To the Brisbane GP who helped me turn my health around: Thank you

3 minute read

Australia has no shortage of good doctors, but exceptional GPs are changing the lives of their patients.

A doctor in my hometown is well known as the man to see if you need a script.

Another GP quite remarkably made his way beyond the hurdle of my late grandfather’s scepticism towards medical practitioners to become his go-to for years, along with many other elderly folks.

Practices across Australia are home to doctors good at what they do – but then some are truly exceptional.

I’m talking about the type of doctor who so ingrains themselves into your life that it becomes a bit terrifying to think about being without them. A GP who is practical but also empathetic and reassuring. Someone who wants to know about your plans and ambitions, and peppers those conversations with gentle reminders about stress management. The doctor who is your confidant in all things personal and goes the extra mile to find solutions that work.

That is my doctor.

In the years I have spent navigating the public health system following an endometriosis diagnosis and associated complications, I have seen countless GPs, primary health carers, and specialists at the top of their game in the city and the sticks.

There was the GP who told me she couldn’t help when I disclosed days of heavy bleeding after an IUD insertion gone wrong. And the specialist urging I consider cryopreservation, only to suggest later I might have conceived twins had I naturally fallen pregnant.

Those and other experiences were frightening and incredibly isolating. I wish other women never to experience the physical pain and mental anguish of a challenging and confronting health journey.

I’ve had good experiences too, like the surgeon whose confidence and grace before a laparoscopy put me at ease, and the GP who did her best to solve my mystery pain in a small town with limited resources.

They were good doctors. But none can compare to the Brisbane GP in the basement practice who is often running late but has cared for me like no other for years.

She is my hero.

She was the first doctor I felt heard me when I spoke, and the first doctor to make me think that I wasn’t imagining what I was going through. She’s helped me keep my head above water during some of the most stressful experiences of my life, and it’s because of her that I now put my mental health at the forefront of significant decisions. She advocated for me when I didn’t know how and then helped me make plans to confront health issues head-on.

Earlier this year, when I was preparing to travel overseas for work, she went overboard – as it seemed at the time – to make sure I protected myself against COVID-19. I am now so grateful for her dedication and discernment.

Because of her, I feel healthier than ever, which has given me the confidence to pursue professional and personal endeavours I otherwise wouldn’t have.

I don’t think I could ever thank her enough for treating me with such kindness and respect, nor for her unwavering commitment to helping me to turn my health around.

All patients deserve medical attention that leads them to a fuller, larger life.

Flashier specialists may get more of the glory, but GPs are the real life-changers.

Sonia Kohlbacher is a new staff writer at The Medical Republic. 

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