Please help me mitigate/cope with my feelings about doctors/insurance and have the best visit with a general practitioner that I can after 10 years of being uninsured. This way lies snowflakes.
As mentioned above, I aged off of my parents' health insurance about a decade ago. After that point, I paid cash to keep seeing doctors for a while, but being unemployed for months at a time made even this impossible. My adult doctor's visits have been marked by difficulty communicating, feeling disrespected by doctors (being kept waiting 30 minutes or more, interrupted while explaining things, concerns and questions about medications shrugged off) and feeling stuck in a cycle of ass-covering testing that never revealed the source of chronic issues I've always seemed to have. ("Have you had your thyroid checked?" "Yes, they didn't find anything." "Well, we'll check it again." Test taken, no abnormalities found, lather rinse repeat.) This includes an incident where I feel I was probed too aggressively during an exam and ignored when I said "that really hurts." So I'd become less than enthusiastic about seeing doctors even while I had the means to see them. A major turning point also came when I went to an in-store clinic fearing that I had an ear infection and burned an entire paycheck just for the doctor to look in my ears and nose and say "no, it's just a bad cold". Over $350 for 10-15 minutes, for nothing.
In addition to my own issues, I've watched my parents and grandparents struggle greatly with their own medical care and paying for it, though they have never been without insurance themselves. There have been years where not a week has gone by that my mother wasn't on the phone with multiple organizations asking for leniency with some bill. My father had a GP that he respected, but that person abruptly left the practice where my father saw him with no forwarding information and it has been next to impossible for my father to develop the same rapport with another GP. Some doctors have attempted to get my father to change bad habits that he has by trying to intimidate him or get in his face and raise their voices, which is a guaranteed non-starter. There have been medication mistakes that could have been very serious had my mother not noticed and raised a stink to the doctor about getting the prescription reexamined. A doctor brought a dog into an examination with for my mother without regard for if my mother was comfortable with this, had allergies, or anything like that. My parents frequently go without or attempt to stretch needed medications further by taking less than the required dose due to financial issues (which then cause arguments with me because they won't take my money, when I have it, to get more medicine). My grandparents are now in a nursing home in part because my grandfather's doctors failed to see damage being done to his heart which eventually landed him in the hospital. My grandmother has a chronic condition that none of the nursing home staff seem to be able to control and allegedly cannot find anyone to assist them with. They are more mentally intact than many persons they live with, and complain bitterly about how they are not allowed to even play cards with residents living in other parts of the home who might be similarly conversant. It's hard to see them declining and not be able to do anything about it.
I'm sure you have heard most of these things before in some way: my point is that I have come to feel that most doctors don't care about doing right by their patients - certainly all of the doctors that my family have been able to afford. I'm not confident that doctors really know what the right thing to do is when it comes to things like weight loss, so for them to reject my questions and concerns and insist that something like the BMI
explains all that needs to be known about what's going on in my body is insulting. Doctors also don't care or know about the end costs of testing and visits. I've had more than one give me a blank look when I asked how much a procedure or test might cost, as though it shouldn't matter what I spend in the name of my health- when it absolutely does.
Now, thanks to the ACA and what is likely an extension of my state's Medicaid, I have my own health insurance. (Thanks Obama.) My health isn't great, but it isn't awful either. I have been preparing for a future GP visit by gathering data, like researching doctors covered by my insurance, keeping a journal of what I eat from day to day, and making a list of specific issues I want to make sure are discussed, but to be sure, I envision my next doctor's visit to be me arriving on time, being shown (late) to an exam room, waiting 20 minutes more for someone to see me and almost walking out before someone arrives, having an argument with the GP, and finally walking out without any "work" being done, feeling minimized and disrespected. Alternately, I will find out that I've developed something terrible since my last examination, touching off my very own years of confusion, fear, frustration, crushing medical debt (despite the insurance), being hounded by collections agencies and/or worse. It's enough to make me not want to bother seeing the doctor. But I don't know for sure what will happen, do I?
So, what do I do to make the most of an examination in light of everything that my family and I have experienced?
Thank you for your time.