Somebody told me once: ”Don’t forget that your doctor works for you.” At first, it sounded strange. Almost wrong. I never looked at my relationship with my doctor that way. But what exactly does that mean?
When you’re diagnosed with a chronic disease like multiple sclerosis it’s paramount to choose, not just a neurologist, but an MS specialist. MS is complicated, unpredictable, and not cool at all, if you ask me.
I’ve heard so many frustrating stories from other MSers who see a regular neurologist vs. one who specializes in treating people with MS. They range from lack of empathy and understanding to waiting too long to treat MS symptoms that a specialist could identify right away.
Your relationship with your doctor shouldn't be stressful, much less frustrating. You should be able to express how you feel, ask questions, address all of your concerns and most importantly, be listened to. All conversations should flow naturally and without extra effort.
To make sure you don’t forget anything important during your visit, write down all your questions and bring them with you to your appointment.
If you don’t feel completely satisfied with your doctor, look for a second opinion. It's your health that's on the line. Don’t be afraid to disagree with treatment options. You must have a say. Ultimately, you’re the one who goes home with your symptoms and has to live with MS forever.
And I’m not trying to belittle the capability or qualifications of any neurologist, MS specialist or not. All I’m saying is that you should feel comfortable with your doctor. And as a patient you should -- and must -- participate in your plan-of-care decision making.
Your neurologist is your “go-to” person. He’s the first one you should inform of any new symptoms. You should be in constant communication. A doctor who doesn’t answer your emails or doesn’t return your phone calls might not be the right one for you.
Take charge of your health under the supervision of your MS specialist. Always consult your doctor before you make any major decisions. Build a close relationship with him and keep an open communication at all times.
One day I understood what this meant: My doctor doesn’t work for me like an employee works for their boss. He works to preserve my quality of life. My needs and my concerns are his priorities. He looks out for my well-being and is available every time I need his advice or opinion.
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