Make ’em Laugh

I hate breaking in new doctors. It is just about the worst part of being one of Those Patients. I’ve written previously about this. Because of my switch to ObamaCare at the beginning of year, I had to switch doctors.

It’s not unlike a blind date. You have no idea what to expect, and given your past dating history, you are steeled for it to be a complete disaster. If you are lucky, it’s great. If not, you are either trapped with somebody who doesn’t listen, or you start doing speed dating to find somebody more compatible. Except it’s not for somebody with whom to go to the movies or take long walks on the beach, but for somebody who is responsible for your health care.

My new doctor came in, shook my hand, and introduced himself. He asked why I was there. Was I not feeling well? I explained that I was actually there to introduce myself to him. He looked surprised. Is this something that standard patients don’t do? I have no idea. I did my show and tell.

His right eyebrow went up. I had his attention. He composed himself. He then said, “I am going to ask you a bunch of medical history questions. They might get pretty weird.”

My right eyebrow went up. “I will bet you can’t come up with any questions that I’ve not already heard.”

(I was sorely tempted to quote Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.” But that would have probably been pushing my luck past the breaking point.)

He cocked his head at me in that manner that says “Challenge accepted.” He began rattling off questions. We went through the family history, my medications, my previous treatments, and even where I had been seen before.

He then paused. “So, did I cover everything?”

I gave him my best Buddha smile. “We didn’t even get into the questions about tropical diseases or parasites.”

He laughed, shook his head, and threw up his hands in good-natured defeat.  And in that instant, I knew things were off to a good start. He listened to me. He paid attention. He understood that, in many ways, I would be educating him.

The moral? Make ’em laugh. If you can make that health care provider laugh with you, that’s three-quarters of the battle won, right there. They will remember you, and see you as more than just that weird and mysterious disease or illness.



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