How to Choose a Doctor

06 Dec

(PG13) So, I’ve been in Richmond for going on 4 months and I had to break down and go to the doctor, not just any doctor. I wanted to go to a gynecologist. I didn’t need my annual exam. I simply wanted to reconnect with this type of doctor on the most basic and vulnerable of levels so when I really had to go in to be dipped, dabbed, swapped and well…., I’d already have a relationship established.

I’m not ‘free willy’ with my doctors. In fact, I’ve only had 2 gynecologists in my life, one in New York and one in Boston. They both know every little itty bitty thing about my body (and my life) and served not only as doctors (one was actually my mid-wife playing doctor) but they also served as therapists, confidants and sounding boards for all my questions, fears and excitments-yes, there have been some.

A lot of people think that relocating is all about moving one’s household. I say that moving, physically moving is the easy part. It is much, much harder to re-establish your connections-find friends and of course, doctors. For me, the new doctor thing has been a scary prospect. It is embedded with trust, vulnerability and a delicate relationship in which you often have to divulge stuff to get help.

So, knowing that I had to jump this hurdle, I put my mind on finding a doctor. I asked a few people, but that’s kinda weird, right? Then I decided to Google It. So….decisions—man or woman, white or black, older or younger…hmmm, too much to deal with. I decided to read the bios of doctors that sprang to life on my computer screen. I found that I was less interested in where these doctors received their degrees or where they did their residency. I honed in our what experiences they have had.

I settled on a OB/GYN who was from Colorado, worked in Florida and Hawaii before moving to Virginia.I figured, if this doctor lived and worked elsewhere, she has most probably seen some different people and had a variety of experiences. This was my lady ! (Biased, yes, PC, definitely not and P.S. I was the one fighting about how wrong this was this when we talked about selection criteria for ESL residents in my former job!)

Then I got really crazy and found a dentist that goes to a Caribbean country to provide free dental care. but…I digress.

Even though I was happy with my-little better than ‘spin the wheel’-approach to choosing a doctor, I was still nervous. Just before going into the doctor’s office, I sat in the car and spoke with my friend, Marcie who told me to ask the doctor the craziest, most uncomfortable thing that I could. Then judging by her response, I’d be able to tell if it was the right place for me. We laughed so hard at my new-found way to choose a doctor:

#1 make sure that they have lived, or at least traveled elsewhere and

#2 ask the most uncomfortable question, then sit back and see what happens.

I went in, with tears of laughter still in my eyes and I asked the most uncomfortable question that I could think of…to everybody I encountered. My questions were like common fodder to them (it was almost beauty shop-ish but super professional).  We all ended up laughing about speculums and looking at gross pictures in books (educational and with a purpose, of course). At the end, we had a big laugh fest in the hall and I said, “I’ll see you in June for my real annual appointment. Can’t wait to have a Pap Smear.”  (that  last part was gross and not needed to enhance this piece but I’m laughing and I guess, in the end, that’s all that really matters!)


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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in life freestyle


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