Saturday, May 28, 2005
A Tale of Two Doctors
“How patients view their relationships with their physicians is important because the quality of patient-doctor relationships can often predict patients' health outcomes.” (in an article published by Cornell)

“Patients who have good relationships with their doctors tend to be more satisfied with their care -- and have better results” (from Yahoo Health).

I have been spoiled by oncologists. Of all the people I would have loved to be spoiled by before having breast cancer, they were no where on the radar. I think they may have been outranked by famous rock stars and hall of fame athletes, but I digress. Oncologists know how to respond quickly. If an oncologist can’t respond quickly, they have people that respond for them. If there is an issue, it gets taken care of immediately.

“It feels like it may be infected.”
“Can you come in today?”

“I’m having pain.”
“I’ll call in a prescription right away. Which pharmacy would you prefer?”

“There is tremendous swelling and pressure.”
“The Doctor lives close by; he said he will come in just to see you. What time can you be here?”

It happens that quickly. That was my experience with my medical oncologist, my surgical oncologist, and the oncology-reconstruction team. For goodness sake, it’s cancer. A whole host of things can happen and the faster you get to it, the better.

Now that I’m considered “all tests indicate cancer free at this time," I have lost rank. No more special treatment. No quick response without a new referral. I understand, there are people with more pressing situations and issues. I have been pushed back to my primary care physician who has a huge patient load and is basically, only available for annual physicals booked well in advance. All I need is a referral to have some nagging symptoms tested and I have to wait three months to see the doctor or three weeks to see the nurse practitioner. The responsiveness warms my heart.

Not to worry. Should I have, oh I don’t know, renal failure in the meantime, urgent care is available. You know, that place you can go where your file does not exist, no one has any idea of your history, and by the time you provide your history and the intern attending to you has had the time to research the implications, you have gone into toxic shock? Pardon the drama. I’m sure it isn’t as bad as all that. This is the first time I have had unusual symptoms since being treated for cancer. I just want peace of mind. Apparently, that isn’t covered under my HMO, not even with a co-pay.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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