Cure the disease and kill the patient – What the What?

1 Aug

It took me a really long time to actually listen and know my body. It took even a longer time to actually trust someone else with it. Maybe its because my pediatrician was old and odd that I had an aversion to any and all doctors. Don’t get me wrong – I loved that little office with Agnes at the front desk (with her perfect hair, pencil skirts and bright white friendly smile) and the Dum Dums Bowl right at eye level of a 5 year old kid but my Doctor was a bit odd. Maybe its because he once picked up my cousin’s chart and told me I lost alot of weight. I was like “what you talking about” then he realized I was not my cousin.

My child dentist was also a little odd. A little too flaky or something. He did have AWESOME toys and Tron in his waiting room. Big ups for that Dr. Riece.

Anyway, Most people see their doctor when they are sick or for their annual, if they go (don’t get me started on Men and their lack of doctors visits) its a 10 minute conversation and then you are scooted out the door. I wanted more. I wanted more than someone to take a look at my symptoms and treat based on eliminating them. I wanted someone that could look at my lifestyle, see a bigger pictures, get to know me.

There are tons of websites with “what to ask your doctor if…” articles. Tons of websites with “Finding a new doctor to fit you” or “Top ten questions to ask when”… I really didn’t need help with what to ask, I needed help in the confidence to ask.

It was around 2006/2007 that I decided it was time to be my own advocate. Put myself first, not just see the doctor as a dispensary but as a wealth of knowledge that I had access to. I found a great doctor in Burlington. I am sure she probably dreaded seeing me because I would have a two page list of this is what is going on, this is what I am eating, this is what I feel etc… But it worked. She would sit with me, discuss options and the options were not just to eliminate the symptoms but to fix the problem all together so I would not have symptoms in the first place.

My doctors visits became basically going out with a good friend and chatting about everything. We discussed EVERYTHING. nothing was too odd to discuss. She once told me that she had to go to a Sex Shop because she didn’t know what one of her first patients was talking about…. That’s dedication right there.

I also had a UTI or what I thought was a UTI that I could not shake.  She ran the regular tests, nothing was showing up that indicated it was a UTI. She said that I could possibly be having a reaction to certain foods, she also said that maybe I should see an Urologist. At that point I was ready to do anything to get this pain to go away. She suggested that I try the diet and call the Urologist and to play it by ear and give it a week. So I changed my diet and I went to the Urologist. The Urologist said we should run these tests and it would take a half day to do and that we had to inflate and deflate my bladder and all this stuff… I told the Urologist that I wanted to give the new diet a few days to see if things changed. The Urologist was firmly against having me try that  and wanted to have me in right away. Low and Behold – 8 days past, Pain was GONE. It was my diet.  My doctor suggested it could be Interstitial Cystitis which some people cured by changing their diet. She rocked that. I mean not only did she think it was something that is only now becoming popular and more familiar to doctors but she helped me avoid a painful test and medical bills that I cannot even tell you what they would have cost, but they probably would be alot.

Sadly she left the practice and joined forces with a doctor that I originally saw when I moved to VT… who I did not gel with.  Making me wait 30 minutes in a room does not sit well with me nor does telling me that even though my birth control pills literally made me crazy (Like The Shining CRAZY) that I should stay on that exact dose and brand. No thank you. And as a side note, Birth Control and I do not mesh. I will share my Nuva Ring Story tomorrow. Its quiet funny.

But I learned something with Tina. If I put in the time I would get what I wanted out of the visit. Like all things in life. Put effort in and you get something back. Not all doctors are like this, not all will welcome a two page run down of what the hell you did in the last two weeks while you felt shitty. But some will.

Getting to that point with your physician I think is key. You need to be able to talk to them as you would your mom, best friend or partner. I used to think that maybe if I said this or that, that my doctor would think I was odd or judge me. I also was the person that would not share all my information with them. How could I have ever thought I would get a straight answer if I couldn’t even be honest on a damn questionnaire. I forgot, I am paying them… Fuck them if they want to judge me. And if I felt that way, I would make sure that the next time I went back (if I went back to them) that I would have a 4 page fucking note or I would kindly forget to shave a certain area, so welcome to the jungle. 🙂 I kid.
Many women fear, no thats not the word, but avoid the doctor. Women are nortious for having an incredible pain tolerance – maybe because we push a water melon out of a small hole or maybe because we still manage to get our butts home after a C-Section and push through it so our newborns have a great first few days – but we do. Women also have different symptoms from men and women also have a body that can do weird things depending on the time of the month. So our symptoms may not always send us running the the doctors.

Case and point – the week I found out I was pregnant, I had a slight pressure, twinge, ache if you will on my lower right hip bone area. I thought it was nothing, Maybe I worked out too hard, maybe my jeans were too tight (its a thing, google it), maybe it was a pregnancy symptom. I never said anything. Then when I started to have the spotting and then bleeding, It occurred to me that maybe that pain was connected to the spotting. BINGO – it was.  Was it the type of pain that websites/baby books described as an ectopic pregnancy, no but it was a pain.

The fact of the matter is  – many women don’t always see the point in being alarmed when something doesn’t feel just right. Many women don’t have a comfortable relationship with a doctor where they feel safe and or welcome. That needs to change.  We shouldn’t have to live with an ache or a pain or a whatever during whatever time of the month just because we think its normal. We should be able to go in and speak to someone and know that they look at the bigger picture. They see past just what I am saying to them and notice if my skin looks dull or my finger nails are ragged. We, doctors and patients, need to be a team. We also shouldnt be afraid to go to the doctors because its going to cost too much. I know that’s not easy with the way things are in the healthcare system today – and I wont get on that soap box because Apparently my husband gets upset when I talk politics – but something needs to change. We need to be more open and more honest with ourselves and with our physicians.

Here is a mini soapbox though – http://www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/

Make sure you take advantage of the new programs.

Whats the point of this post? The point is, dont be afraid to know yourself, dont be afraid to push when you are not getting the answers you want and dont be afraid to say no if you are not comfortable with a treatment. This is your body, its your temple. Its the only thing that is with you for your entire life. Treat it well.

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