I was told once by a physician that there are two camps that doctors fall into. There are the doctors who are certain that the fact that they took the time (and money) to get a medical degree means that they know best, they’re correct, and us lowly, non-medical-degree-possessing people are stupid. The other camp is full of doctors who have knowledge far beyond that of their patients, but also are fully aware that there is one person who has been there/involved in every medical concern the patient has – THE PATIENT.
I much prefer the second camp.
First, let’s just go ahead and point out that anyone with the desire to become a doctor could go get a medical degree and get a job in the field. So using that to be all high and mighty is not only fucking annoying, it’s also based on a pretty rickety premise.
Second, unless I was drugged up or passed out, I’ve been around for all of my medical issues. Everything from a runny nose to going into anaphylactic shock. So I appreciate when a physician understands this and gives some stock to what I have to say.
Here are some examples of situations where doctors have sucked:
(1) I am allergic to Sulfa drugs. I put this on EVERY form I ever fill out. I mention it every time a doctor goes to write a prescription for me. And yet, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve gone to pick up something from Walgreens and have been told by the pharmacist that they’re going to contact the doctors office because he prescribed me a sulfa mimicking drug.
(2) I have found out the hard way that I have major anxiety/panic attacks over IV drugs. It’s irrational. It makes no sense. I know this. I can’t change it no matter what I do. As outlined here and here, I know this because I once punched an anesthesiologist. Any time I am going into surgery I tell them this. I tell them they need to Xanax or Valium me. Only half the time do they listen/believe me. But that’s fine. You want to get punched? By all means…
(3) Morphine doesn’t affect me. I don’t know why or how. I haven’t had a morphine drip that many times. Twice? Maybe three times total. I remember being surprised as hell that pushing a little button every 15 minutes was doing nothing to help my pain. I would lay in the outpatient or inpatient room bawling. Partially in pain that wasn’t being aided by morphine and partially frustrated and scared that it wasn’t working. The last time I was hospitalized, I informed them of this right when they hooked me up. I think I actually said “if you’re not willing to give me anything other than morphine, you may as well save it for someone else.” When I was in so much pain that my blood pressure got to a dangerous level they brought me a dose of Demerol and put it in my IV. Two minutes later I felt basically pain free and my pressure had normalized. The attending doctor came in and said – and I quote – “Wow. So you were serious about this? We tend to assume people are junkies when they know that much about the medications.” Yep. Dead serious.
(4) After the hospitalization described above, I was told to follow up with a GI doctor. Which I did. Who ordered an endoscopy which is chronicled in the second link in list item (2) above. After all of that he prescribed me the non-over-the-counter version of Prilosec. Which I figured I’d try because it was $4 instead of buying it OTC for $20ish. Everything was going fine until I ran out of pills and went to refill it and found out I didn’t have any refills. The only way I could get them refilled was to go to the GI doctor, be seen, have him re-prescribe it, and get it filled. Every. Single. Time. My copay for the GI is $50. So instead of paying $50 to get a $4 Rx, I resorted to buying it over the counter. Thanks for your “expertise” but no thanks on the whole ripping me off thing.
(5) I went to urgent care for what turned out to be a intestinal bacterial infection. They gave me antibiotics and pain medication. I took everything as they told me to, but the pain medication didn’t do shit. Well, it knocked me out, but only for an hour or so until the stabbing pain woke me up from a drug induced sleep. Four times. It seems, similar to morphine, that my body doesn’t respond to the medication they gave me. I called and asked for something else that I might respond to – not stronger, I’d happily take “weaker” as long as it worked. They told me they don’t have anything else they’re willing to prescribe me and I should go see a GI if I need something else. I’m sure it’s no shock (based on item (4) in this list) that I won’t be doing that. I’ll take tylenol and hope that does something… thanks.
I’m considering taking the MCAT and going to medical school just so that when I walk into an office they stop looking at me like a junkie idiot and start respecting that I probably know my body better than anyone in their office, including the attending “holier than thou” physician. Either that, or I am going to start referring to myself as “Doctor” and put it as my title/prefix on all forms.
I’m aware that this rant may be annoying and stupid. But I’m currently frustrated. And this is how I chose to get that out. Plus, I’m on medication that makes me loopy…
So shut up. 🙂