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Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Or as Andy from Parks & Rec says, “Almost only counts in horse grenades.” I’m sure you’re familiar with this colloquialism. We often say that something is almost good enough, or almost there, or almost right. For many things ‘almost’ is acceptable, but not when it comes to your health. Would you be OK with ‘almost’ the right diagnosis? How about ‘almost’ the right medication? What about, “Well, I almost got better”?
Almost the right doctor isn’t good enough. Settling for, ‘just any doctor’ doesn’t cut it either!
We live in a world where virtually every product has a review and you can find the opinions of thousands of users on the product you are considering. I just spent an hour earlier today reading reviews trying to determine which bag chair I should get to replace the broken one I have now. Size, weight, comfort, features, cost and durability all considerations in my purchase and all this information readily available online. Since I use bags chairs a lot, I wanted one that is comfortable and would last, but that wouldn’t cost a fortune (I did see a recliner that looked awesome, but it was nearly $300!). It was worth the time to hopefully find a good one.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter which product you buy. If you send me to the store to buy a bag of sugar, I’m just going to grab the cheapest one. Want some packing tape? Milk? Glass cleaner? Batteries? Aluminum Foil? Yeah, I’m just going to grab the cheapest one unless you specify.
Many things in life are that way, but not your doctor. Choosing a physician is not something you should do flippantly. They will actually hold your health and well-being in their hands. Are you really going to spend hours researching which car to buy, but just pick your doctor at random from the phone book?
Sometimes which product you choose does matter and your healthcare provider is definitely one.
It seems as though we too readily accept less than the best. You can see it all over the place. We buy poorly designed, poorly manufactured products all the time. The more we buy junk, the more junk is produced.
Did you know that if we don’t buy the junk that we are being sold, the producers won’t make it any more. We have the power to demand better. We can use our spending power to control production.
If you want a phone charger cable that lasts more than a week, demand it! Does it bother you that a $1000 phone requires a $100 case to keep it from breaking at the slightest drop? How about a $30K vehicle that’s primary selling point is Apple Carplay and that it is unlikely to last more than 100k miles?
How about your Doctor? Are demanding the best or settling like the rest?
If you already have a primary care physician, that’s great. Well, it’s great if they are the right doctor for you. Remember, almost good enough doesn’t work here! But how do you know if you have settled for an ‘almost good enough’ doctor? Consider these warning signs:
Never says “I don’t know” – News flash! No one knows it all. If your doctor never acknowledges that they don’t have the answer, this could be a problem. You want a doctor that has the humility to admit they don’t have the answer and then the willingness to go find it.
Over testing – Testing is a valuable tool, but over testing is a problem. Tests are expensive and can be over used. An over-reliance on tests could indicate a tendency to take short cuts,
Doesn’t pay attention – Ever feel like no one is listening? You know your body and what you are experiencing. Your doctor should be paying close attention to you and the symptoms you report!
Hates Questions – Does your doctor respond to your questions as though you are challenging their authority? Do they respond at all? A good doctor will address any and all questions and concerns.
Too quick to prescribe – Like ordering too many tests, being too quick to write scripts can also be an indication of a problem. Just like some parents stick their children in front of a screen to keep them occupied, some doctors hand out meds like candy just to shut you up.
Staff mood – What is the atmosphere like in your doctor’s office? Do you feel like you are at the DMV? Happy employees provide the best service. If the staff seems miserable, they probably are. If it’s a lousy place to work, it’s your care that will suffer.
The office is a mess – When you show up for your appointment, does it seem like you are walking into a Communist Bloc era morgue? If an organization cares about the cleanliness, attractiveness and comfort of their facility they are more likely to care about you!
Well, actually there is only one reason. You. You are worth it and your health is just that important. Sure there are many variables that you have to consider, insurance, location, etc that can limit your options, but in the end, this really is all about you.
This is your life, your health, your well-being! Don’t settle. Demand the best and find a physician that cares about you like you are the last patient on earth!