Though your doctor is the last person you should think of on Valentine’s Day, the patient-doctor relationship is one of your most important. Your health depends on it.
Ideally, it’s a relationship of mutual positive regard. You feel comfortable telling your doctor anything and everything, and you trust your doctor to give you the best care.
In turn, your doctor knows all about you, trusts you, guides you through the health care system and supports you through the highs and lows of life.
But like every other relationship, it is rarely perfect. We can have communication problems – not surprising when we are speaking two different languages: Medspeak and normal English.
Misunderstandings are common. Even when the doctor writes instructions down, they can be hard to read. You might not feel bold enough to disagree with your doctor or admit that you won’t be able to follow through with the plan. Then you may feel embarrassed to come back not having adhered to it.
If communication has been particularly bad, you may harbor negative feelings towards your doctor and perhaps all doctors. Some people never see doctors for just this reason. Of course, uncomfortable physical examinations are another.
What has been your experience with physicians? What did you like? What did you hate?
Next: How we miscommunicate.