Well, I guess this is a public-service announcement of sorts. Listening to Dr Laura just now, I heard a PSA for a a US government website that makes SOooo much sense:
We are so proactive about almost everything... except our health, and in many cases, our kids' or other family members.
My family doctor is probably typical. She's really REALLY nice. I've been going to her since before I was pregnant with YM, and she delivered him when she was 6 months pregnant herself. Really nice lady. I used to see her at shul all the time. Her husband has or had a terrible long-term illness and she just seemed to keep right on ticking cheerfully along.
But she is BUSY. And she is FAST.
When we see her, she talks so fast and assumes I understand. If I write my questions down ahead of time, she will stop and deal with them carefully, point by point. She will make notes for me to take home. Like I said, she's lovely.
But before I realized how it worked, I would go in with questions floating vaguely in my head... and never got them asked. Because I didn't want to waste her time trying to focus, and wasn't sure my questions were important enough.
If you're seeing a doctor, your questions are important - period.
I think my attitude changed after I'd been in midwives' care for a while. Because that's what it is: care. They're hands-on, they linger. It was awkward, at first, that moment when the midwives ask you what's going on, if you have anything you want to talk about: "umm... no." But they'll wait. They don't seem to mind if the silences are strained. After a while, you'll talk, or they'll ask something about your support system; who's going to help you look after the baby. A visit usually stretches from half an hour to 45 minutes.
I can't say I love the long visit, but I love how they'd deal so seriously even with the trivial baby-growing questions I'd make up to squelch the uncomfy dead air.
Not all midwives are excellent, but by and large, I met so many who do a great job of caring.
And it's not that doctors are evil (at least family doctors), or the medical establishment is evil, but the system is definitely stacked against patients. No doctor has 45 minutes for you unless you're terminal (in which case, they probably have even less because there's nothing they can do).
But if you ask questions, they'll make time.
If your doctor makes you feel stupid for asking questions, it's time to switch doctors.
Probably dentists, too.