There is one thing worse than getting your teeth pulled – going in for a regular check-up and finding out you need to come back to have teeth pulled. Going to see the doctor always carries with it the chance that you’ll have to go back soon for some even worse reason. That is why I usually enter the doctor’s office accompanied by my insurance cards and a sense of dread. Unless it’s my podiatrist. In that case, I take in the insurance cards but check my dread at the door.
My podiatrist never has negative news. Rather, he never delivers news as though it’s negative. He tells me solutions, and only then explains the diagnosis. By the time I realize what’s wrong, I already know how I’m going to make it right. It’s like the guy knows what it feels like to be told something terrible – and I suspect he does because he’s practiced on himself. I bet he had one of his med school buddies diagnose him with awful things in different ways, just to see what it felt like. I wouldn’t assume that about just anyone, but it seems a likely scenario for a doctor who took the time to inject himself with local anesthesia in multiple ways just to find out which way is the least painful. That’s exactly how he found out that using a freeze spray and then injecting the anesthesia – frequently checking with the patient to gauge their numbness and pain – is the best way.
Injecting yourself with anesthesia just to see what it’s like is the sort of fanatic behavior that would scare me in a friend. However, it’s exactly what I want in a doctor – someone who’s primary concern isn’t sensible personal behavior, but their patient’s best interests. I like my friends to come with a healthy sense of humor, but the best podiatrists don’t. But they do come with helpful hint – the cheapest place to score orthodics, the fastest fixes – and great decency.
They have the kind of decency which breeds a caring doctor, one who checks a patient’s chart before meeting with them. It makes them a doctor who requires that a patient repeat instructions, to make sure they understood – and then also provides a print out, just in case. It is exactly what you see in a doctor who hires the sort of nice people who always have something positive to say. It’s how a doctor who uses multiple reminder services – and comes in early for an emergency appointment – would behave.
When I was little, my mom called the doctor and got medical advice. Then I grew up and started calling my own doctors for medical help. In between then and now doctors started sending calls straight to voicemail or having their staff intercept the call and book an appointment rather than provide immediate assistance. Except for the staff at my podiatrist’s office. They’re not nurses, but they have enough medical knowledge – and they’re willing to share it – to tell me what procedure I should book or whether I need to come in at all. Also, they like me and aren’t afraid to say it. I can’t be positive that they’ll like you too, but I can promise that you’ll love them.