Someone recently emailed to ask about my blog roll since they see comments from me on blogs that aren’t on my sidebar. This is true. I follow a lot of blogs that aren’t listed over there.
The first blog I ever found was a medblog that somebody linked on the RA Connect forum. I kept going back to that blog. I read more and more. And more. Have you ever spend four whole weekends browsing the entirety of someone’s archives? It was very informative. Funny, too. Sometimes I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. The doctor sounded like a really nice person.
Then I started clicking on that blog’s links and discovered a whole bunch of really interesting writers. In time I built a list of blogs that I feel are worth reading regularly. Patients are able to support one another and provide useful tips, so there are some patient blogs that I follow. Mostly I like blogs by nurses and doctors. Not to dis’ patients (I am one), but I think that people who work in healthcare are the best qualified to provide the perspective I was looking for.
Medblogs have given me a whole new picture of how to navigate this crazy world I’ve been thrown into. Everyone has their own perspective that they bring to the table, and I’m not sure that my upbringing was the best for teaching me how to approach a doctor.
- One grandmother was a nurse.
- The other grandmother was a receptionist for a doctor.
- My mom worked in the lab at a hospital. She was the one who got called to draw “impossible” sticks that nobody else could get. In all the years she worked, from college until retirement age, she never had someone she couldn’t draw. Ever.
What this weird combination of ancestors means is that after childhood immunizations were done, we rarely went to the doctor. Doctors were for really sick people who were going to die. Most sickness just required staying in bed and sleeping for a couple days. If my parents thought I was extremely sick, mom would bring home the necessary equipment and draw blood. She could show the lab report to one of the doctors at the hospital and get a prescription if that’s what was needed. When strep was going around and my parents thought I was in need of antibiotics, my mom brought home a swab and a petri dish. She did a throat culture, and after the appropriate fuzz grew, she brought home a bottle of pills.
Later my mom moved to the office of three docs working together (a rheumatologist, and endocrinologist, and an oncologist). If I was sick enough that mom thought antibiotics were appropriate, I’d go to mom’s office and one of the docs would pop his head into the lunch room long enough to say, “Hi.” Mom would come home that night with a prescription. Making an appointment to sit in a paper gown in a freezing exam room wasn’t something we ever did. I don’t even remember going to the doctor when I had mono.
So, all of that is a long way of saying that when I was growing up, doctors were not someone to consult when you were sick. They were my mom/grandmothers bosses, and I had to be careful what I said when they were around. They never asked about me or made small talk. Maybe they figured they knew all they needed to know. Unfortunately, they were how I formed my impression of what doctors are like.
But reading medblogs, I’ve gotten a different picture. I’ll confess that my favorites tend to be doctors who treat the whole family. They just seem like nice people. I wish I could say why, but I can’t.
I like reading about how doctors interact with patients. Knowing what doctors like and what drives them crazy can (I hope) help me be a better patient. I don’t want to be a patient, but since it appears that I have to be, I certainly don’t want to be the one that drives my docs nuts.
Emergency blogs have been educational, too. For a while I was upset at the cynicism expressed by so many ER (ED) workers. I tend to be a “don’t complain about a problem unless you have ideas for a solution” kind of person, so it drove me crazy to see twenty(ish) people vent (repeatedly) about the same things without brainstorming some ways to solve the problem. After a while, though, it became obvious that the system is a large part of the problem. In any event, having read so many blogs by emergency workers, it was a little easier to handle things when we had our car wreck.
To those doctors who take the time to help/educate/enlighten people with your blogs: thank you. There’s all sorts of helpful information to be gleaned from medblogs. Showing the world that doctors are nice people can help. You may be doing more good than you realize.
How many blogs do you follow?
Approximately how long does it take you to read blogs every day?
Other exposure to doctors: I had an uncle who was a cardiologist. I only saw him twice in my life since he lived in another state. That wasn’t really enough to form an impression.