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So after my post yesterday, I was unfriended by someone who is a… - Tactical Ninja

Jul. 27th, 2015

10:10 am

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So after my post yesterday, I was unfriended by someone who is a doctor. I could be putting 2 and 2 together and getting 27, I could have just got really boring lately, but it looked to me like one of those quitting to avoid an argument situations, because I've turned into someone who thinks I know better than trained professionals, who reads the internet and self-diagnoses, and who won't be told.

It's ok, I recognise how infuriating that is. Reading comments about whether or not prisoners should be allowed to vote makes me want to go all stabby too, because I'm a trained criminologist and I like to think my education is worth something, so seeing laypeople wax eloquently on topics they aren't trained in can be frustrating - especially when if their advice were taken it could lead to further harm. I get it, I really do.


Doctors do often know best. They train for a long time to know stuff about how bodies work, and they have far more knowledge than I ever will on a huge array of things I can't even pronounce, never mind understand. They know the functions of things like cortisol and what the normal ranges are, and can very likely give really good advice on what is or isn't likely to be wrong with me and why.

The problem is, in my experience, they don't.

What they do instead, is to see me for 15 minutes if I'm lucky, in which time I rattle off what I'm feeling and they try to work out what's wrong. Sometimes they order tests, after which I get a text saying 'everything normal' and that's the end of it.

When I said to my doctor that my back pain didn't feel mechanical, she ordered a test and I wasn't sick enough to see a specialist so she said "It's mechanical" and I did what she advised and it didn't help.

When I said to my doctor that I was concerned about the strange beading and ridges on my fingernails, she glanced briefly at them and dismissed it. NB: the first thing you learn when working with hoofed animals is that their health is evident in their hooves. So weird lumpy nails when they have been smooth in the past *does* mean something in my view.

When my doctor said I am probably depressed and I said "I know what depression feels like and this isn't it" she looked at me like "How dare you challenge me?"

When I presented with weird round spots on my legs that look like ringworm but don't itch, that appear for no reason and disappear after a week, she said I had eczema. I was doubtful but she was insistent. Thing is, I know quite a lot of people with eczema and *none* of their rashes look like mine. The steroid cream she gave me makes no difference, and I don't fit the profile - no food allergies, never had asthma, never been prone to skin reactions..

My doctor says I'm depressed and have eczema. She has a bunch of medical training and a number of years' experience at diagnosing people's ailments, and has seen me for a total of about 45 minutes over the last year and had the results of some tests.

I say I'm not depressed and I don't think I have eczema. I have no medical training but a good brain, and 45 years' experience at living in my own body. I like to think I have some idea of how I feel and what's normal and not normal for me. Mostly I'm willing to listen to external advice from those who have more knowledge.

The problem arises when I talk about how I feel and show her the things that are abnormal for me and she dismisses them and tells me things that conflict with what I'm experiencing. And doesn't bother to explain.

Why are my weird fingernails not worth more than a passing glance and dismissal?

Why is my back mechanical despite not having responded to any of the recommended treatments, despite me still being able to do some pretty demanding circus without it hindering me, and despite my efforts to address potential OOS not actually making any difference?

Why do I have eczema? What is the reason that she has decided it's this, and discounted any other possibility, based on looking at it once? Why is it that when I ask about alternatives, she shuts me down instead of discussing them with me as if my perspective has merit?

Why does her view that I'm depressed override my own that I'm not, and why, now she's decided that, is everything I say seen through that frame?

I can't help but think that my 45 years trumps her 45 minutes when it comes to knowing how I feel, and when my descriptions of my own observations are dismissed in favour of something I know not to be true, and I am then treated as if I don't know myself, I get both resentful and disappointed.

I want a doctor that works with me, that doesn't just make decisions that easily fit a predetermined perspective, and who is interested in hearing what I think about my situation. And if I'm wrong, I'd like to hear why, clearly and in detail, so that I can understand and agree rather than just feel like I'm being dismissed with "Doctor knows best."

