No. this is not a celebratory post about how I am now a doctor. And let us not even begin the discussion of how I would already be a doctor if I had chosen professional school instead. That topic will only leave me crying.
This is about how in the current era of modern medicine we all must, to some degree, be our own doctors.
How many times do you save up until you have a laundry list of complaints to go to the doctor? Or do you sit in the waiting room and attempt to itemize your sympotms in order to give the doctor all the pertinant information, only to get in the room and forget the most important ones?
Being intellegent only makes physician visits worse. Let us be realistic. To get into medical school you must be able to make good grades and score well on a multiple choice test. These things in no way measure your capacity to problem solve. Sorry mom and dad, little Billy’s ability to out preform his peers on multiple choice tests does not mean he will be a neurosurgeon. Once in medical school you are striped of all your pride and given a God complex. Don’t get me wrong- you work and study your brains out. Day and night, for two years, learning everything applicable about the general human body. Key words there being “applicable” and “general”.
Whereas your philosophical counterpart, ie me, spends years learning minute detail about the specifics. Key words being “detail” and “specific”. I will not be preforming surgery, setting bones, or fixing joint problems any time soon, but chances are I can out diagnose you and likely out perscribe you. (This could just be me being catty, because despite these things, I will never make as much money. But I also don’t have to worry about malpractice)Obviously professional and educational philosophies of medicine do not readily mesh. Generally, neither do our personalities.
Needless to say, I have a hard time finding doctors I get along with. And, believe it or not, I dislike physicians who are basically and expensive proxy for me writing my own perscriptions. I prefer dialouge. I like to speak with my physician as a equal, as a peer, discussing options and doing research, and having a choice in my treatment plan. Becase, let’s face it, no one knows me better than I know myself. And even if I were to write a list of signs and sympotms, chances are I would leave something off. But if my doctor gives me sopme options I can do what I do best- GOOGLE!…I mean research! Yea, research. That is what I meant.
But in all seriousness, Wikipedia is a great place to start. As long as one does not treat it as the end all and be all, it is a nice place to get the basics in an occasionally neat format. Unfortunatley because different people write different articles some are remarkably informative and well constructed, and some just suck.
However, not all medical personel appreciate the input of their patient. Which is understandable when you have a person coming in asking for a drug just cause they saw it on the TV or WedMD. (Another reason I just said NO to medical school). It is like going out, buying thousands of dollars of plants, then hiring a professional landscaper. The landscaper looks at your property and sees that all of the plants you bought will not be able to survive in the conditions of your yard. The continual whining of “But pretty! Pretty flowers! You can make it work! Pretty!” will not negate the vast amount of money you spent on flowers that will die in two weeks because they need shade your yard cannot provide.Of course you paying a few grand to a landscaper who plants nothing but cacti in your yard is hardly satisfying either. It is about communication.
So most physicians attempt to strong arm you into their treatment plan, wasting time, money, and my patience. Life is not like a Dr House episode. You cannot keep me trapped in a hospital while you randomly throw drugs in my IV hoping for improvement based on educated guesses. Allowing me to participate in my treatment allows me to spend time looking over the medications and really considering what would appear to fit me best. Which is more productive than 15 minutes of spin the wheel-o-pharmaceuticals! Or listening to an outdated lecture on how this is the course of treatment, from the 1980’s (which is why I almost failed fall semester of my jr year in college, and I am still torqued at that doctor). It is what allowed me to catch my personal, albeit rare, reaction to a drug interaction. Which would not have happened if I had not done the research myself. But discussing it with my doctor allowed us to better understand what was going on.
There has to be a middle ground. Unfortunately, I acknowledge that with education being the way it is, expecting your patient to understand the different types of antibiotics or pain medication or actions of neuropharmacitucles is impossible. Drug reps and commercial pharmaceuticals attempt to bridge the gap, but what can you really learn in a 30 second commercial? So sorry doctors, its time to go back to school. Patient education needs to be a major part of the medical field. Granted, a science class in high school might be helpful. You would be surprised what you can break down to a high school level. While patient education seems to be, largely, a nurses job- people have a nasty tendency to undervalue our nurses. Which is silly, because they always have needles and are closer to your veins/ IV bag than most doctors. Most people only listen to what the doctor says.
Additional attention and education might, *might*, decrease the number of law suits. You can’t say they did not properly educate you if they can pull out your quiz grade!
So there we have it- if you want the best medical care time to start working on that home MD.