I had a patient today who apologised atleast 4 times for taking my time, a similar number for boring me with her tales of sorrow and a zillion times for asking so many questions. It made me wonder why one is so scared to discuss with the doctor. I dont know if this is because of the high pedestal people usually put doctor's on and you feel criminal to disturb his valuable space or whether its us doctor's who scare you to death and kill the sacred relationship between a doctor and his patient, even before its begun.
I always feel my job is a blend between that of Ram Jethmalani's and Sherlock Holmes. Just as a lawyer would, I need to know my patients well. I need to understand not only their medical problems but also understand their social pressures, their economic status and guage their desperation in order to correctly devise the right treatment. I need to make sure they are comfortable with me and trust me with their innermost feelings and secrets. This is why I like to spend a good amount of time with new consults. I actually look forward to them. Maybe I like meeting new people. Maybe its my hidden desire to be Sherlock Holmes that fuels it :)
Going through endless past prescriptions and reports, its quite thrilling to be able to piece together a past in synopsis. I frequently tell patients that my job is to find dirt where earlier you thought there was none. To be able to put forward a list of probable reasons for the problem, devise a possible solution and act upon it to see it one day bear fruits, I think, is one of the greatest joys that this profession or for that matter any profession could give me. As an Obstetrician I experience joy only when I help a mother give birth but as an Infertility Specialist, I enjoy this moment twice over. Believe me there's nothing like a phone call early in the morning saying 'Doc, its positive !'
Moving back to my topic, my advise to all couples walking this painful path, do not hesitate to discuss EVERYTHING with your doctor at the first visit. Remember if you feel you cant open up for any reason or fear, you're probably in the wrong hands.