I made a doctor appointment for a minor health worry. The usual practitioner was on leave so I saw a locum. The new doctor was quite dismissive and may have written something disparaging in the medical notes. I was worried my regular doctor might be influenced by this.


I wanted to say to my GP.

I enquired about problem X while you were away and your stand-in was quite dismissive. I wouldn't like you to think I am a _______ "

Excluded answers

hypochondriac - This was a real ailment and the locum admitted it but dismissed it as unimportant and seemed to think I was wasting his time. In fact it turned out that my own GP commended me for mentioning it as treatment was needed.

malingerer - I was not trying to shirk my work or responsibilities. I wanted treatment so I could carry on with my daily activities.

Munchausen sufferer - This stems from a desire to interact with doctors as much as possible. That doesn't describe me at all. I prefer to keep away from doctors and hospitals.


So what is the term? Can you offer me a single word or, failing that, a concise phrase.

  • 2
    I'd actually say hypochondriac fits quite well; you actually had the ailment, so you wouldn't want the doctor to think you were a hypochondriac. Jul 19, 2015 at 13:27
  • 2
    Any of your suggestions would actually work, because you wouldn't want the doctor to think that of you: none of those epithets applies, and you would like to draw the doctor's attention to the fact that he shouldn't be using them of you.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 19, 2015 at 13:39
  • 4
    I would advise rephrasing this as "I enquired about problem X while you were away and your stand-in was quite dismissive. I would like you to note that problem x had greater impact than your colleague assessed and that it was of greater significance, as demonstrated by the need for subsequent treatment." This avoids the problem of using a word which, if recorded, doesn't strongly place on record your precise feelings and the reasons for them, which appears to be the goal of your discussion with the doctor.
    – Karasinsky
    Jul 19, 2015 at 15:05
  • 1
    I wouldn’t worry about what your doctor thinks of you. You’ve got a long history with him and he already has a well-formed opinion of you. Doctor’s are pretty smart. it sounds like the person who should be worrying is your doctor- who evidently has an incompetent for a stand-in. (If it’s true that you really did require subsequent treatment) On the other hand it’s also possible that your doctor knows you’re a hypochondriac and knows that if he just gives you something for a treatment, that will keep everyone happy.
    – Jim
    Jul 19, 2015 at 15:47
  • 1
    "I wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea/impression", leaves it open-ended, it can mean anything or nothing in particular. The onus is on the listener to supply his/her POV. But I would prefer telling my doctor that I felt uncomfortable and ill at ease with the locum.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


"I wouldn't like you to think I am a valetudinarian"

Oxford English Dictionary:

A person who is unduly anxious about their health.

  • 1
    dictionary.reference.com/browse/valetudinarian For the link and a more assertive alternative definition : see under Collins English Dictionary
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 31, 2015 at 11:33
  • Wow! - Excellent. I've read or heard the word somewhere before but had no idea what it meant. I would never have come up with that in a million years. (well maybe a million) Jul 31, 2015 at 15:24
  • My pleasure, I don't know why I remember it but my first girlfriend years and years ago would talk about her father as one, she liked the word. I think this is the first time I've ever had a meaningful purpose to bring it up, I had to attempt a spelling and let Google auto correct it. Aug 1, 2015 at 0:00

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