I'm back from my first visit with a new doctor. It had been six years since I had been to see a doctor and it took some unspecified lower-abdominal pain to get me to go back. I took my mother's advice (like you're supposed to) and found an internist. This particular internist (henceforth referred to as Dr. S) is new to the area and is just building a practice. He has joined a clinic with an excellent reputation and he comes highly recommended.
This visit was more of a 'getting to know each other' thing since the lab work will have to wait until next week. He checked me out and asked a bunch of questions. He's sure that it's not a hernia but doesn't know what else it might be. Hence the appointment to see the lab folks. The good news is that he doesn't believe it to be anything serious or in need of urgent attention. The severity and frequency of the pain have decreased dramatically so I share his opinion.
This appointment was different from previous ones for me. I blame the fact that Perky and I have been reading a lot of medical blogs. The accounts of various doctors along with watching my mother's triumphs and heartbreaks as she dealt with (and beat) lymphoma have made me very conscious of the need to give medical professionals the proper information.
I like Dr. S. He seems like a good guy and we have a lot in common. I know that liking one's doctor isn't a requirement for getting good medical care but I believe that GPs, Internists, and others on the front lines of patient care who are friendly make a positive difference. There was a study about chatty doctors not long ago that suggested that doctors who talk about themselves a lot during appointments lose focus. So, it seems like they have to tread a fine line between friendly and ineffective. My conversation with Dr. S was mostly geared toward learning enough about me to get an idea about my habits and general health.
So, this visit was inconclusive but left me feeling pretty good about my health and about my new doctor. The real information will arrive in a couple of weeks once I've had the lab work done.