“Healthcare workers know that TONS of people in the population are dealing with the same sensitive topics you are.”
I recently heard of a website where people can have an online “consultation” with a doctor and get prescribed medications for things such as erectile dysfunction. While discussing this idea with a friend, I heard myself becoming rather unsympathetic. Why go to all the trouble to find an online, probably shifty, black-market sort of medication distributor when you could just talk to your primary care physician about it? A physician who already knows your medical conditions and your medication list, and is therefore probably a safer prescription source?
Keep in mind, I’m a registered nurse within the cardiac field. I’ve seen the dangers of mixing erectile dysfunction medications (vasodilators) with other heart/circulatory system meds.
However, my friend brought up a good point. While I see sensitive issues as medical conditions, others view them as embarrassing problems they’d really rather not discuss. I’m used to talking about all of those things with patients, but that doesn’t mean they’re used to talking so openly about them. So while I’m pretty comfortable speaking to my own doctor about anything and everything, of course many other people don’t feel that way.
Not all of my encounters with my own doctors have been pleasant. As I grew older, I also grew to not like my pediatrician very much. During one appointment she drew a pretty big conclusion that caused me to lie to her. Her assumption made me extremely uncomfortable and made it less likely that I’d be honest with her in the future. Knowing I wanted to enter the healthcare field myself, I made a mental note to try my best to never do that to any of my own patients.
As a nurse now, I can tell you how very harmful it is to have a distrusting relationship with your doctor. You need to be 100% open with each other. Medical issues are very personal things – and as such they have a HUGE impact on your life if unaddressed or if your doctor doesn’t have all relevant information.
For example, your doctor places you on a blood pressure medication. You try to remember to take it every day, but sometimes you wake up late and forget to take it with your breakfast. When you go back to your follow-up appointment and your blood pressures are still high, you’re too embarrassed to tell your doctor that you haven’t been 100% compliant. You say of course you’ve been faithfully taking your medication. So your doctor doubles the dose.
This. Is. Dangerous! Please please please be honest with your healthcare providers. They are only there to help you live a healthy and happy life.
A good doctor-patient relationship
I LOVE my current doctor. She never judges, always listens to me, and takes me seriously. She takes a “let’s tackle this” approach. I’ve recently had to see her a lot more than I’ve ever seen a doctor in the past, but she has never brushed me off. With sensitive issues, she relates to me without making it about her and thus has helped me immensely.
This is what a good relationship with your doctor looks like. I can talk to my doctor about ANYTHING. If you don’t feel that way about your doctor, find a different one! Now if your doctor tells you to do something that you don’t like (i.e. lose weight, quit smoking, cut back on drinking, keep detailed logs, etc.), you do need to do your very best to follow those recommendations. They’re not telling you to do these things for the hell of it. They are medical professionals and have studied TONS. But if you feel ignored or like you can’t tell them something sensitive that’s important to you, find someone else.
My point is that medical professionals are used to talking about sensitive topics. If you have a bad experience with one doctor, don’t let it ruin your relationship with them all. Healthcare workers know that tons of people in the population are dealing with the same sensitive topics you are. It’s true! We all deal with embarrassing problems in our lives. People just don’t go around wearing signs that say “I think I have an STD” or “I’m now sexually active and need birth control” or “Is it normal to occasionally have slightly bloody bowel movements?”
I got into the nursing profession to help others through difficult times in their lives. The majority of medical professionals will say the same. Despite its job security and potential for good pay, most wouldn’t stick around if they didn’t think they were making a positive impact in people’s lives. I hope I’ve shown you that I don’t get embarrassed when it comes to talking about sensitive topics. And neither should you.