6. Take a personal day for your own health and your family’s health.
“My wife is a doctor in Canada. She works in a small practice with five doctors. One of them is her family physician that she will see with an official appointment, seeing as a patient and not a colleague. Everything is documented in the ERM software. If she gets sick, you power through the day and see your patients. You can’t just call in sick as you have 20-30 patients booked and no one to cover you. You don’t get time off or sick leave. She then comes home and does charting for a couple of hours and dies in bed, and does it all over again the next morning.”
“Doctors cannot afford to be sick. Financially or for their patients that will be pissed if you rebook their appointments last minute.” Scootbert is right, and as a society, we have come to expect the best from our doctors. But they are human too, and we need to be kind of they need to rebook an appointment. You never know when someone has to call in for a personal day, whether it be for their family or for themselves.
“Not a doctor here. Paramedic. We’re even worse patients than doctors because we like to think we know what’s going on and get no time off to actually be sick. Often times we come to work sicker than most of the people we pick up in our ambulance. We self-diagnose, and if it doesn’t require a prescription or surgeon, we make do with duct tape and NSAIDs. If we DO require actual medical intervention, we do all the things we hate when our patients do it to us.”
“We tell them where to start IVs. We ask to see imaging and lab results. If there was a way for us to stay awake and assist in our own surgery, we’d do that too! The last time I was getting an IV pre-OP (shoulder repair), I was unintentionally telling the nurse where I preferred the IV. The nurse said if I didn’t cut it out, she’d find a much less pleasant spot to place the IV. My wife, also a medic, agreed with her and told her to use a much larger needle too. I shut up, haha” IVStarter was right to leave the doctor taking care of them to do the procedure! No one likes a “backseat driver.”
4. If you have the coverage and knowledge, use it!
“For context, US MD, licensed and double boarded. My aim is to live as long as possible and be as healthy as possible during that time. I feel confident to make most diagnoses knowing my history. However, I’ve seen enough to know that it’s better to be totally sure than not when it comes to most things because there’s always a non-zero percent chance that it’s something rare and deadly. For colds, supportive care, and no antibiotics. Blood in the stool, colonoscopy tomorrow. I pay for insurance so that it’s there when I need it. I’m not hesitant to use it. Also, I know specialists of all types.”
It sounds like DoctorJonesMD has it all figured out. They continue: “When I need another set of eyes or a second or third opinion, they’re just a text away. I do all age-appropriate cancer screening early just because I have the access. Life insurance is locked into a great rate, so there’s no financial harm to me being a bit more paranoid. Another thing, if I have a bad virus, I’m staying home. No reason to infect all of my patients with something that they may be less equipped to fight off. I get the flu shot at the start of each season despite never having had the flu. And I get the appropriate vaccines when I travel. I take vitamins because they could potentially help. Just a multivitamin, vitamin D, and fish oil.”
3. You can self-diagnose to a point, but if it’s serious, see your doctor.
“I have on many occasions used online resources to help decide if my symptom is worth seeing a specialist for or escalating (not WebMD obviously, use UpToDate or PubMed). If it’s something serious that I can’t deal with myself, either with time or over-the-counter medication, I would definitely see my general physician either for treatment or specialist referral. I basically just become a regular patient but with an insider perspective on the system and some pre-formed opinions on my own diagnosis.” Ninjase sounds like they’ve got a good routine figured out for when they aren’t feeling great.
They continue: “Currently, I’m dealing with annoying palpitations. I got an ECG at work which showed frequent ectopics. At the moment, I’m sitting on it debating if I should bother seeing a cardiologist or if it will just disappear since most cases are completely benign and self-limiting. In terms of prescription, I would never prescribe myself new medication for acute illness. I only self prescribe to renew old scripts that I can’t be bothered getting. The worst thing is getting medical certificates for work since I can’t write them myself, and it’s a huge waste of everyone’s time just to get a piece of paper saying I have the flu.”
“Well, my wife can tell you I make the worst patient. I take out my own stitches and tend not to follow post OP instructions too well. I certainly try not to diagnose myself as now I can’t tell if I’m overreacting or underreacting, but when I do get symptoms, boy does my brain feel a little like WebMD sometimes. And I can’t stand being in a Dr’s office, ex. I had to go to a dermatologist, and the whole time in the waiting room, I was thinking about the prognosis of various stages of melanoma I could have. It was benign, of course.”
“I injured my knee badly playing soccer and was at work the next day, borrowed some crutches from physical therapy so I could hobble around and see patients, only got it imaged a month later as my wife had enough, turns out I tore my ACL and lateral meniscus, had to take a week off for surgery sadly. Just the other day at work, I had acute RUQ pain, positive Murphy’s and right shoulder pain, though I had a gallstone, just rode it out in the call room after seeing my patients. I guess I’m terrified of showing up in the ED saying, “I’m a doctor. I think it’s XYZ,” and finding out it’s nothing, and I’m just being pathetic, haha.” Drprocrastinate should never be worried if it’s something else; it’s okay to brainstorm and figure it out to get the best care!
“My husband is a family medicine doc, and he won’t go to the doctor. He found out a year or so ago that he’s diabetic. He’s ashamed because of the stigma, in medicine, associated with diabetes. He takes metformin (self-prescribed) but refuses to use insulin or talk about it. He’s in exquisite pain all of the time (he has had back pain for 20+ years… I think this is making it worse). Just last week, he had two episodes of being incontinent which have never happened before. I sent a long email to a colleague/friend of his. I can’t look back and wish I had done something, and enough is enough.”
Good for 662grace for knowing when to take more action for their husband. Hopefully, it won’t be too late, and he will start taking better care of himself. They continue: “His colleague returns from a vacation tomorrow, so I expect I’ll hear from him soon. My husband knows I sent the email but knows he has no choice in the matter. I love my husband. He is a wonderful, caring physician who is 49 years old and refuses to do anything for his own health, which is going to kill him.”