Tuesday, August 9, 2011

C's Get Degrees

Last month my monthly visitor wormed its way up to one of the top pain experiences of my life. I am talking level 9, screaming and crying, about to go to the ER type pain. After hours of agony I remembered a hand held back massager my mom had given me a few years before, and proceeded to vibrate the darn thing on my stomach for 3 hours straight before the pain let up. It was awful. I usually experience a light level of PTSD when going through severe pain experiences, and I was in a daze for quite a few days after that. Once the whole traumatic ordeal was over I made an appointment with my gynecologist to find out what was wrong with me, for surely something had caused that pain. I normally see a nurse practitioner but decided, since there was obviously some sort of complication going on, to see one of the doctors in the practice. What a mistake! First there was the misunderstanding with the nurse about whether or not my insurance would pay for the visit since I was one whole month early for my annual exam. Lucky for me my husband's company changed plans so after 20 minutes of back and forth and phone calls to the insurance company, it was determined they would pay since this is the first year I am insured with them. That was wildly annoying in and of itself. But certainly not the worst. 

Finally in comes the doctor and when I explain the severity of my cramps to her she told me to take Advil. I laughed and said I eat jelly beans too, and they work about the same. I told her I had Fibromyalgia. Then when I told her I had 2 strokes last year she looked at me like I had just told her I was from the planet Pluto and was going to take her back with me. "You had s-t-r-o-k-e-s? Well I really doubt that!" What the hell did she just say to me? "I am putting "strokes" in "quotes" she says, typing rapidly on the computer as she smirks at me, "because I don't want your insurance company to be alarmed. Those were your words." I am suddenly transported back to 2005, being told I was a loon, a liar, since no blood test showed any abnormalities despite my intense pain and fatigue. She then informs me I will never be a candidate for HRT during menopause if I really did have a stroke, because of the blood clotting issue. I am trying to explain to her it was a blood vessel problem, not a blood clotting problem. A subset of Vasculitis, very rare. She cannot grasp the concept. Suddenly I am wondering if they have started giving out medical degrees through correspondence courses, this lady is so inept.

Exams done, I meet her back in her office. I scoured through my planner, hoping I had not taken out the page my husband had written all the information on when I was first diagnosed in the hospital. Eureka! I had subhemorrhagic strokes. So I tell her this. She says the name over and over again, as if trying to pull some familiarity from it but can't. At this point she is lucky I have that inability-to-problem-solve effectively in high-stress situations because I would have punched her in the nose! So back to the cramps, the reason I am here. Reviewing the results from ultrasound and finding no problems (thank God) she replies "I can't believe Advil does not work for you!" I just ignore this Advil obsession she seems to be on. So what can you do for me? Well, I can write you a prescription for birth-control pills. I don't want to go on birth-control pills, for about 1,000 different reasons. She just shakes her head and tells me since I am now almost 35 I should get a baseline mammogram. Wow. I am blown away. I have officially received the brush off! And am painfully reminded yet again that doctors only see what they want to see. And if they don't know, they dismiss or ignore you. So yeah, you bet your sweet bippy I fired her ass. But it stirred up all those horrible memories of being so sick and desperately needing a medical professional to recognize my symptoms were real, not some invented fragment of my imagination. So my friends, let this serve as a reminder to us all we don't have to settle for second-rate medical care. We may have to look a lot harder for it, and go through lots of trial and error to find them, but the good doctors are out there. And as I have said before, they are usually just hiding under a pile of crappy ones.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah,

    Did you ever find out what was wrong? What an incompetent BITCH! Why would they ever think they know more about our bodies and what we have been through than we do.

    I am betting she went to "medical school" (note the quote) in some third world country. Or, like you said, by correspondence course.

    You should go onto Angie's List or whatever other place does reviews of doctors and give her a scathing testimonial.


  2. I cannot BELIEVE that she didn't believe you about the strokes!! What kind of Dr is she??? How much more insane can you get?? Ignoring the patient's medical history that comes from the patient - the MOST ACCURATE source of information! She needs to have a severe reality check!! Whoever her superior is needs to be told of her attitude! Office manager or partner in the practice...that's not the way you treat your patients! She deserved to be fired!!!! so sorry you had to deal with that!

  3. that reminds me of my arthritis doctor who still to this day does not believe I had a bout of vasculitis because I got lucky and it went away for now. I do believe it will come back some day. I hope you get a better doctor.


  4. As a fellow FM sister and an RN, I totally relate to your anger. I can't remember all the times I have had to "override" doctors orders just to help or even save a patient. My advise to all my patients and friends is...they don't pay you..you pay them. Find another doctor that listens and cares for you". Also, I was taking Rimifemin (at WalMart) that helped me threw my worst menopause times. Fortunately, I was not experiencing bleeding or cramps at that time. I hope you find some comfort soon.