This might seem a bit of an erroneous title to some of you, but I have been reliably assured it is accurate. As hard as it is to believe they really are people too, just like me and you!
OK sarcasm aside, sometimes as a patient it can be quite difficult to be less than respectful to our doctors when things fail go the way we had hoped. With conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), like many other chronic illness’, we see our doctors regularly. Especially our Rheumatologists and General Practitioners. When symptoms get worse, beyond tolerable, manageable or prediction, our doctors get put in the firing line as the barrier to between pain and relief.
Pain by it’s very nature makes us change our behaviours, but we may not realise all the time just how much we do change. It is human nature to get frustrated about something we desperately want to change, but can’t. Our doctors share this frustration with us at times, especially when it comes to the lengthy wait in applications /funding for anti-Tnf drugs. Our doctors are compassionate towards us in our frustrations, but when frustration turns to anger, resentment and obsession then it would be unreasonable to ask them to constantly tolerate this behaviour. These issues are never black and white. Blame can not be entirely put on the patient for this breakdown in the relationship, nor would it be fair to blame the doctor solely for this. Like with any relationship, the doctor-patient relationship needs compromise and understanding, with open and honest discussion. Communication is as we all know key to making any relationship work well.One thing I have noticed over the last year or so is that social media can help keep this relationship open and honest. Social media like Twitter has become much more diverse than the platforms original intention, with health care professionals using it to reach out to a wider audience of patients in order to assist in the greater good. Of course sometimes this is negative, as those in need are manipulated, and sold products / unsafe practices from ‘quacks’ which often compound health issues, and offer no real progress in treatments for conditions. However these ‘professionals’ (dare I call them that)are the minority, with the substantive majority in it for the right reasons.You don’t have to look far to find doctors with a good social media presence, who have an active relationship with there patients. For any AS or Arthritis sufferer you need not look any further than Dr Ronan Kananagh, Dr Raj Sengupta, or Dr Shashank Akerkar to get valuable advice and information. Someone I have personally always enjoyed following on Twitter is Dr Christian Jessen, who holds regular sessions on twitter to answer general medical questions, often with a sarcastic undertone, but providing an entertaining and sometimes alternative answer to intense or trivial problem.At the heart of it, the relationship you have with your doctor, and all other health care professionals for that matter, will often have a profound effect on you physical and emotional well-being. It serves all parties best to be open and honest with each other, with communication key to enhancing your relationship. We need to bare in mind that doctors are people too, and sometimes may need help and information from you, just as much as you do from them. So be nice to your doctor, and I’m sure they’ll be nice back, after all they just want to help.
Negative experiences always are easily recalled from our memory, but what about positive ones? What positive stories do you have about your relationship with your doctor? Have you met someone that has changed the way you manage your condition, or changed how you think of doctors and health care professionals? Are you a doctor trying to do just that? I’d like to hear your thoughts and comments.