Articles

Taking the Bite Out of Visiting Your Physician

Look at this guy’s teeth!

We did…up close.

Scary.

Thankfully, there was a huge and very thick glass-type barrier keeping this guy from getting close enough to do any damage.

Relief.

It’s one thing to get up close to dangerous objects and know for certain they can’t hurt you…can’t get close enough to do any harm…it’s quite another to invite frightening experiences into your own life.

Am I referring to personal relationships here?

Nope.

Earlier this week I read an article on the growing number of patients who claim to be afraid of their own physicians.

As I read the article, I shook my head in amazement.

Why would anyone go to a doctor they were afraid of?

I mentally thought about all of my physicians. These are people I respect, like and trust. I can’t imagine experiencing fear with any single one of them. (If I did…I’d be changing doctors pronto.)

I wondered why people are afraid of the very people whose job (and mission) it is to care for them?

Turns out, the answer is simpler than I thought.

Individuals fear being viewed as difficult patients( they fear mis-stepping with their doctors and then being labeled as non-compliant…thus, in their minds, endangering the level of care they will receive.)

They fear being viewed as ignorant or as having a lack of knowledge (it’s the old pride issue rearing its ugly head again…)

People view physicians as authority figures and if they’ve experienced the negatives of poor leadership (in any area of their lives) folks naturally bring that apprehension into their doctors’ offices.

Looking at these concerns from this perspective it makes a lot more sense to me now.

But it also makes sense for patients to start dismantling these same fears.

When I think about a doctor’s primary objective as to first do no harm…I am consoled (and put at ease.)

I walk into my physicians’ offices knowing they are for me…they care about me…they want to help me get better. Because they do.

I also enter my doctors’ offices knowing they know more than me….otherwise….why bother wasting my time and money consulting with them?

Last, as I noted earlier, I respect, like and trust my doctors…but, here’s the important part…I don’t revere them.

They’re people.

They make mistakes.
They have bad days.
They even might, on occasion, need a good word from me as much as I need their expertise.

Looking at our medical providers as real people with real needs as great as our own helps create a safer (more congenial) environment for everyone.

And that beats fighting off the fear of getting verbally (or emotionally) devoured by our fears every time.

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