Doctors are People, Too
Here is a link to a letter written by a primary care physician in Georgia:
Being people who live with a chronic disease like IBD we can sometimes forget, or not even realize just how hard it might be for the doctor's who help us care for ourselves.
I was touched by this letter and glad that he is willing to circulate it to the population at large. My family has many dentists: my father, uncle, brother, and sister-in-law, so perhaps because of that I've been able to understand doctors for what they are, humans with advanced degrees and a want to help others. I also understand what doctor's aren't: super human miracle workers.
Having a chronic illness like IBD is even harder, I think, on the doctors with whom we seek answers. Harder because no two IBDers seem to exhibit the exact same problems and symptoms nor do we all react the same way to treatment whether it be pharmaceutical, traditional, naturopathic, or dietary.
As I've written here before, my father has UC and I have MC. What I eat or don't eat helps my symptoms immensely. What my dad eats seems to make no difference one way or the other. He's been hospitalized for his UC in the early years he had it, thankfully I never had been. I've missed a bunch of work and have even changed my job to allow me to work around my colitis symptoms; my dad has never missed a day of work in my 45 year lifetime - amazing!
I also think doctor's must get frustrated with the limited amount of time they get to spend with each of us at an appointment. To learn what kind of personality do we have, how does that affect our disease, which could also help to form a better and more complete treatment plan.
For example, I am grateful for Asacol (now Delzicol) because it has helped me with major flare-ups while keeping me away from Prednisone and biologic medications. But, I've also come to realize that I'm a person who holds onto stress and that also affects the state of my gut. So, I've added yoga and meditation to my weekly routine as well as eating mainly from a Specific Carbohyrate Diet viewpoint.
I realize that many of us get frustrated that doctor's don't know or seem to understand if or how yoga or meditation or a certain diet could help our IBD symptoms. But only recently have these areas of holistic treatment touched the boundaries of traditional Western medicine. It's not that physician's, as a whole, don't care or want us to try these alternative methods; nor do I believe it's all about doctor's prescribing as much medication as possible to get kick-backs from pharmaceutical drug companies. No, I think that when you go to medical school and you specialize you are taught the *medical* part of that specialy, and only recently are things like mind/body/spirit and diet entering the equation.
Doctors are people with advanced medical degrees with only 24 hours and 7 days in their week to treat patients, learn new information, have and care for a family, and maybe take a few minutes for themselves.
Thank you Dr. Rob for your missive. I for one appreciate a better understanding of where you're coming from when you see someone like me.