Having had a few too many doctors appointments over the last few years I have come to appreciate those who can 1) read a room and 2) speak with both frankness and compassion.
For instance I saw a new dentist today and during the exam she asked if I had had front tooth trauma. I was confused by the question as it had never been asked before, we switched to a dentist right across the street for convenience and it also happens to be the dentist with a very generous sliding scale for those who cannot afford dental care. So I appreciate her question but I feel it could have been spoken with more tact in case I was a survivor of domestic or childhood abuse. Luckily I got to answer that I was at one point a child and smashed them falling, I was a childhood thumb sucker while past the point most people give it up and I had braces in my early 30’s which is enough trauma for any tooth to endure.
At the conclusion she pulled the hygienist aside and when they returned she also stated you have thinning bone in your lower jaw which puts you at risk for your teeth falling out.
Nothing about WOW you are 44 and have zero cavities great job.
So thanks for that. Now I have a new fear to take with me into my future years.
My first appointment with my plastic surgeon was brutal. But the difference was she was super amazing about very clearly stating the pro’s and con’s of reduction vs mastectomy and how once my breast was radiated no surgeon would ever be able to operate on it again. While this was terrifying and brutal news it was delivered with punctual and direct knowledge and I super appreciated all the facts and options and warnings about what could go wrong. When I visit this woman for check up she greets me with a HUGE smile and a hug. My first appointment was factual and a bit cold but every single interaction post has been kind and full of giggles.
I love going to my naturopaths because I can ask anything, part of our 45 minute appointments are more like a counseling session where in I remember many more relevant facts that could help shape my treatment plans. I can ask anything, I can bring up anything and if they don’t have an answer they will get back to me. They can get super medical and over the top but they can also translate al of it into normal people speak.
What’s my point?
My point is be kind, my point is point out when news has been dropped in a less than tactful way to help educate the professional whenever you can as sometimes situations are so intense you can’t do much more than breath through the appointment. My point is you have power to change your doctor, ask for more details or clarity and to inform them their delivery was a bit off.
As a medical professional please take a breath before delivering news and think about how it may shape clients outcome. In the dental bone loss example that could have simply been stated your x-ray shows your lower jaw is thin which may have been caused by the braces. We will keep an eye on this to prevent any structural issues in the future. Don’t implant into a patients brain the idea that their teeth are going to fall out, I have enough fears already thank you very much.