Monday, June 6, 2011

How to Deal with Dr. Suckypants

Finding a new doctor is a serious task to undertake. It’s also a serious bitch to do. Since I’ve been through this excruciating mission twice now, I will offer you two very important tips, and I mean them sincerely. 1.) If you’re unsure of questions to ask a potential doctor during a meet and greet, research it online and compile a list of questions based on what you’re looking for in a physician. Don’t be afraid to ask where he/she went to medical school, how long they’ve been practising and if they have experience treating children. 2.) Trust your gut. If a doctor seems knowledgeable and friendly, than it stands to reason that she is probably a reliable, competent person and doctor. Similarly, if she is acting like a nut-job, chances are she is a nut-job. In my experience, if you’re prepared and listen to your instincts, you can’t go wrong. If you don’t do these things, then you shouldn’t be surprised when just thinking about doctor appointments drives you to immediately consume an entire bottle of wine. By now you know that despite the how awesome my current doctor is, I did have to suffer through a different, shit-tastic one first. Which is why I’ve come up with a separate set of tips, that while might seem amusing, I mean just as sincerely. The following pointers are solely for the times when you’re dealing with your own version of a crappy doctor. I present to you the things I wish I knew before dealing with Dr. Suckypants.

1.  Poker face: If you have a Dr. Suckypants, you will undoubtedly hear a lot of ridiculous statements. Things like ‘Is she walking yet?’ in reference to your daughter who is running around the office or ‘Can she pronounce at least three consonants?’ after you just finished answering yes to the previous question, which was ‘Can she say at least three words?’ In order to get through the appointment without beating someone’s head against the wall (the doctor’s or your own) you will need to work on your pa-pa-pa-poker face, pa-pa-poker face. For example, when the doctor rages at you for being irresponsible enough to have not given your daughter her 15 month vaccinations, despite the fact that your daughter is only 12 months old and was just given the 12 month shots by the same doctor who is now cursing you, do not pummel her or laugh in her face. Just put on your poker face, point out her mistake and watch her keel over from embarrassment and the kindness in your sweet smile.

2. Sarcasm is your best friend: There are some doctors who will ignore your poker face, probably because they’ve been sucking at doctoring for years and are now immune to it. These are the cases where you must implement sarcasm to get your point across. For example, you are asking you doctor to sign a statement to send to the government so that you can start receiving the federal child tax benefits. When you show her the official statement saying that a doctor signature is required, she will say that she is not allowed to sign the document. When you ask why, she will ask how she is supposed to know that you are in fact the actual mother of the child in question. Stifle the urge to scream, and just say something like ‘Oh you’re completely right. I should have never thought that you agreeing to provide medical care for this child and I meant that you believed I was her mother. Just so we’re clear though, you won’t sign this paper for me but you will let me walk out the door with a child you’re not sure is mine? And you will continue to be our doctor? Great. Thank you.'

3. Stick figures: Often, Dr. Suckypants will be unable to answer even the simplest of questions. This is either out of blatant ignorance or plain stupidity. Either way, it’s the kind of situation where sometimes drawing a picture will help. For example, you ask your doctor for advice on how to get your toddler to eat a motherfucking vegetable and she answers by wagging her finger in your face and telling you that by 15 months, you should be offering your child every kind of food. And then you clarify by saying that you already do that, but she won’t take it, hence why you’re asking for suggestions. And she responds to that by shoving a Nestle pamphlet outlining what foods to give your child when during 0-24 months in your hands. And then you say ‘NO YOU AREN’T LISTENING TO ME! YOU ARE NOT A GOOD LISTENER!’ And then she tells you to make sure your child doesn’t choke on food because that is a big concern now. Right, because that wasn’t a concern before? Maybe if you used a drawing like this, it would get your point across.

I know, right? Can't get my kid to eat, but I sure can draw.

Now that you’ve perfected your poker face, sarcasm and stick drawings, you are totally and completely ready to battle with your own version of Dr. Suckypants. There’s one last tip I’d like to offer you though.

When you’re looking into potential doctors, ask around to see if anyone you know has heard anything about the doctor, whether it’s good or bad. And if that doesn’t work, go online and Google their name. It might sound like a juvenile thing to do, but you might find some really great recommendations. On the flip side, you may find reviews warning you of long wait times or icy-cold bedside manner. Had I known about a website called before last June, I would have seen the twenty reviews for my former doctor stating all the problems I eventually ran into with her. Just remember that everybody has bad days, even doctors, so you’ll never find someone with a perfect track record. I’d say if someone has reviews both positive and negative, it’s worth a shot to at least interview them. But if they have twenty negative reviews, chances are it’s another version of Dr. Suckypants and trust me, you don’t need that shit. 

- Alice

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