I view Dr’s as better than me, in the sense that they are smarter, more motivated, make more money, have more status, look great in white and, in a curious twist, are fairly good looking. (How is that fair, by the way?) On a human level though, which ultimately we all are, I know they aren’t really better than me. In fact, I consider some to actually be inferior to me in terms of basic human decency.
Being a long term consumer of medical services (I know – sounds like fun, right??) I’ve run across all different sorts of Doctors. Some of the more outrageous examples of bad Dr. behavior I have are:
The Dr. who, during our very 1st appointment for chronic lung disease, when I complained that I had recently gained weight and suspected a new medication to be the cause, said to me, and this is a direct quote: “stop putting food in your mouth”. Well geeze, why didn’t I think of that?? For that matter, why haven’t all the people in the world struggling with weight thought of that? Maybe we should start a new weight loss program titled: “Stop Putting Food in Your Mouth”. That would work, right?
The Dr. who 1st diagnosed my asthma, then went on to tell me I wasn’t “trying hard enough” during the breathing test. Isn’t that the definition of asthma? An inability to breathe well? She went on to tell me that she had become a Dr. because she wanted respect, and lawyers don’t get that. I think she would have made a better lawyer.
The on-call, weekend Dr., who walked into my room during an 8 day stay in isolation at a university hospital, and cheerily said “yeah, it looks like this a rare form of TB that will definitely kill you”. Give it to me straight Doc!
The gynecological oncologist (say that 3x quickly) who, after an internal exam (which is not as fun as one would think) had me meet him in his office. I waited, and waited, and waited. When he finally came in he didn’t even acknowledge me. He sat down behind his desk and started writing in charts. I checked in the mirror to make sure I was really there; perhaps I had put on my invisibility cloak that day. He wrote in 3 charts before he even looked up and said “well everything looks good”.
The allergy/asthma Dr. who, instead of taking care of me, went on a rant about how “stupid” people were because they spend their money on bus fare instead of the asthma meds he prescribed. Of course, he continued to “treat”, and prescribe outrageously expensive asthma meds, to people who could barely afford bus fare, let alone expensive medications. At least he was doing well financially. And, he had great lungs.
The Dr who, after my 3rd surgery for sinus polpys in 18 months, casually mentioned that some people with asthma and sinus polyps are actually allergic to aspirin & related products, and once they stopped taking them, stopped getting polyps. Thanks for telling me that Now, Doc. Coincidentally, I have had no polyps since stopping aspirin products.
The Dr who I went to see for stomach issues after 8 weeks of iv antibiotics who, when I told her why I had been given the antibiotics said “well that’s just not true”. Oh, I guess I imagined the 8 days in an isolation room, followed by 8 weeks of iv antibiotics.
The Dr. who Promised a definitive diagnosis for my ongoing infections. When the tests he ordered didn’t turn out the way he anticipated he got hostile with me!
The Doc who told me I did not have a piece of glass in my foot, the pain was merely “phantom pain”. Has anyone ever had “Phantom pain” from a piece of glass in their foot? And Doc, I’m pretty sure that clear shiny thing the dermatologist just pulled out of my heel is Glass.
Some of these Dr’s I continued to see, and they’ve become some of my favorite Doctors. Doctor’s are human and, as we all do at times, say the wrong thing sometimes and just need a second chance. Other Dr’s have just been excellent from the start. For example:
- My pulmonologist who, after treating me for a particularly odd lung infection said “this was a freak thing and will never happen again. You’ll die an old lady, and the Dr’s in the nursing home won’t believe you had this, unless you show them the cat scan”. Five years later, at a regular appointment he said “phew. I was really scared you’d get that infection again.” I’m a huge fan of the sugar coated prognosis, so he’s one of my favorites!
- My primary, who thanks me for bringing her illnesses she learned about but has never seen. She is also the one who always believes me (now) when I tell her the strange symptoms I’ve been having.
- The immune Dr. who ran down the rabbit hole with me, for years, trying to figure out why I get so many infections.
- My endocrinologist. Because he is so stinking good looking, and he likes me! He really, really likes me!
- The gynecologist who, when I told her that my previous gyn told me my symptoms were “in my head” said that’s ridiculous. For the record, my symptoms were actually in my ovaries, not my head. I would think of all Doctor’s, the gyn would know the difference between the ovaries and the head!
- My current gyn/onc, who said I can come see him as much as I need to feel comfortable that I’m cancer free. Disappointingly, he did not agree to move in with me and give me an exam every day, but hey, They Aren’t God, you know?