Dr. Dolittle and the Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

Can a Rheumatoid Arthritis specialist be Dr. Dolittle?

white alpaca

I saw this great post on Facebook about how much people living with chronic illness need doctors who will listen. Mainly people with illnesses read that page, I think. How could we get doctors to read it, I wonder?

Something funny happened to me when I read it.

I hope you get a smile from it, too. My kids were watching the old musical Dr. Dolittle. It’s the one with Rex Harrison and the cute pushme-pullyou animal which looks so much like one—no, two—of my mom’s alpacas. I know it’s old, but still delightful.

So Dr. Dolittle decides to become an animal doctor because he can’t get along with people, who he finds hypocritical and pretentious. He sings, “Why can’t people behave more like animals?” Of course, he means humble and honest and kind.

Well, later on, I was reading the article about how to help doctors listen. Something strange thing happened: Somehow the movie and the article merged into one. I had to laugh out loud. The song changed into, “Why can’t doctors behave more like people?” Of course I meant more humble and patient and kind.

I guess it was so funny because I still had the British accent and the music in my head. I could just hear Gubgub the pig squeal to get away from some rude and insensitive doctor the way he did in the movie when Dr. Dolittle said he’d consider eating ham again someday.

I know there are some very good doctors just as there are some good politicians and IRS agents. I don’t mean to offend any good doctors. Just the ones who might call themselves Dr. Do Very Little. So sorry. But, we are in pain, so we need to laugh every chance we get. Hope that’s ok.

The article on helping doctors listen really is great. The comment section is also quite useful. I would definitely consider printing a copy of it to share with friends—or your own rheum doctor or RA specialist.

Updated outgoing link to article 8-1-16

Recommended reading:

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

11 thoughts on “Dr. Dolittle and the Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

  • May 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Hey just found your blog thanks to the arthritis site. Great writing, and intresting reading 🙂

  • May 28, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    thanks, Sam
    Hope you never meet dr.dolittle.

  • November 15, 2009 at 7:18 am

    great blog post and great article u referenced 🙂 no surprise, all of your blogs r wonderful and inspiring, just like you!

  • March 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I am looking for a new rheumatologist and posted a question about one on facebook. I received a few responses, I started thinking that it would really be nice if people with RA put together a list of doctors and rated them on things that are most important to the patient. I guess you could say the Dr. Dolittle rating scale – humble, patient, kind. How well does the doctor listen? How well do they explain what is going on with us? How current do they stay on treatment options? How comfortable is their waiting area? How friendly is their staff? I’m sure you all can think of other things. I don’t know if this list exists but if it did, and patients started using it to select their doctor, maybe the others would get a clue.

    • March 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      Becky, I like your idea. I think there are some risks about liability that have to be addressed, but I’ll think about this. There are some links to some of those general sites where you can rate a dr. in this post.

  • August 1, 2010 at 9:54 am

    When I first met my new RA doctor I thought he was the best thing that was every going to happen to me & my husband (both of us need a Rhumey) so we go 2gther to our visit,well once he got us on a treatment plan & got 2 know us he was amazing.I am just now finding out it’s not always the doctor that’s the problem it’s the way the office is run, especially when you call & wanna talk to the doctor,they never give him the message,therefore you think it’s the doc that doesn’t care,but it’s the office workers who are responsible for a NO RETURN phone call..that happen to me this week..i took over and I took control & kept calling until i got help..Roxie

    • August 1, 2010 at 9:59 am

      Roxie, thanks that’s good advice. I’ve been trying to get a call back for about 4 weeks. At one point, I went into the office (an hour away) and sweetly stated that I had not received a call back. The woman stated that there was no record of my call. She was the one who had taken my call!

  • October 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for the information. I moved from Colorado to Florida and have been having a horrible time finding a new rheumatologist. I had a great one in Colorado. I am on my second one now in Florida and now looking into my third one. I was beginning to think it was just me, but realized that it is not me. This is a life long disease and it is so important to find someone who listens to you. Finding a doctor is like shopping for a car. There are some good ones and some bad ones, unfortunately it takes faxing your huge file over and driving to your appointment and waiting two hours to find out if they are going to be the one or not.

    • October 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      I had a hard time finding a good one too, Kelly. I don’t know what part of Fla. you are in, but if it’s near central Florida, write me a letter & I could privately recommend my own doc. kelly @ rawarrior.com

  • July 2, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Thanks for relaying your story with cipro antibiotic. I had a horrible and incredibly painful infection a few years ago. I avoid dr’s and drugs like the plague and hadn’t taken an antibiotic in over 25 years. I succumbed as the infection was very dangerous and too far progressed to respond with herbs, though I am quite skilled with herbs and herbs by no means a weak choice. I don’t recall the antibiotic name right now, though it is one often prescribed for dental, knee surgery. Perfectly healthy adults end up with clostridium diff infection, a superbug that has caused many deaths. Also causes autoimmune for which it gave me CNS Vasculitis and Rheumatoid as well as permanent damage to my gut (or so far not resolved) inflamatory bowel disease.
    So, now, in kidney failure with all the health conditions had to go to emergency. Long story short, he prescribed cipro. I was horrified to see the list of collateral damages associated with antibiotic and that it is made with flouride central molecule. Needless to say, I checked online this time, and haven’t touched it and will not. Risk blindness? Tendon rupture? More damage to my CNS when already have neurodegeneration, kidney damage and rheumatoid? This was quadruply contraindicated for me, and in general across the board, should be pulled from the market.
    I found your statement in your article hysterical and one of the best that summarizes for me how I value the medical profession, sometimes necessary – most often a dangerous choice. Don’t trust them. Do your own research before you follow their advice or take their drugs.
    The statement I found so funny and true was: “I know there are some good doctors out there, just as there are good politicians and IRS agents.”. Yes, like finding a needle in a haystack. There are a few good politicians, Ron Paul my choice. Good IRS/Mafia agent? I don’t know about that one.

  • March 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

    My first Rheumy is not so good. Every time I email her about a new symptom or a bad side effect of a drug she has Prescribed…her email response is to tell me to contact my internal medicine doctor. He also doesn’t appreciate it. They both work for the same teaching hospital. Now I’m going to have to go outside that hospital system to find a new Rheumy. It’s better to stay inside the system because they share your information on the one computer system. Evidently it takes an act of Congress for me to see a different doctor in her Dept. I’m so frustrated with the disease & the doctor.


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