The Match Game
Today’s Prompt: Describe your perfect doctor to treat your Migraines.
“Perfect” is such an ambiguous term. I prefer to describe my “ideal” doctor. The following traits assume that the “ideal” doctor would accept my insurance and be located within 1-2 hours from my home.
Knowledgeable – The ideal doctor would have extensive knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of Migraines that is consistent with the current body of knowledge. He or she would also keep current on the latest developments in Migraine research and treatments from reliable sources (not pharmaceutical reps!). He or she would also become a knowledgeable student of my condition. Each patient is different. An ideal doctor would be well-versed in the uniqueness of how the disease manifests itself in my life.
Comprehensive – The ideal doctor would take into account any other health concerns and look for the obvious and not-so-obvious explanations for my body’s lack of responsiveness to past treatments. He or she would actually read the summary of my Migraine Diary and make appropriate recommendations based on these facts, not on some impersonal flow chart in the computer system.
Open-minded – He or she would be open to new ideas and incorporate them into the practice. I use complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM). I have doctors who are aware of this and accepting but know very little about it. My ideal doctor would at the very least be willing to collaborate with CAM providers. Even more ideal would be a doctor whose practice routinely includes CAM. The doctor doesn’t have to provide all the services, but going to a single office for massage therapy, chiropractic care, nutritional education, yoga, aromatherapy, as well as medical management of Migraines would be wonderful.
Compassionate – My ideal doctor would take the time to develop a relationship with me. He or she would ask about my whole life, not just the Migraines. This doctor would take the time to build rapport and hear my concerns, answer my questions, and respect my choices when we disagree.
Available – We all know that going to the ER is a roll of the dice. Even the good ones who follow established protocols (i.e. using NSAIDS, not narcotics) fall short of understanding how to treat refractory pain from a Migraine. An ideal doctor would be one who offers urgent care treatment of refractory Migraines in a comfortable office setting free from the noises, harsh lighting, and possible mistreatment of an ER.
Humble – An ideal doctor would have an appropriate amount of humility. He or she would respect a patient’s right to direct the course of treatment without threatening to “dismiss” the patient. This doctor would understand and accept the limitations of his or her practice and be open to referrals, consultations, or additional information if it is in my best interest. He or she would believe me when I say that certain medications have already been tried and failed, that certain foods are/are not a trigger for me, and that certain protocols are/are not helpful. I don’t need a “one trick pony”. I need a “one man band” with an orchestra waiting in the wings.
Collaborative – This doctor would maintain regular communication with my primary care doctor, my naturopath, my chiropractor, and any other provider I choose to include in my care. Additionally, the course of treatment would be a collaborative process between the doctor and me. He or she would also collaborate with my insurance company and me to find the most suitable treatments for me.
Advocate – My ideal doctor would be my advocate if a problem occurred with my insurance company. But more importantly, he or she would be an advocate for dispelling the myths about Migraine to the broader public. I would want a doctor who cares as much about public perception as I do.
My own primary care physician is amazing. He almost fulfills all of my criteria, with one glaring omission. He is not a Migraine specialist. I am apprehensive to visit a “specialist” out of concern that I will lose the compassion, collaboration, humility, and open-mindedness that I have come to cherish. Yet it is time to reach out and see what can be found. Wish me luck!
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation.
The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.