Occasionally my job involves attending medical appointments with clients to advocate to their doctors on their behalf for services that they might not be receiving. Some of the doctors I’ve met have been excellent but unfortunately some are terrible. Today I met with a terrible one. He had sent my client a letter in the mail telling her that due to her positive drug test he would be discharging her as a patient unless she attended his designated detox and residential rehabilitation treatment center. You would imagine that a doctor would recognize firstly that addiction is a medical condition and secondly that a person cannot be successful in treatment unless they themselves want to be there. Once there, the office quickly changed their mind and said that they had used the letter as a “scare tactic” and that what she was doing now was good enough for them. Recognizing that the details are not really interesting for everyone else I’ll skim. He was lacking in basic knowledge of addiction treatment and gave some suggestions that were the opposite of reality. He was also extremely condescending. I politely corrected him a couple of times however in the end bit my tongue on a few things because there is a rather large application package that we needed him to complete.
Seeing his lack of knowledge and poor bedside manner reminded me of how lucky I am to have a great doctor. I know of people who have to wait months to get in and see their doctor and when they do, they are treated poorly. My doctor will get me in the same day I call, all the team know my name without looking at a chart (since my crazy means frequent visits) and are all very helpful and supportive. She doesn’t bullshit me, if she doesn’t know something she says she doesn’t know and finds the answer. I am very aware that people often complain when they receive poor service but are generally not forthcoming with positive feedback. To that I decided that I would write up a thoughtful card and buy a nice box of chocolates to thank the team for all their great work. By the time I saw the doctor, everyone on the team had seen it and was very appreciative. The doctor said “after the day I’ve had I really needed that. Thank you”. Everyone likes to be appreciated and recognized for the work that they do.
Some of us watched this TEDtalk at work today and it was another good reminder for me about the importance of treating people well and the impact something you say can have on them.
http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership (worth the six minutes of your life to watch)
As for the appointment, I of course “forgot” to mention the part about my Monday night crazy episode and told her only about the sleep disturbances and anxiety. She has started to wean me off the Zoloft and suggested I try taking melatonin to help me sleep for now. At this point it’s up to the psychiatrist next week to decide what magic beans I will try next. What a super fun adventure!