Seven years ago, I chose to switch care from a male gynecologist to a female gynecologist. I wanted a professional who could actually relate to my monthly cycle experiences and know what I’m describing to her because she has the same parts as me.
I had observed this doctor as she cared for my daughter during her pregnancy and was impressed with her calm demeanor, ability to listen, and the overall respect she showed my daughter as a woman. Well, I started to notice a few years ago that my not so new doctor was losing her bedside manner.
Initially, I chalked it up to, “maybe she had a difficult patient before I came in today”. We have all had opportunities to be stressed out by the way someone has mistreated us, so…..
Unfortunately, the next visit was no better. She was more hurried, terse in her comments, and more bent on telling me what to do than discussing my care with me. The doctor may be the expert on the body in general, but I am the expert on me! I have lived in my body all my life!
Just a few days ago I went for my annual gyn exam, which is no trip to the spa, so I’m usually a little uneasy when I get there. After signing in, handling payment and waiting in a room full of women who don’t look excited to be there either, its finally my turn. The nurse weighs me, takes me to the exam room, takes my blood pressure and uh-oh, it’s high. I have a monitor at home and as a part of my committment to take good care of myself. I have taken my pressure every day during the month of February and it has always been normal. The doctor doesn’t care about my little home machine, so when she comes in the room and takes one look at my BP for the last 3 visits and sees each one is higher than normal (this visit being the highest), she immediately announces to me that I have high blood pressure, need to be on medication, go see your doctor, I’m taking you off the pill..etc.
I brought up coming off of the pill 2 years ago and she looked at me as if I was crazy and asked me what I was going to do for contraception? I thought, “this is where you offer your expertise not ask me questions.” So I ask her what is available and she pretty well talked me out of it and here I am 2 years later having to make the changes anyway.
As I tried to ask her questions she seemed anxious to get on to the next person. She practtically had one hand on the door as I am scrambling through my thoughts to voice my concerns. A doctor is meant to be your partner in caring for your health, offering their expertise to help you understand what’s happening and helping you decide what’s best for you. Barking out orders and telling me what to do is not partnership or medical support.
My doctor knows a great deal about her field of medicine, but she does not know a great deal about me e.g. I’m seriously lactose intolerant so maybe my calcium levels should be checked. It’s worth looking into. She gave me a recommendation for new contraception that doesn’t address my need for something to keep my periods from being too heavy. She hadn’t taken time to even look that far into my chart until I brought it to her attention. At that moment, I felt like I was just every woman and not receiving care specifically for me. I didn’t appreciate her insensitve approach.
I am concerned about getting to the root of the instability of my blood pressure and working with a doctor who does not just want to slap some drugs down my throat and call it a day. This is how I ended up on your website.
I love to research because I need to understand and your site offered the answers to questions I have about the possible link between calcium defficiency and high blood pressure. What’s the point in taking meds if there are other factors that need to be addressed as well. So, I can not simply bow in surrender to whatever the good doctor says. I want to do all I can to be healthy, not just live medicated.