This Month, Let’s Thank the Extraordinary Doctors in Our Lives

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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February is now a memory. March has arrived, and with it come a slew of national appreciation and awareness days. Although I am aware that March 30 is still a full month away, I wanted to bring to your attention National Doctors’ Day, which is celebrated on that date.

It’s important that we recognize doctors who have made a difference in our lives. The same is true regarding teachers as well.

It is easy to spot an exceptional doctor, because they stand out among those that are average or even horrific. When an exceptional doctor (or teacher) comes into your life, you should let them know the difference they have made in your life.

I’ve heard some pretty frightful stories about doctors, but I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with ones who cared for me. I have yet to see a doctor that falls under the category of “horrific.” Sure, I have had some I consider mediocre, but not worse than that.

So, what makes a great doctor? One who stands out above the others? I will give you my answer based on my personal experience.

An outstanding doctor knows your name before entering the room, and uses it to address you. They also acknowledge the person who came with you.

A doctor who spends more than 10 minutes with you is extraordinary. It was not uncommon for my movement disorder specialist (MDS) to spend up to an hour and a half with me. There were a few times he went over two hours. I would have thought him exceptional if he had spent only 20 minutes with me! The average time a doctor spends with me is probably 15 minutes. 

Before my MDS, I’d never had a doctor come out to the lobby to greet me and take me back to the exam room himself. I thought I might get charged extra for that! (Just kidding.) An exceptional doctor doesn’t make you wait. I don’t know how my MDS did it, but I never had to wait in the lobby past my scheduled appointment time.

Most doctors have taken the Kleenex 101 class and have finally learned to hand the box to the patient at the appropriate time. Some actually take the tissue out and hand it to you. Now with COVID-19, I wouldn’t be surprised if the doctors hand the Kleenex to you with a latex glove on. And I’d be even more surprised if they wipe your nose for you. Mine didn’t.

I experienced my doctor’s bedside manner when I had brain surgery, and it was as good as — maybe even better than — his office manners. He stayed in the operating room the entire time, and when they woke me a couple times during the surgery, he was right beside me, holding my hand.

When I go to my MDS, one of my family members usually goes with me. My doctor always remembers who they are.

In conclusion, an exceptional doctor, while maintaining their professional relationship with you, becomes a friend. They know what you need to become healthier, not necessarily cured. They work with you to get there. So, why not send them a note of encouragement? You can thank them for making you feel like you matter. And send that exceptional teacher — the one who makes your child feel like they matter — a note, too, while you’re at it.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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