It is every parent's nightmare: your child is sick. I experienced this last month, and saying that it was frustrating would be an understatement. Going to the walk-in clinic and ER is exhausting when you see multiple doctors who don't know your family's story. It feels like they give you five minutes to explain why you are there, and then provide a quick generic answer as to what they think is causing the symptoms, and send you on your way.
The worst part is feeling no one is listening, let alone taking the time to get to know you. I think that is one of the main reasons that people have a hard time trusting doctors lately. It's hard to take someone's word for something, when you feel like they are not paying attention to you, and that they don't know what you have been going through. It seems like every time we go in, I'm told my son has a "virus," and that we should go back if his symptoms persist. Then they do, and we go back in the revolving door, only to be told the same thing.
I completely understand why doctors are hesitant to misdiagnose something, and throw antibiotics at us every time, but there has to be some happy medium. The first time (or two) that I go in, I usually accept the "virus" explanation, and I wait it out like they ask. When it goes on for weeks, and they defer investigating further, I feel like I have no one on my side. For a mother who works outside of the home, I can't spend every day that my son is under the weather at home, no matter how badly I wish I could. As long as we are told it's a virus that needs to run its course, we have to keep him out of daycare.
I think the worst part of it is that we feel like just another number to them. Aside from our primary physician, every other doctor makes us feel like we are just another task on their long "to-do" list, and that they are trying to get out the door as soon as possible. It would be nice to feel heard and understood by a doctor, instead of being made to feel like an over-anxious burden.
The best doctors make time to listen and teach their patients, even when they are busy. It can be scary for us to deal with symptoms and issues that we don't completely understand. Dr. Brian Crownover, owner of Treasure Valley Family Medicine (a medical clinic in Meridian, Idaho) says:
"Relationships matter, and relationships developed over time and not limited by short appointment slots are the magic mojo which allows physicians to connect, educate and keep you living life to the fullest. Embrace those doctors who truly live up to their name - Doctore - which is Latin for teacher; your doctor should be eager to both listen and comprehensively teach about your concerns and needs."
Many good doctors are practicing today - don't get me wrong. Although uncommon, I do encounter some who are not merely competent, but can really help ease my mind; they are the ones that I want to stick with as long as possible. My advice to you is to keep searching until you find a primary care doctor that not only treats your body, but one that addresses all your fears and concerns over the long term. Don't settle; you are not stuck forever with doctors that make you feel unimportant and ignored. Plenty of options exist, and I know you can find the best fit for you and your family.