Because I've been following Doctor Knows Best for a year, and getting nowhere. I have no reason to have any faith that what she says is any more right than what I think, and the more this happens, the less faith I have. Yes, I *will* go and look things up on the internet. And a good doctor would listen to this, consider it, and either give it the merit it's due or explain why she thinks it's incorrect.

But of course, when you only have 15 minutes and can only communicate by text, she can't do that. So we get this situation where I'm ignored and resentful, and she's frustrated by my refusal to accept a glib diagnosis, and nobody's got time to have a real discussion.

All of which costs me $63 a pop.


So yeah, I understand that people who read the internet are a source of frustration for doctors, with their half-baked, untrained ideas. But I think doctors need to understand that dismissing patients' ideas out of hand in favour of a diagnosis that the patient feels is incorrect, with no explanation or discussion, is incredibly frustrating and disempowering. And for me, it chases me away. I have no desire to spend another 15 minutes (and another $63) trying to convince my doctor I know myself well enough to judge whether or not I'm depressed.

And if going to the doctor is pointless enough to be not worth doing, I'm left with trying to figure it out for myself.

Sue me.

Comments:

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From:siduri
Date:July 26th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC)
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What is hugely frustrating is when you know what your own body is telling you and the doctor just hangs onto whatever the accepted diagnosis is-regardless of what you are telling him. And when they pay no mind to side effects of medications. And so on.

Yeah. This. Same all over.
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From:fbhjr
Date:July 27th, 2015 01:13 am (UTC)
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If you lived over here, I'd think maybe lyme disease. Especially with the round red marks.
But, I don't think it is over there...
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From:tatjna
Date:July 27th, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
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Yeah, people get it here but it's only really found in people who've recently travelled to somewhere where it's endemic.
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From:richaarde
Date:July 27th, 2015 02:37 am (UTC)
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Is there another doctor in your area? This one really doesn't sound like they know what they're doing, and it isn't right for you to continue to suffer with something that is probably easily treatable.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 27th, 2015 02:38 am (UTC)
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There's loads, but right now I can't be arsed with any of them.
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From:meathiel
Date:July 27th, 2015 07:13 am (UTC)
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I totally agree that doctors know better ... BUT they don't have enough time to look at every patient closely. There's no reason to be offended about reading up on the webz imo.
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From:kehleyr
Date:July 27th, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
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*hugs*
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:July 29th, 2015 02:53 am (UTC)
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Four years ago, my DH had a bad accident. So there've been a lot of Drs. in our lives... and let me tell you that finding a good Dr. is a lot like finding a good mechanic or therapist... you have to hunt. I wish it weren't that way, but it is.

You've been dealing with this for a year with no improvement. I don't blame you one bit for your research and your plan to 'heal thyself'. Your logic sounds reasonable and the worst case scenario is that in a month you don't feel better and you try something else (maybe shop for a new Dr., maybe try something else yourself).

You're chronic, not acute, and certainly the Dr. doesn't seem stressed about your condition (eye roll).

Just don't let the bastards get you down. Your symptoms may be due to adrenal issues, but the situation can still be depressing. So hang in there, OK?

Hugs to you.
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From:adam_0oo
Date:July 31st, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, they should explain and educate. That can be good for people who don't know nuffin and need to be educated and for people who believe they are right based on evidence and need to hear the doctor's side of it (or lack thereof).

I have had it in the past where the doctor listens to me describe what is going on with me and singling out one word and giving me medicine for that. You need good bed side manner, both so that the patient doesn't feel dismissed, but so you can actually figure out what is wrong, to both people's satisfaction.
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From:belenen
Date:August 7th, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
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A doctor who listens to their patients and takes them seriously is worthwhile. But for the majority of them, I'd say layperson research is a better idea if you are rigorous about it and not prone to hypochondria. It takes dedication to figure out anything that isn't run-of-the-mill, and most doctors I have ever known or heard of just don't have it. They'd rather give you the easy answer and move on. Sure, they might have the knowledge, but when they refuse to use it it doesn't do any damn good. I don't trust them as far as I can throw them.
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