February 26, 2008

on doctors and sick days...

Went to the doctor today. The joys of womanhood (yes, this post is going to deal with womanly bits: men, you've been fairly warned) were just a wee bit out of control, and I was pretty sure that I was on my way out of this world. No, really, you have no idea. I actually asked the husband to nudge me at some point last night, to make sure I was still alive. (I was. Which was a good thing.)

Anyway, I have a thing about doctors. I will admit to being a slight hypochondriac, but this is not only because of my mild obsession with the quality programming on the Discovery Health Channel. (Do you ever watch Mystery Diagnosis? Because you should. That ish is crazy.) I think that most of my mistrust and/or skepticism of doctors comes from a bunch of random experiences I had when I was young.

When I was about ten or so, I had planters warts. It was good times, you should try them out sometime. I went to the doctors office with my mom to get some medicine/cream/what-have-you for them, and the doctor straight up tells us the following:

doctor: "Yeah, well, you know, there isn't really any real cure for planters warts. In reality, you could use anything - even crayons. I mean, really, it's all in the head, anyway. If you believe it will work, then it will."
me: (blink.)
mom: (blink.)
doctor: (blink.)
mom: "Huh. Okay, then."

A few years later, I was having this phase where I'd have to get up around three times every single night to use the bathroom - even if I deprived myself of all liquids for hours before I went to bed. It was good times, you should try it out sometime. Again, my mom and I went to the doctors office - once it had reached the point where it raised a bit of a concern. This is the diagnosis we received:

doctor: "Here's what you do: throughout the day, whenever you feel the need to urinate, just hold it until you feel like you can't hold it anymore. That way, your bladder will stretch out and you won't have to go as much during the night."
me: (blink.)
mom: (blink.)
doctor: (smile.)
mom: "So, are you going to refund our copay now, or when my daughter comes back with a life-threatening bladder infection?"

Okay, so my mom didn't say that. She's the nicest woman in the world. But we did go home and laugh about that one.

There are other experiences, too, in which I just don't feel that I've been taken seriously, or genuinely cared for. When I was seventeen, I had this out-of-the-blue irregular heartbeat that was the scariest thing ever. We had to go to several doctors before we felt like we were actually taken seriously. I don't think a doctor should automatically assume that it's just a regular symptom - can't they at least do some sort of investigation? If it's one thing I know, it's that I know my body better than anyone else. As long as you pay attention to yourself, you are going to get "that feeling" when you know something just isn't right. And that's how I've been feeling the last two days.

When I went into the the room at the doctors office, I was lucky enough to enjoy a preliminary exam by a huge man who apparently goes by "Big Oz." Yes, he's definitely the type of person with whom I would love to go into great detail about my menstrual cycle. It was great. Then, when the doctor finally came in, she really seemed to miss the whole point of why I wanted to be seen. She kept talking to me like I was some thirteen year old girl who had just started her period three days ago and was all afraid she was going to bleed to death or something. Don't patronize me, Nancy. I am not thirteen. And I know my body. Something isn't right. If you're used to being something one way for ten years, and then one day out of the blue it's completely and entirely different, you're telling me that's no reason to be worried? Really?

Still, she kept interrupting my questions and seemed to wave away any of my concerns. She did a quick test to make sure I wasn't preggers, then pushed on my tummy a bit and then told me to call back on Thursday if I was still having trouble. The whole time I sat there wanting to cry. I know I made a last minute appointment, and you're not my regular doctor, but don't you want to listen to me? Don't you want to know why I'm worried? Don't you want me to give you a little background? Do you care at all?

She wrote me a note to give to my work, because there was no way I would have made it though an entire night alone at work. And she sent me on my way.

I honestly haven't felt genuinely taken care of by a doctor in years. It's experiences like this that make me really not trust them, and become really frustrated with the whole health care system and all of that. I wish I could go back to the days when a doctor knew you by name and would stop by your home when you weren't feeling well. That would make me happy.


  1. I could've been permanently disfigured, possibly paralyzed, from a misdiagnosis a few years back. That's why second opinions are a good thing.

    Also, did you get the irregular heartbeat figured out? I have one that my doctor, of course, told me not to worry about...

  2. (I found your blog through Etsy/Swapbot...I hope you don't mind me stopping by!)

    I avoid the doctor at all costs. I hate the fact that you go in and the nurse asks you twelve questions and then the doctor comes in and makes you repeat all of your answers.

  3. renee: Ack! Misdiagnosis-es are all over the place. I hear about it constantly. It's scary, isn't it? And apparently the irregular heartbeat thing wasn't a "big deal". I still think that it was more than what they said it was, because all the tests they ran didn't necessarily lead to what diagnosis they gave me; they pretty much assumed after a certain point. Luckily, it's pretty much gone away with age. Scary stuff. I'd be interested to hear your story!

    howunremarkable: Thank you for stopping by! I love meeting new people through this blog - thank you for taking the time to comment, as well. :) I agree with you on the nurse/doctor thing. I mean, doctor, you have had my chart for the last four years - do I really have to tell you AGAIN that I have no allergies? Really? Ah, well.

  4. If you are super worried, try to go to another doctor. Or, be straight with the doctor you are working with, and tell her you ARE worried, and would appreciate some more input. You are lucky, LUCKY, I'm not there to go with you next time... cause some docs would be getting all hell raised up.

  5. thats rough. doctors scare the bejesus out of me, and just for that very reason. i mean, if you're seeing 100 people a day, how personal can you really get?

    i know that for me, there's nothing more frustrating than KNOWING something isn't right and being told your fine. i don't like to feel crazy, and yet... that's always how i leave the doctors feeling.

    anyway, i hope you are feeling better... and definitely get a second opinion (and a third)!


  6. I COMPLETELY understand. Last week, my doctor's "fill in" gave me something that I was allergic to. What the crap? Plus, it is even noted in my file! Ugh!

  7. i'm going to agree with everyone else - i avoid doctors at all costs...except my female dr. - cause she's awesome!

  8. I avoid going to the doctor too, even though I know I shouldn't. I really should find a primary care doc I love. But how?

  9. Amen.

    I'm so glad our family found the doctor we go to now, his waiting room may take forever but once you get in there he really listens and then explains everything (like why he's giving you what he is and what's going on). He's pretty much the first one like that I've ever found...


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