Wednesday, June 1, 2011

doctor frustrations

I went to the doctor yesterday.  It was a long overdue visit with my original OB.  I have not seen him in since we first got word that perhaps there was something to worry about.  I liked him when I met him, and he had come highly recommended.  I asked a few questions, and I asked his staff questions too.  I did not grill him, as I have grilled doctors before.  I liked that his staff has been with him for years- it is a small office and the staff has been the same for aver a decade.  I am suspicious of doctors who have a high turnover rate in their office staff.  I liked his manner.  Lily liked him, and he joked with her.  I liked that he not only plasters the walls with baby pictures, as many obstetricians do, but he keeps children's books in the office.

Now, I am beginning to question whether I want to stay with him.  What I do not like about him is that he seems to send me away for every possible test.  He does not even do the glucose test in office!  I have no idea how normal this is, but I do not like it.  That alone would not put me off, but in light of everything, I am losing confidence in him.

I want a natural birth.  I want the least medical intervention necessary for a healthy birth.  I do not want drugs and IVs.  I do not want to be tied to a bed in the hospital.  Women are very different, and it seems important to me that whatever a mother wants in this respect, should be her choice.  Some doctors push Ceseareans, some epidurals, some do not push at all.   That is what I want.  So, why do I choose a doctor in a hospital, not a midwife in a birthing center?  Keeping stress low matters in pregnancy, and my choice keeps my stress low.  I want a hands-off doctor, who will intervene only when necessary, and who will know when it is necessary.

Most troubling, when I asked him about the various tests, he seemed not to me familiar with them at all.  He did not know what they showed, or even where and why I had taken them.  So I asked, just to make sure, if he had received the reports from all my other doctors.  He had to look, but he had in fact received them.  If he had said something like, "I am sorry, I received them but I have not had a chance to look at them yet," or "Yes I saw them, but to be honest, I am not a specialist and I did not understand it all," I would be OK.  As it is, it seemed to me that he was not in the slightest interested in understanding my specific case.

If the doctor is going to hand off every test, every concern, every worry, to another doctor- why am I with him?  He would not even interpret the results of the last test I got, he just read me the report written by another doctor.  He would not tell me what was going on, whether or not he was worried, what, if anything, there was to be worried about, he just sent me to a specialist.  I do not want a baby-catcher with letters after his name.  I want peace of mind. The doctor's job, from my perspective, is to understand what is going on when I cannot- and to help me deal with it.  If everything is normal, I do not need a doctor.

I will have to make a decision soon.  I chatted with the genetic counselor about all this.  She agrees that I should feel like he is directing, not just externally participating in my care.  But, she thinks I should present him with my frustrations and give him a chance to respond before I leave.  Decisions.  I guess I should count my blessings.  It is not every mother who has the luxury of choice when it comes to which doctors we want caring for us.

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