Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Diagnosing your doctor

As my adventures with Dr. Lippencot and her new office partner demonstrated, the choice of a doctor is crucial in helping patients deal intelligently with CLL.

But when it comes to doctors, otherwise intelligent people sometimes see their good sense fly straight out the window. Doctors may offer the keys to salvation, after all, and some patients tend to be sheepish in their presence, regarding them with the obeisance normally reserved for deities. Religious matters aside, many people simply feel ignorant about the disease and how it works -- not to mention overwhelmed by the shock of their diagnosis -- and therefore embarrassed or at a loss to question what they are told.

Fortunately, the internet provides us with the opportunity to learn, quickly, what we need to know. And that leaves as our only excuse the not wanting to know. Sometimes I hear a patient say: “I let my doctor do the driving because it is too much for me to handle.”

I am reminded here of Toonces, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car. This was a gag on Saturday Night Live in which a gray tabby cat takes the wheel and successfully ma
nages to stick to the road for a few seconds before plunging himself, and his smiling human passengers, over a cliff.

The point I am making is that doctors are people, not gods, and they make mistakes in judgment, especially about tricky diseases like CLL. And they are busy, and not always up on the latest treatments and prognostic tests.

Even CLL experts, at a CLL Consortium institution, can still drive you over a cliff.

So, without further ado, please go to CLL Topics and read the article I wrote there called “Diagnosing Your Doctor.” Here’s the link:

(And for those who want to take a spin with Toonces, go to YouTube.)

1 comment:

Kerry said...

stay strong my friend! my daughter is a 7 year old leukemia survivor. hold tight to hope!