The Importance of Doctors Who Care

I recently had a huge scare with my eyes. I started having some pretty severe vision changes that felt really scary so I rushed in to see my doctors. Even after I was given the 'all clear', I still felt really uneasy about the changes I was experiencing. So, I went back in to see my doctors twice more. You know, for peace of mind.

I ended up seeing three different doctors this go-round… each of them took special care of me and it reminded me of how lucky I am to have such amazing health professionals in my life. I haven’t always had the 'best' of doctors so I can really appreciate them now that I do.

Many types of eye doctors

There are many different types of ‘eye doctors’. Some, like optometrists and ophthalmologists, help us see better by checking the health of our eyes and our vision annually. These are the doctors that give us prescriptions for corrective lenses when we need them.

They can also catch other eye issues like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. My optometrist is the one who ‘caught’ my myopic macular degeneration and referred me to a retina specialist.

If you’re reading this article, you probably have a retina specialist or a doctor who specializes in macular degeneration. These doctors focus on the retina and macula. If you don’t have a retina specialist yet, this is something you may want to look into.

Finding the ‘right fit’ doctor

After knowing which type of doctor you need, it’s imperative to find the right doctor for you. The relationship between a patient and doctor is just as important as any other relationship in our lives. If we aren’t comfortable with our doctors, or if they don’t fully understand our needs, how can they really help us?

Three types of doctors

In my experience, I’ve found that there are three types of doctors: Doctors that are amazingly knowledgeable in their field of expertise, doctors who are ‘good, not great’, but have a wonderful bedside manner, and doctors that are both. The last type of doctor is the type I always try to find.

I’ve had all three and here are my thoughts: knowledgeable doctors who don’t have great interpersonal relationship skills are really hard for me to trust. Why? Because I don’t feel important to them. My first retina specialist was like this. He was impressively knowledgeable about the disease of macular degeneration, but he wasn’t able to help me feel safe or heard.

Doctors who are kind and compassionate but not as knowledgeable don’t work well for me either for obvious reasons. Though I admire their passion for helping people, my vision is just too important to me to settle for less than the best. That leaves us with the doctors who are both knowledgeable and big-hearted… those are my kind of doctors, and I’ve been blessed enough to find them!

Finding the right doctor can be difficult

I get it… finding the right doctor isn’t always as easy as we’d like it to be. Maybe our insurance restricts who we’re able to see. Maybe the doctor we want to see is too far away. Maybe it’s just a hassle to ‘start over’ with someone new. Maybe there's a waiting list. Whatever the case may be, for me, it was worth it to figure it out.

It's interesting because we don't need doctors until we need doctors. So, if everything is going well then it doesn't matter what kind of retina specialist I have... yet. However, when stuff hits the fan and I'm left with vision changes that are scary and possibly emergent, I want to know that I have someone that I can trust to help me.

This is why I always try to be proactive with being a current patient and having the right doctors on standby. I feel that if I wanted for when I needed one, it would be too late.

Saved by the grace of doctors

During my recent struggles, my doctors bent over backward to see me. My retina specialist got me in to see him the same day I called with my concerns. In fact, he called me himself to tell me when to come in. If you’ve ever been to see a retina specialist, you know that they are some of the busiest people on the planet.

I also needed to get in to see my optometrist who was already on Thanksgiving break. Her partner, who I had never seen before, fit me in at the end of his shift and spent an entire hour talking with me and examining my eyes thoroughly. I'm not even his patient and he stayed late for me.

If that isn’t lucky enough, my optometrist then called me to tell me to come back in the next week to take more scans of my eyes so she could compare the scans from my previous visit to be sure there wasn’t any change. She didn’t have an appointment for me and didn’t even charge me to come in… she just wanted to check me to be sure. I was in and out in ten minutes.

Being treated with care

I could go on and on about similar generosities my doctors have given me. Doctors who know their trade and simply care about people. I’m not just a number or a patient to my doctors. I’m a scared human and they know that what they say and do matters.

I hope you've been able to find your 'right fit' doctors. If not, I'm here to tell you... you don't have to settle for less than the best.

Andrea Junge

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