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My "Finding the Right New Doctor" Nightmare--Am I Alone in This?

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

For some reason I haven't been able to control my blood sugar levels ever since I went through my angioplasty two months ago. I take long walks with my dog in the mornings, and go to the gym in the evenings. I enjoy the Zumba classes that I recently discovered. I eat small healthy meals throughout the day to maintain the levels. I am physically active most of the day but I could not get my sugars under control. Before the procedure I never went over 200 even after I ate a hearty meal, and now I watch what I eat more carefully but I still have this problem. So, my cardiologist recommended an endocrinologist who he thought was the best in the business. Since I am new to this place I took my cardiologist's advice and went to this doctor.

After the preliminary steps of taking my blood pressure, pulse, weight, height, family history, and health history, the medical assistant sat me in the examination room to wait for the physician. After a half hour wait the doctor walked in and just stood in front of me as if expecting me to say something. I never got an introduction from him. I never saw a smile on his face that made me feel comfortable. The nervous feeling I carried throughout that visit increased by the minute in the room. As we spoke, I noticed he never raised his head up and looked towards me. To me, it is important for the doctor to make eye contact so I can feel like I am communicating with a person, not a wall. He continued to speak to the walls or hung his head low as if to avoid the very fact that could make me feel assured that he knew what he was talking about or his subject well. He never placed a stethoscope on me or checked my feet or made me stick my tongue out. I felt panicked, for he never sat down in front of me to discuss my problems.

I placed all my previous blood reports and cardiology reports, my glucometer, and my sugar levels throughout the month on the table and told him that I brought all these. He never once looked at them. After asking couple of questions about my family history and heart procedure the first thing he said was "You need to have common sense in controlling your eating habits and sugar levels. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you have a serious hereditary problem. It is just general knowledge to eat less and exercise. That's all you have to do."

I was told to take the short acting insulin with each big meal. I was never told how much I should take. When I asked about it he just used that "common sense'" term to let me know it's my judgment call on how much to use. He gave me a general knowledge answer to take however much I was using and increase or decrease the insulin as I figure it out to be appropriate. I was looking for a ballpark figure to start with and go from. As I was smiling nervously and trying to figure out how to ask the next question without getting the "common sense" or "general knowledge" answers, he looked serious and ended our meeting with "Make an appointment after a month with your next blood work", and walked out.

I still cannot figure out why exactly I went to this doctor. I started taking four to six units of short acting insulin for the past few weeks. I went into severe hypoglycemic shock three times already. My sugars are still the same way. And I feel exhausted with these visits to so many doctors with so many attitudes that are affecting my overall health.

I called my insurance people and asked them to give me a couple of doctors who are in my neighborhood so I could go to them instead. I called them up and picked one of the doctors who was supposed to be the best internal medicine doctor. His receptionist assured me twice while I was on the phone that the doctor has treated and managed diabetic patients for years and that he must have at least 50 diabetic patients under his care. So, I took myself to this doctor. I went at 10:30 for the appointment, I was seen at 1:30 and was sent out by 1:45 in the afternoon. This time the doctor I chose didn't even have time to look at my face as he banged on the key board so hard that my ears hurt. All the while he was complaining to the student physician assistant interning under him how she typed the incorrect spellings and was actually correcting them while I was there instead of assessing my problem. Finally, he said one sentence: "stop eating any bread, rice, pasta, or any other carbohydrates, and your problem will be solved." He gave me a card for yet another endocrinologist who he thought was good and an order for my thyroid blood work and told me to come in two months. He never took time to discuss about my medications, or my problem with hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

I walked out of this doctor's office wondering again why exactly I was there in the first place. Now, I am again in search of a doctor who is expert in what he does, and is compassionate, patient, confident, makes eye contact when communicating, takes in my history before throwing yet another test or medication at me out of the blue, and does not collect $10 for filing his fee with my insurance. Is it just me being picky and desperate or is anyone out there with similar experiences?

Add a Comment1 Comments

Wow, big sympathy for you. My situation is much the same except I can't get a referral to a specialist and, if I could, I'm not going to drive for hours to see someone who will very likely patronize me and tell me nothing I don't already know.

I used to like and respect doctors but those days are over. Now, all I want to avoid these self-serving hypocrites and die as natural a death as possible. But then, I'm old. If you aren't, you will have keep trying. I don't.

January 20, 2011 - 12:47am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.