like many of you, I have faced & dissected a number of medical frogs before discovering what has finally become my medical multidisciplinary dream team. When I first discovered what a gem my Immunologist is, I almost felt like weeping over my newly given blessing. I didn’t know whether to shout it from the rooftops or protect it as my classified top secret. I quickly gave him the nickname of Dr. “Compassion”.
Without getting into the seronegativity of it all, let’s just say that SjoDry had a particularly difficult time establishing a Rheumatologist that she genuinely likes & did not just “settle” for. Oh, did I mention that it took five years, 4 Rheumatologists, several flaring incidents of high blood pressure; tachycardia, flaming joint symptoms and tears before I found him?? But when I did find him..I discovered that he has a last name that can prove to be challenging for some (okay..Me). Being from the south, I routinely slaughter words & names on a regular basis. So I asked my new Rheumatologist.. Please tell me…what is the correct pronunciation of Noaiseh? I had asked some of his staff, and was told the following: 1. No-ice-uh 2. No-ice-ee & 3. No-ice-say… hmm, still not sure. He just laughed and said, ” Just call me Dr. Nice “. He had no idea how funny I thought that was since I had dubbed my first team member, Dr. Compassion. Pleasantly surprised to again have a very kind physician who intently listened to my rapid gunfire & unfortunately well-rehearsed repertoire of symptoms, could it be possible that I had discovered another SjoDry Dream Team Member? After multiple Rheumy appointments with Dr. Noaiseh, it is with pleasure and great thankfulness, that SjoDry has indeed confirmed another wonderful dream team member. Not only that…Sjodry has learned (actually researched beforehand) that Dr. Noaiseh trained under one of the leading Sjogren’s Syndrome Doctors in the country and is starting a Sjogren’s Syndrome Clinic here in Pittsburgh, PA. Did I mention the word, Blessing?
And then there was Jobe..
Dr. Blair Jobe, that is. As you are all acutely aware, Sjogren’s Syndrome is the gift that keeps on giving! Never mind all of the possible adjectives & crude gestures that could accompany that statement. I’m just mentioning it so you will understand why I added a Thoracic Specialist/Surgeon to my dream team. It just so happens he is also world renowned & invented the very uncomfortable & gag-inducing Impedement Test which required me to host a horribly intrusive tube up my nose & down my throat for 24 hrs. I think it was the most quiet I have ever been for 24 hrs. My husband, Steve didn’t complain about the side effects. But just for the heck of it, I looked up the name/word Jobe to see if it has any interesting meanings. I was surprised to see that the archaic use of the word jobe meant to criticize or scold. Now there are many physicians who could own that definition, but I am happy to report that Dr. Jobe is most certainly NOT one of them. I knew that I had another addition to my Dream Team, when on two separate appointments, Dr. Jobe apologized to me for being late & making me wait. Picture my shocked, whiplash-like reaction. It was evident that his kindness & his ability to listen & treat me as if he had all day to spend with me, was his well established and ingrained standard of patient care. Score another one for SjoDry!!
And now.. yet another fabulous doctor for SjoDry!! We have all learned (and it is usually true) that the really great docs we so desperately seek out, can take months to get into to see. In my case, it took 6 months to get in with my new Neurologist (Dr. Galen Mitchell). However, 6 months is better than his previous work location where patients had a two year wait. Is it just me or do any of you know the minute that you speak to your new physician, that you have just hit the physician lotto? From the moment he walked into the room with his kind smile, twinkling eyes, the shaking of my hand .. and YES…another apology for being late… I knew I liked him!
I am thinking that this pattern that I am recognizing with my great physicians, is their ability to connect as a caring person first, before I am met with the typically tightly constructed doctor wall. And in most cases with this type of caring doctor, the doctor wall doesn’t even go up. It is more of a professional and interactive conversation based on two people sharing information. There is a definite distinction that stands out to me. Now granted, we are still in our Doctor ~ Patient roles… it’s just that I have not been forced into the typical & well established Superior ~ Subordinate role.. before attempting to establish what I hope will be a trusting relationship. I wish all physicians knew that being kind to their patients & exposing a small glimpse of who they are as a person, will not compromise their physician role in any way and in fact, is very reinforcing to a patient. And after a lengthy search to find the right doctor(s) fit for me, I now recognize that the common thread that is shared by each of my dream team members is a mixture of: brilliance; knowledge of their field; the ability to listen; kindness; a sense of humor and compassion.
At my initial appointments with two different physicians/specialties, (who are now a part of my dream team), each physician said the same thing to me. After being blinded and deafened by my copius, complex and dis-jointed medical history, they responded with, ” You’re a mess “. This comment always elicits a deja-vu chuckle from me. But more than that, it underscores that I have found the right physician. I very much appreciate a doc who will tell me up front, ” I don’t know what’s wrong with you “. Because so far, that statement has translated into me finding a doc who is willing to help me find answers, and more importantly, solutions! The reality is that I am a mess and it is hard, if not impossible, to determine the answer(s) to the universal Sjodry question of ‘which thing is causing which thing’ ?? But I know that we can all agree that finding a compassionate doctor who will truly listen and is willing to search for answers, is half the battle. Of course, it helps if he/she is personable enough to share his baked bean recipe with me and shares my same enthusiasm for a good bowl of ‘down home’ southern cheese & garlic GRITS!
If you are still searching for your multidisciplinary dream team members, don’t give up! While I know that the search can at times, be a supreme exercise of frustration; wasted co-pays and stress, it is possible to find the right “dream team calibur” docs. And when that happens, you will be thanking yourself for continuing the search. And if I have learned anything on this rocky journey of poor health that we Sjoggies travel, it is that we are nothing, if not persistent!
So keep fighting the good Sjoggie fight and you will, in time, find your Dream Team along the way!