Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve gone to the same doctor for almost ten years. I was attracted to
him because he practices a certain type of holistic medicine in addition
to having the usual MD rights and insurance access. He’s a little
moody but has helped me deal with some chronic health issues. Lately
I’ve had some persistent orthopedic issues. My physical therapist
recommended an MRI, which he agreed to order. When it came back
and showed both acute and degenerative spinal issues, I asked what
to do about it, and his answer was “Learn to live with pain.” Yikes. I
am only 58. That felt wrong. In addition, after his office failed for two
days to forward the MRI to the chiropractor that he’d insisted I go see,
he sent me a letter I can only describe as filled with male menopausal
rage asking me to stop calling his office or find another doctor. I was
dumb-founded. I’ve felt well served but now I feel angry. Should I try
to explain or should I walk?


Dear Dismissed:

No one should entrust their health care to someone with whom they
do not have at least a civil relationship. Your doctor may or may not
have emotional issues, but he does not sound like he has either good
professional judgment or bedside manner. Surely there are other
holistic practitioners you can go to who practice whatever specialty
you think is good for you. Surely there are also other doctors you
could change to who have a better way of relating to patients and a
more efficient office staff.

Interview people whom you like, or people who have similar health
problems, about what doctors they see. If you are part of any local
email groups, use the group list-serve to identify your criteria and
identify other doctors. If you can interview them without committing,
then do so. If not, pick the one who seems closest to what you’re
looking for. Have your records transferred. Explain that you’re looking
for a doctor who is at least holistic friendly and who also practices
traditional medicine. You may not be able to prevent your old doctor
from writing unflattering chart notes. But you can dismiss the old
relationship as “no longer a good fit for your medical needs.” Give the
new doc at least six months to see if it’s a better relationship.