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Sunday, January 09, 2005

My First 5 Minutes

I saw this doctor, and he was like the third doctor I'd seen, (the first was my gp and didn't know what to do, apparently; the second wanted me to see a shrink), when I was having problems with my gall bladder and IBS. Oh, man, you gotta hear this story. This is unbelievable. Ok, so I'm seeing this doctor and he runs some x-rays of my belly and does complete colonoscopy and endoscopy exams.

So, I go into his office when all the tests are done, hoping that he'll have an answer for me. So, I'm sitting across the desk from him, right? And I'm looking at his windowsill and he's got like all of these sort of McDonald's type toys behind him. Gosh, what were they? I'm trying to remember, but all I can remember is that each of them was totally bizzarre. So, anyway, he looks at me and says, "Sometimes people experience pain when there's nothing wrong."

I looked at him, as any sane person would, incredulously and said, "But, isn't pain a WARNING sign that something IS wrong?" And he said to me, "No, that is a myth. It does not mean that. And you are not really experiencing pain. It's in your head. So, you just have to ignore it."

OMGsh! Can you fucking believe that he said that? A DOCTOR told me that it was a myth that pain is a warning sign. I was so pissed off when I left that I was crying and shaking. I hadn't been able to hold down food for 4 months, had lost about 50 lbs (which was the silver lining on the cloud, if ya know what I mean), was in such bad pain that I walked like an old woman with a hump and it would knock me to my knees when it got really bad. UnFuckingBelievable!!!! I reported that asshole to the medical examiner's board. Needless to say, that bill didn't get paid.

5 months and 7 doctors later I was being wheeled in for emergency surgery on my gallbladder because I finally found a doctor who listened to me. I kept telling them, I think it's my gallbladder that's giving me problems. They ran every test EXCEPT the one that they should have run in the first place. Can you believe that shit? lol Ya gotta laugh or you'd cry. There's a very simple test that you run, FIRST to find out if you have gallbladder problems. But, these doctors thought they knew better or something. They didn't listen or something. I don't know. I told them every symptom and each one was a very classic gallbladder symptom.

By the time I had the surgery, I'd lost 120 lbs. and had gotten to the point where I wasn't even holding down water. Couldn't eat. Couldn't drink. So, yeah, I tend to be a bit distrustful of doctors after that incident. I damn near died, because they didn't listen and they didn't do their jobs. So, as far as I'm concerned only one in ten doctors is any good. I shouldn't have had to go through that. And doctors lie all the time. I'd rather hear a doctor say to me, "Gosh, I'm stumped and I just don't know what to do. Let me do some research and call some of my doctor friends and get back to you at our next appointment." Have you ever heard a doctor say that? What's the big deal about that? Doctors are very prideful and in the Bhuddist philosophy, all sin comes from Pride. And that's true. I have seen it over and over again.

So, now when I go into a doctors office, I tell the receptionist to hold my check and keep it on the desk, because if I'm outta there in 10 minutes, I'm takin' my money with me. Then, I go in to see the doctor and I tell him these are my conditions, if you don't like it let me know and I'll leave:

1. Don't bullshit me and don't lie to me. Be honest and tell it like it is. I'm a big girl and I can deal.

2. Don't ever let me hear the words, "It's all in your head"

3. I better never read the words "hysterical" or "hysteria" written in my charts

4. Don't put me on a bunch of drugs for my symptoms without knowing what the root cause of my disease is. (I've had that happen to me before, too, and it is definately NOT cool)

5. If you're running tests, referring me to someone else, or prescribing a treatment then I want to know everything about it and why you think I need it. I especially want to know the risks involved in taking the meds.

6. Do your homework. If you don't know what's going on, then I expect you to do your job and research it until you find the answer. If you can't do that then tell me right now and I'll take my business elsewhere.

7. Listen to me. Read my lips. Don't interrupt me while I'm talking, because that means that you are not listening.

8. Don't do other stuff while I'm talking to you, because that means that your head is not in the present and you're not focusing. If you're listening to my heart, taking my bp, writing in your notebook then you are not paying attention to what I'm saying. You can't serve two masters at the same time, no one can. And multi-tasking is bullshit. It's just another way of saying, I'm bored with you or too busy for you.

9. If you expect me to be at your office on time, then I expect the same thing. Now, I know that emergencies come up and I'm willing to be patient, but you have to understand that emergencies come up with me to. And I'm not paying any damn fee if I have to cancel my appt at the last minute because I'm having a tough day and I'm puking my guts up or can't get off the couch cuz my head's splitting or my kid calls me from school because she's in the principal's office. Otherwise, we both play that game and I can guarantee that my time is worth alot more than yours. If I have to wait longer than 20 minutes, you will pay me $3 per minute to wait for you. If I wait for you for an hour, then my fee is $200, because that's what my time's worth. (You know how they charge you anywhere from $25-75 if you"miss" your appointment? Or how, if you're 5 minutes late, they'll just reschedule you as soon as you get there. What a bunch of bullshit. Well, if they cancel on me without 24 hours notice, my fee is $200.)

10. If you can't or won't comply with these guidelines then tell me now so that I can find another doctor. I have alot of medical problems and don't want to waste my time with someone who doesn't give a damn about me.

Then they tell me if they can hack it or not. If the answer's no, then I take my money and leave. If the answer is yes, then I soften up and we have a real nice relationship after that. But, for the first 5 minutes in their office, I am a complete bitch. It's for two reasons. It's because I do want them to do those ten things that I listed. But, it's also because I want to see how they react under pressure; if they are humble enough to acknowledge that I'm the one paying their salary and I'm the customer; and if they're willing to work their ass off to help me get better. I don't like to waste my time on charlatan's, crooks, assholes and pill dispensers. Do you?

9 Comments:

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Angel said...

Thanks for linking me to this post. YOU ROCK. Really.

My inner bitch really really wants to lay it on the line with docs but I always cave.

Thanks for the confidence boost!

 
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