I was 44 years old when I first noticed a slight tremor in my left pinky. My internist attributed it to my being "a middle-aged woman about to become an empty nester.' Why then, I wondered, in the immortal words of Jerry Lee Lewis, didn't I see "a whole lot more shakin' goin' on" among my friends?
A few months later, with my tremor worsening, I went to a general neurologist for a second opinion. His diagnosis ? based on my age ? was essential tremor. He obviously had not read his office copy of People magazine featuring Michael J. Fox's "coming out" story on the cover (after all, Michael was only 30 when he was diagnosed!).
My extensive online research had already convinced me I had Parkinson's, and I set out to find the right doctor to guide me on what I knew would be a long, difficult journey. I needed someone with a good bedside manner who was on top of the latest research and treatment strategies. Not knowing where else to turn, I called PDF for a referral. What I got was "a match made in heaven." Research says that the better the relationships patients have with their doctors, the more likely they are to follow their treatment plans and improve their health and/or quality of life. In this column, I address several ways to find the right doctor for you.
5 Questions to Ask
Does Your Doctor:
1) Put you at ease when discussing your concerns?
2) Take your opinions and questions seriously?
3) Answer questions to your satisfaction?
4) Encourage your input into decision making and treatment?
5) Invite email contact between visits?