Monday, June 3, 2013

Calling out my doctors :)

Well, I haven't written in a couple of days because I've been travelling to doctor's and tired and busy. But I'm on day 3 of the 30 days of posts.

The prompt for day 3 was to write about a conversation with your doctor. First of all, I have like 12 of those, which one am I supposed to pick. Second, I really don't like calling out medical professionals on the idiocy completely in a public forum such as this. But I will today because I was prompted to :)

However, the quote I'm going to use for the premise of this post is from a doctor who I no longer see because he is in North Carolina and from one of two doctors who has never doubted me or had a negative thing to say about me. The other one may be quoted too later :)

Dr. Brown was my general physician in North Carolina and despite my countless, sometimes weekly, sometimes daily visits to his office, never called me a hypochondriac or told me I had anxiety or said I was a liar. He kept running tests trying to find out what the hell was wrong with me and it just never worked out. He was the one that put me in the hospital when my hemoglobin was so low it almost killed me and got me referred to run tests and found out I had colitis and celiac. Anyways, one time we were talking at one of our many visits and he told me, "ya know Megan, you are the hardest and easiest patient to treat all at the same time." This was a big compliment. Basically he was saying that I was the hardest because he had no idea what to do with me or what was causing me my issues, but I was the easiest because no matter what he put me through or what he told me I was easy going and very agreeable. It made me feel better about "wasting his time" as I thought I was doing because I knew at least he liked me and appreciated my willingness to be an agreeable patient.

Then somehow I ended up in Indiana. Where I don't have that wonderful man anymore. I do have a super rheumy, but it's still not the same as Dr. B, but I love him too :) But I also have a GP who could care less about anything, a chrio who thinks it's no big deal that my joints continuously pop out of place daily and doesn't think this should affect the way he should adjust me, a GI doctor who think it's no big deal that I haven't been able to tolerate more than one completely solid meal since November (yeah I haven't eaten more than one solid meal a day for 7 months, no big deal), a Cardiologist who thinks that I'm making up everything even though I bring in all my daily numbers every visit and didn't even come in my room the last time I drove 2 hours each way to see him--he stuck his head in my room and said he was referring me to endocrinology and he would see me in 6 months, when 2 weeks prior he changed my meds and added IV fluids and said that this appointment was to discuss if those changes were helping and neither were discussed at all (he is so FIRED!), a neurologist that could be ok--I've seen him once and he was ok the first time, but first impressions are not everything in health care. I've also fired 6 other doctors since I've been here and that doesn't include the cardio above that is not technically fired yet. I've had numerous ER visits where people looked at me like I had 3 heads because of course by the time I got there my symptoms were completely different. Being a patient with a chronic illness is ridiculously hard to keep up with and understand at at times.  This month alone I have 9, possibly 10 or 11 if I can get in with GI and endocrinology this month appointments/treatments. That's out of 20 business days. That means that literally half the month I am at the doctor or getting a treatment. This is why I cant' work. Being chronically ill is exhausting and sometimes I don't think doctors realize how much of our precious time, how many spoons it takes to go to all of these appointments. How pissed I was the other day when I drove 4.5 hours round trip for a 3 minute appointment. Do you know how much energy that takes someone with a chronic illness? I don't think most typical people realize how much energy driving takes. It takes a lot.

Now let me go to the flip side. Remember I said I have a super rheumy? Let me tell ya about him. He is a lot like Dr. B, except he is running more tests than Dr. B did because he is a specialist. He is trying super hard to figure out why I feel this bad. One time he reminded me why sometimes I feel bad for doctors of patients with chronic illnesses. One time he called me, I was in class having a bad day and had called his line for a question. He called me back at 6:30 at night, himself, and I was still in class. I went out and sat in the hall to talk to him. He told me he wasn't sure what to tell me, we were doing everything we could. He could tell I was crying. He asked me what was wrong and I told him I was frustrated and then immediately said I'm not frustrated at you I'm just frustrated from dealing with this every day. He said "me too, I'm frustrated with your body, I wish we could figure out what was wrong with it." This made me realize that doctors (sometimes) can be compassionate and (sometimes) do care about us. Sometimes, they are human and don't know what to do. And sometimes they just want to tell us they are just as frustrated as we are. It must be hard to see patients day after day with chronic illnesses that they can't fix like people with colds and the flu, it must be hard to care so much for your patients because you see them so frequently and not know how to fix them. Sometimes it's nice to know they are frustrated too as long as they express it compassionately and not by not even taking the time to look at you and let you ask questions, even if they know they won't be able to answer them. 

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