Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't call me Mrs.

I have noticed in recent years, maybe its because I got married or maybe its because I have been going to the doctor so often, that they call me Mrs R at the doctor's offices. After 6 1/2 years of marriage (well really 5 years because it took me that long to get around to changing my name) I am Mrs R I am very rarely called Mrs R except at the doctor's office - by the person who greets me, by the nurse who calls me and by my doctor. And every single one of them mangles the pronunciation. (One 'e' can be pronounced as if it was 'ee'. The name isn't misspelled, you are saying it wrong - but that's another blog post.)

I was going to ask my doctor's office to start using my first name instead. I might even respond to it a bit faster - Mrs R sometimes goes in one ear and out the other (how long do you have to be married before you stop feeling like you are using an alias?)

This is a barrier between me and my primary care doctor that I feel she is putting up by calling me Mrs. R. I think I would prefer she call me Caroline - its my name. I also want to develop a long term relationship with this doctor. My last one was kind of 'eeh'. I never really warmed up to her. After my breast cancer diagnosis, I was upset and stopped by her office and left her a note - and never heard back. That was pretty much the last straw. I don't think I saw her after that anyway - just her nurse practitioner.

My new primary care, I actually have had four appointments with her so far. And I have another appointment in October - she told me I am complicated and wants to keep tabs on me. But in the longer term I want a doctor who knows me, not just as a patient she sees once a year but as a patient with some (not so minor) health issues who is trying not to become a pill popping hypochondriac but seems to develop an ongoing list of medical issues.

I hope she reads this article about breaking down the barriers between doctors and patients. I do know a few things about her. She is young - this means she will outlive me. In fact she only joined the hospital in 2010 and did her internship and residency at a local teaching hospital. That part I got from the hospital website. But then I found out from nurses in another department that her father also is a doctor at the same hospital and they remember when she used to come by as a little girl. I like knowing a little bit more about my doctor.

The nurses seem to like her as well which is very important. If you want a good doctor, ask the nurses. The nurses wont tell you bad things about a doctor but they will tell you good things about a doctor. You can fill in the blanks. So on my next visit I will ask my doctor to call me Caroline...

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