During my senior year in college I came down with a lingering illness that, despite repeated trips to the infirmary, could not be diagnosed. I’d show up every other week or so with a rotating laundry list of symptoms: some aches and pains, a sore throat or hacking cough, and — almost always — extreme exhaustion. I don’t remember now what they tested me for, but I do remember how it amused my roommates when one doctor finally diagnosed me with “an allergy to the atmosphere.” At a loss on how to avoid breathing, I carried on, but by Christmas break I was feeling much worse. A trip to our family physician was equally frustrating, mainly because the good doctor refused to listen to me. After interrupting me several times, he patted my hand and said that clearly I was just feeling a little down. Did I have a hangover, he asked. Was I perhaps feeling sad because I didn’t like my Christmas gifts? His patronizing questions went on and on.
Three days later I had a fever of 105 degrees, severe tonsillitis, and glands so swollen that I looked like a cartoon character who had swallowed a golf ball. Finally, an astute physician diagnosed me with extreme mononucleosis; I missed almost half of my final semester in college.
Although the illness is now just a memory, I’ve never forgotten how that one doctor — the patronizing one — intimidated and dismissed me. Since then, I’ve become a much stronger advocate for my own health. I flat-out refuse to stick with an MD who won’t listen to me or return phone calls — despite whatever tony credentials are nicely framed on the office wall.
This month’s issue includes our annual list of the Valley’s top doctors. We can all locate a physician who went to a good medical school or is affiliated with a top-notch hospital. But to have a listing of doctors who are recommended by their peers — well, that’s priceless. I hope you keep this issue handy; it can be an invaluable resource when you need to find a new doctor.
Of course, sometimes a glass of wine is the best medicine for life’s little problems — especially if it is produced in one of the Valley’s beautiful vineyards. Read all about our burgeoning wine region, vineyard festivals, how to pick the ideal wine for different meals, and much more.
Cheers to your health.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief