Hi everyone! So this week the hot topic is about breaking up with a rheumatologist. This hits home because I've dealt with my fair share of bad relationships on the rheumatologist front, over the last 19 years of living with rheumatoid arthritis. Which eventually led me to the right person for me.
Interestingly enough, through reflection, journaling, and therapy I have realized that your relationship with your provider is not only one of the most important ones you will have/need... but it can be connected to other relationships in your life. I.e. family members, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, etcetera.
Let me explain further. Most often, if a relationship with a friend or significant other is toxic or unhealthy that typically leads to a separation of some kind. Or the creation of firm boundaries if it's a family member or someone else where cutting out the connection isn't all that possible. However, the actions you take or don't take in other relationships can trickle into how you handle your relationship with your provider sometimes.
Other times, people get comfortable or can't move forward for multiple legit reasons. The "easier said than done" phrase comes into play here. There have been times when I didn't leave a doctor due to being comfortable, even though my intuition along with signs and synchronicities pointed to a glaring red flag. What would follow would be a harsh lesson in listening to my intuition to find someone else. The red flag and green flag theories of what to look for in a relationship can be applied to your search for a rheumatologist, or to even recognize unhealthy patterns in your own patient-doctor relationships.
Some of the red flags that made me break up with past rheumatologists were as follows:
1. Not feeling heard, seen, or validated
2. Communication styles not matching. I like to ask a lot of questions, and I appreciate a doctor who takes the time to answer/explain things.
3. Bad bedside manner
4. Not being given treatment option choices, when there were many
5. Not matching my ambition/drive to get to a healthier state/or understanding the functional/alternative medicine options I want to do. Or if they did understand, they didn't properly work with my other providers to the best of their ability. Also, being negative with comments such as, "You'll have a long road ahead," (Really? How about you help me not have a long road), or the one time a surgeon (who wasn't my doctor even), told me to stop talking. Abuse and toxicity occur with providers more than we think.
The green flags that led me to find "the one"..are basically the opposite of every red flag I listed above.
*My question(s) and topics for discussion this week:*
-Share your rheumatologist break-up stories with the community.
-What were/are the red flags vs. green flags in your patient-doctor relationship?
-What would your advice be to someone who is needing to leave their provider now to find a new one?
-What changes can be made for patients who can't leave their doctor to find a new one because of insurance issues, financial reasons, and proximity/lack of rheumatologists in their area? What would you say to members of Congress if you had a chance to speak to them?
I am looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!
Cheers to a great start to the week, and hang in there if you're going through a rough patch. <3 Just remember you all deserve the best care and best relationships, no matter which forms they take.