Finding the Right Physician
By Apolinario Villalobos
Health is wealth, so goes the saying which is very true. Simply said, it is better to have just enough money but with a healthy body than having much money but with a sickly body that needs a doctor almost every day.
It is not easy to find the right doctor for one’s needs, especially if the ailment being suffered is not easy to diagnose. A friend who is a practicing family physician admitted that sometimes he has to consult his colleagues about cases that he is handling so that right drugs can be prescribed, or better yet, so that referral can be made if necessary. It just shows that several consultations may not give reliable result. The same is true with the finding of the right dentist, some of whom may be careless in handling patients.
In my case, it took many years before I was able to find Dr. Ceasar V. Palma, a family physician who not only patiently did the routine physical check the first time I visited him in his simply furnished clinic, but also patiently asked personal information that involved my diet, sleeping habit, hobbies, etc. before finally prescribing a drug for hypertension. The other physicians that I consulted before, did not even bother to ask questions about my diet, but just based their prescription on my age, and worst, did not even give me guidance on what food to eat. Dr. Palma, walks or commutes to hospitals where his clinics are located, as well as, when calling on patients at home, the reason perhaps, why despite his fifty-plus years of age, he moves with vim like a yuppy. He uses himself as an example on what clean living is all about. His schedule is so hectic but he still got time for medical missions in barangays of Bacoor, Cavite.
And, for my dental woes, it took several extractions by different dentists before I finally found a dentist with a “gentle touch”. In the past, I suffered from nocturnal bleedings for four nights due to haphazard extraction by a dentist who just dispatched me after a bloody execution of her profession on me. There was also a time when I almost had a locked jaw due to miscalculated injection of the anesthesia. And another one yet, extracted the wrong tooth which was beside the targeted one! What is sad about those episodes in my life, is that I have trusted the dentists for a long time. I could not help myself then, from feeling abused and exploited.
I had four loose teeth two months ago, but today, they are down to just two, thanks to Dr. Jocelyn Reyes-Atregenio, a dusky dentist with immaculately clean clinic in Imus City, Cavite. Her clinic was the third that I checked before finally, having my name listed as a walk- in patient. I was lucky to be the first in the list. After about ten minutes of waiting, a smiling young woman arrived who I thought was another patient, but she went straight inside the extraction cubicle, and in a few moments, she came out dressed in the white doctor’s garb. I was surprised and almost was reluctant to sit in the dental chair due to my apprehension, as I thought of her as a fresh board passer. Careful not to sound fresh, I asked how long she had been in the profession. When she told me that she has been practicing it for more than five years but spent a longer stint abroad, that calmed me down.
I told her about my apprehensions resulting from bad experiences in the hands of other dentists. To further calm me down, she told me that she will not dispatch me until the hole in my gum is finally sealed with a blood clot. True to her words, after extraction, she patiently applied pressure to the hole where a tooth once was, and until after three changes of cotton balls, she finally showed the fourth without blood stain – with a big grin, as if saying, “see?” That was two months ago, and two days ago, I had another extraction – with the usual relief. My two more loose teeth are reserved in her care.
The problem with some of the professionals along the line of health care today, is their over-confidence due to too much familiarity with patients. This results to their carelessness sometimes, thinking that the patients will not mind. It is therefore, of due importance that we should find the right medical practitioner on whose hands we entrust our health, and eventually…life.