When I lived in Central Pennsylvania, I had the best doctor. He would listen to everything I had to say, would take me seriously, would make me feel like I mattered. He wouldn’t overindulge me; if I was being crazy, he’d tell me. He seemed like he truly cared.
Since moving to Jersey, though, I’ve been to several different doctors. All of them have been…. less than stellar to put it nicely.
We need doctors. I cannot self-diagnose and medicate myself, no matter how much I would like to. We are forced to trust them, to put our lives in their hands…. and it’s crushing when they brush you off and fail to listen.
I know my body better than anyone else does. I live with it every moment of every day. I know that the way I’m feeling is not normal because I didn’t feel like this before receiving the Depo Shot in 2009. I can identify the changes; my husband can identify the changes; my close friends can identify the changes.
I went to a doctor in early 2010 for these issues, and he brushed me off. One of the symptoms of whatever I have is difficulty losing weight. That was the first thing I mentioned to him. He told me I just needed to lower my deficit and have patience. When I started to mention the other symptoms (which include changes in my menstrual cycle, changes in my skin, loss of interest in sex, increased anxiety/depression, mood swings, water retention/crazy thirst, and memory loss/difficulty staying on track to name a few), he just told me they were nothing to worry about.
I have severe anxiety, so it’s hard for me to ask or push for things. So, I just felt like maybe he was right and let it go.
I spent the next two and a half years trying everything I could to lose weight and get over my symptoms. I’ve been to therapy and tried medication. I strictly counted calories and ate different amounts to see what worked. I’ve tried low-carb, low-fat, weight-watchers (well, I used the free calculators I found online. I never paid for it), everything. Nothing I did helped with any of my symptoms. The mental issues, the anxiety especially, have actually worsened.
I finally decided that enough was enough and made an appointment with a new doctor. The initial appointment wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t great. I wrote about it here if you’re interested.
So, I had normal blood panels done along with thyroid tests. I webMDed myself into believing my issues were thyroid related, so I was unprepared for my results today.
Everything came back normal, except my bad cholesterol is a tad high, and my good cholesterol is moderately low. That means it’s not my thyroid.
I don’t even know where to start with the appointment today. It was made of all sorts of fail, and I just don’t know how to explain it. The nurse was complaining the whole time about how busy they were (which, I made this appointment two weeks ago. I don’t care if you overbooked, don’t complain to me about it.). She asked me what I was there for, printed my results, and left me to wait for the doctor.
This doctor has no bedside manners. I noticed this at my last appointment as well. She was short with me both times and didn’t go out of her way to talk to me if she didn’t have to.
She finally came in the room, asked me what I was there for (Ugh, I hate how they do this. Seriously, I just told the nurse. She noted it in my chart. Look at that before coming in the room, please.) I told her I was there for my test results and that the nurse had printed them for her.
She hands me the stack of papers she was holding and said, ‘Yeah, I know. Here they are.’ Why ask me why I’m there if you already know? She then went over them with me. She told me I had to add a half hour of cardio every day to lower my cholesterol. That means she expects me to do over an hour and a half of hard cardio every day. Way to look at my history, doctor.
She told me my thyroid was fine, and tried to leave the room. I stopped her to ask about what I should do next. Just because my thyroid tests came back negative doesn’t mean that my symptoms went away. She pulled up my chart on the computer and read back the symptoms I told her last time. All she noted was anxiety and trouble losing weight, none of the other things. I had gone in with a list of symptoms that covered a piece of notebook paper front and back.
She told me that I needed to see a therapist or something for my anxiety and depression, which I was aware of already, and that I had to workout harder and eat less to lose weight. She said that all of my issues were in my head.
I tried to point out more of my symptoms to her. She said, ‘I tested your thyroid like you asked, I don’t know what else you want.’
I responded with, ‘I never thought it was my thyroid. I’ve thought this is a progesterone deficiency since the start. You’re the one that decided to run the thyroid test.’
She went on a rant about how they test the thyroid for anyone having weight loss issues. She said that I don’t have a progesterone deficiency because I have my period more than once every three months.
So, I asked what we should do now because I still have all of these symptoms. I was crying at this point. Words cannot describe my frustration level.
She just looked at me and said, ‘if that’s everything, have a good day.’ Then she walked out of the room before I could answer.
I just don’t even know where to start complaining about this or explaining how it made me feel.
It’s so hard to know that something is wrong and have no one want to listen. It’s hard to have no one take your concerns seriously.
I just feel like I don’t matter, like I’m less of a person. All I want is to be heard and taken seriously. Just because I’m not a doctor doesn’t mean that I’m not educated and intelligent. Just because I didn’t spend all that time and money to go through medical school doesn’t mean I’m not capable of doing so. Just because one test (That I didn’t ask for) came back negative doesn’t mean that I’m making everything up.
I left there crying, and am currently waiting for the office manager to call me back. I’m definitely complaining about this doctor’s behavior. It was way out of line. (….and I’m amazed at how much my anger has overruled my anxiety. Normal me would never be able to call and complain about something!)
I am a human being, and I deserve to be respected. I deserve to be heard. I deserve to be taken seriously.
I just don’t understand why she wouldn’t order the tests I want. Even if she doesn’t think I need them, doesn’t the office/lab make money? Don’t doctors order unneeded tests all the time? I don’t understand why she couldn’t order them just to appease me.
What am I going to do now? I thought about giving up, but that just made me more upset. So, I’m going to keep trying to get answers. I read stories all the time about people who were misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Doctors like this aren’t an anomaly. From what I’ve heard, it’s actually pretty common.
I just wish I could stand up for myself a bit more. Maybe I would have been able to get the right tests back in 2010 or two weeks ago. Maybe doctors wouldn’t treat me like this. I know I seem weak to them, so they brush me to the side.
I’m not giving up, though.
I made an appointment with a new doctor. It’s on Monday evening, and Daniel said he’d try to go with me. I’m going to take my list of symptoms. I’m going to ask directly for the tests I think I need, but be open to what he has to say. I’m going to stand up for myself, or, ya know, let Daniel stand up for me.
If he doesn’t listen, I’m going to try another doctor. I pulled up the list of doctors that accept my insurance in our area, sorted them by distance, and started at the top. I’ll just keep going down the list until I’m treated like a human, until I’m not brushed to the side.
If all that fails, I found a site where you can order saliva testing online. It’s expensive, and I’ll have to take the results to a doctor for treatment anyway. So, it’s going to be my last resort but at least it’s there.
Don’t worry, guys. I’m also going to find a new psychiatrist. I obviously need anxiety medication. I’ve been dealing with them since I was really young. They’re just worse lately. So, I know they won’t go away completely without specialized care. All this stress cannot be good for me, and I know I need to get it under control.
I’d just like to tell all of the people in the medical profession that it is NOT ok to treat people like this. It is not ok to brush them aside because you’re busy. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone didn’t want to take five minutes to listen to you because they’re busy? How would you feel if you were left undiagnosed because someone didn’t want to listen to your concerns?
You were the one that went to school for whatever medical job you have. You made the decision to get a job helping people. So, do your job and stop treating people like they don’t matter.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I made it all the way through this without swearing. I’m pretty proud of this.