I just read this blog post, and it reminded me of so many experiences I have had with medical practitioners. Bad experiences. Frustrating experiences. I’ve been meaning to blog about them for a while now. I guess this is the impetus to do so.
As Lisa recounted her negative experiences with medical professionals, I flashed back to some of mine:
The doctor who told me, “I’m not saying it’s all in your head, but…”
The doctor who angrily asked me what I wanted from her, and angrily snorted when I responded, “Improved Quality of Life!”
The doctor who didn’t know what exactly was wrong with me, but wanted to give me Prozac to make me “easier to deal with.”
The medical practitioners (plural) who have endangered my life by prescribing medications that could cause a patient with my (known) condition to have a stroke.
The PA who simultaneously prescribed TWO medications that could give me a stroke, even though I pointed this out to him.
The pharmacist who wanted to fill these prescriptions, even though I pointed this out to her.
The doctor who prescribed a medication that caused me to lose one year of my life to clinical depression.
The doctor who refused to help me titrate off of this medication ( a gradual decrease of dosing; required in this case because stopping cold-turkey could induce seizures).
The multiple doctors/PAs who ignored symptoms that “didn’t fit.”
The multiple doctors who refused to believe that I had torn ligaments in my arm, and would not refer me for MRIs, which led to me almost losing the ability to use my wrist for the rest of my life.
I used to fly an Air Force jet worth over $600 Million. I was trusted to safely fly that aircraft, conduct sensitive missions, and keep all of the personnel onboard safe. But healthcare practitioners treat me like an idiot, despite the fact that I frequently know more about my specific conditions than they do.
I respect the health care providers who say:
“You know more about this than I do.”
“You are the expert on your own body.”
“You have become your own specialist.”
“I will refer you to the specialist you are requesting, because this is beyond my area of expertise.”
I do not respect the ones who say:
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You couldn’t possibly have that.”
“I’ve never heard of that.” (“And I don’t want to learn about it”… is implied by their actions.)
“You don’t need a specialist, I can treat this myself.” (Usually followed by prescribing the medications that can give me a stroke. NEWSFLASH: You don’t know as much as you think you do, and you’re gambling with MY health!)
“I don’t think the medication I prescribed is responsible for that (known) side effect. Just give it a while longer to take effect/take these other medications to treat all of the many side effects.”
And recently, as I have explained to multiple doctors/PAs/Nurse Practitioners that I have found recent research that seems to explain EVERY ONE of my symptoms, and therefore I believe I have found my diagnosis:
“I don’t believe that’s a real thing.” (As if ignoring research will make it go away. If we all choose to “not believe” in cancer, will it go away? No? Well, then, neither will my condition.)
I have had 15+ years of frustrating experiences with Tricare, as my health condition has declined from chronic to chronic, debilitating.
I cannot work, and I cannot continue my education.
When I was healthy, I thought that doctors were like mechanics: If you “got broke,” you went in and they fixed you.
I have learned that sometimes when you get broke, it can’t be fixed. And sometimes, doctors don’t really care if you get fixed – they get paid to see you for 15 minutes, or perform a specific procedure, NOT to think, question, or improve the patient’s quality of life.
I know that there are good healthcare providers out there. But I haven’t met very many of them.
Bottom Line: In my experience, most healthcare providers are neither capable, nor desirous, of working with patients who have complicated health problems.