On Bedside Manner

I’ve been struggling with the bedside manner of doctors and their assistants for the last few days.  I’m not sure if that class isn’t required in medical school (you know the class, your patients are humans, they have feelings and you might want to remove your foot from your mouth BEFORE you speak and make everything worse) but I know there are a whole bunch of people who obviously flunked it.

I have a shiny new ENT.  I needed the ENT because without his approval that I don’t have Staph any longer and that it wasn’t MRSA and I’m good before I could get the Orencia infusion I was scheduled for last Tuesday.  I went.  I listened.  I answered all the questions honestly (I think that was my first mistake).  Dr looked me over and promptly told me that my face is deformed and that makes it defective.


They taught you that in medical school.  Tell your patients that they are deformed?  My new theme song is Hunchback’s Outcast.  Actually… it pretty much was before that… I’ve come to embrace my freakdom and realize that sometimes being an outcast is a really good thing.  It means I UNDERSTAND… but I digress (go figure).

So… one doctor told me I was deformed and defective.  Fail

Called my Rheumy office THREE TIMES to make sure they got the ENT’s report so I could get in to get my infusion just one week late (Like the Rheumy promised when I left without it LAST week).  The PA finally actually CHECKED the fax machine… Friday… oh wow, it’s here.  Sorry… grrrrr… well, you won’t be worked in this coming Tuesday, we are already double booked, and next week doesn’t look too promising either and we already cancelled your next two appointments because you didn’t get your last infusion on time. Sorry.  I will talk to the doctor and find out when we will be able to get around to working you back into the rotation.

It would maybe have come off better if she had SOUNDED like she gave two shits about me getting back in or the fact that the antibiotics the ENT gave me kicked me into the mother of all flairs.

The “gee, sucks to be you” tone sent me into a good thirty minutes of crying in the car (sitting in the parking lot of the boob squisher’s where I made the call to the Rheumy.  I know they have to double book the lady who does infusions.  I knew I was taking my chances of getting in anyway.  But the “I really don’t give a shit” tone just sent me over the edge.  It wasn’t MY fault I didn’t get my infusion. I was there, I was healed from the Staph, I was more than willing to get my infusion.  YOU people sent me away.  I did what I was told.  I’m DOING what I was told. Curb the bitchy attitude and learn that you are the PA not the principle at a Catholic School reprimanding me for being a bad person.

Okay, I understand that I frequently take things badly and that I react to the way things are said.  BUT I know that I’m not the only one.  AND I know that you CAN learn how your words sound.  I know that these people have a LOT of education.  I just wish that people skills were a little higher on the list of must have classes even if your dossier does say that you can part the red sea and turn water into whine (yeah… whine, not wine… bite me… it’s my homonym!).


8 responses to “On Bedside Manner

  1. It’s not simply a US thing, same here in UK.

    Some truly awful advice and lack of giving a shit about the people they are meant to be helping. Government targets don’t help them but the profession seems to be going downhill, people want the money and ‘prestige’ of being a doctor without having to look after the patients.


    • alicorndreams

      I think the best doctors I’ve ever had have been doctors who have had to be patients for a period of time (not just annual physical thing). They UNDERSTAND.


  2. A deformed face? When someone says something so shocking like that it is hard to respond. Doctor or not, they should be put in their place. What kind of thing is that to say to someone. Grrrrr!


  3. My first rheum had the personality of a door, well actually I’ve met nicer doors. I was trying to make general conversation and asked how he was. He didn’t answer. I asked again. No answer. I asked if he heard me. His response – a lecture telling me when he taught in med school one of the most important discussions they had was the doctor/patient relationship and how ‘personal’ they should be. Gosh – I only asked how he was, I didn’t ask him for a date. I told him I would gladly teach that course the next time around. He made no answer.
    Docs and their staff have a lot to learn. The personal aspect is long gone with most of them.
    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience.


    • alicorndreams

      There are days when I can take people better than others. This one stuck with me, so obviously this was not one of the better days (okay, okay, weeks…)
      It’s all good! 🙂


  4. I get so tired of this. My primary care doc’s staff has the worst attitude. If I have a problem with a prescription refill or a question for th doctor, it takes an act of congress to get a return phone call or to get an answer. I never know if the problem is the girl at the front desk or the nurse. I just know that I want to scream by the time I’m done dealing with them.
    And the comment about your face being deformed – that type of stuff is ridiculous!!! I have really really bad degeneration in both of my knees and every time I get imaging done or see a new orthopedic, I always here the same thing – “wow, I’ve never seen so much degeneration and damage in somone so young”…I want to ask if they think it’s something I should be proud of or if they want to give me a sticker for it. I’ve been hearing the same thing for the past 15 years and it only gets worse each year, so I really don’t want to hear it anymore.
    I’m sorry you had such a crappy day – I hope it gets better!!!


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