The Bad Doctor Blues

20 Oct

Did you ever meet a doctor who was a real A-hole? I mean, not just on Gray’s Anatomy or something, but real life? I thought so. As my brilliant dermatologist-to-the-stars says, “You know what they call the person who graduates last in medical school? Doctor.” This week I met one such so-called physician.

She came to me highly rated, from a trusted source. And she’s gotten some award from something. I was really hoping for a general doctor who could pull things together for me and find why so many separate things, mostly nerve problems, haven’t been working quite right in the past two years. But I must say, the doctor had an appointment in less than a week from when I called her. That is not SO often the case when you venture into Top Doc land. I get to her cramped office and spend half an hour filling out five pages of forms, and finally I am ushered into Dr. L’s office.

For the next fifteen, she curtly asks me questions, most of which were in the forms I had already filled out—what meds do I take, do my siblings have diseases, blah blah blah. As I have given out this information 10 million times already I try to recite it quickly, from memory. Apparently, I am looking into space, not into her unfriendly face, because she says, “Why aren’t you looking at me while you’re answering me?”

I say, slightly flustered, “Because this is upsetting and I don’t want to get upset and I want to make sure I remember everything.”

“Hmm,” she says. I tell her about one of my main problems, and even though she’s never heard of it before, she says, “Well, I can’t do anything about THAT.” I tell her about other things that I and other doctors have noted—awkward gait, vertigo, falling, arthritis that makes it painful to get up and down stairs. But also that I walk 10,000 steps a day, try to be active, try every health improvement modality I can. She says “Well, the medicine you’re on is making you gain weight. Anybody would have an awkward gait if they gained weight.” (I’m not sure that’s true, but thanks a lot, Dr. Fatter-than-I-am). I ask about the vertigo and she says, “I could send you to ten doctors and they’d all tell you you have vertigo. Some people have vertigo. It’s a disconnect with the vestibular system.” Yeah, thanks, l know it’s a disconnect with the vestibular system, lady, I didn’t hop out of the pea patch yesterday. But WHY is it happening, is it dangerous, and how do I get rid of it because it sucks is really the issue, not “some people have it.” This isn’t freaking Reddit’s “TIL.” This isn’t a PBS special. It’s my LIFE.

And then, showing she hasn’t been listening to a freaking thing I’m talking about, she starts giving me a lecture on exercise and how my body has probably gotten used to the 10,000 steps I walk every day (which is five miles and I’m sorry, that’s a hell of a lot more exercise than most people get). She looks at me as if I’m a complete liar—which is the way she’s been looking at me from the beginning anyway—until I show her my pedometer and how it showed more than 200,000 steps for the month, and this was on the 17th or so. But she just waved her hand and said I should get a treadmill, and make it go on an incline. I think, wow, you are an idiot. I just told you that it HURTS to walk on an incline because I have $#@^^ osteoarthritis. And if my body is used to walking, how is walking on a treadmill such a big change? It’s still freaking WALKING. And she says there’s nothing she can do to connect my problems, it’s all because, as she so tactfully said, I’m depressed and overweight. So basically to her, I’m completely lacking in credibility so she can give me the most generic, useless information you could give to practically everyone in These United States—try losing a few pounds. Ironically, this nasty witch has definitely made me more determined to do so—I actually joined weight watchers this week and actually MEASURED OUT the amount of nutella I was ingesting. But I haven’t been to a single other doctor who has looked at the collection of symptoms I have and has been so cavalier about them. It’s hard to say what is wrong, but I don’t think walking inside instead of outside is gong to be a lifechanger. Oh, and this harpy set me back $850 for her so called services. I just want to thank all the 13-year-olds in my junior high who used to insult me for free. That was SUCH a savings. I walked out of there feeling not only as if I were monstrously obese but as if I had been totally dismissed, ignored, treated like a Munchhausen Syndrome patient and utter faker, and with little information that was actually good for me—does she really know that it’s a good idea for people with arthritic knees to go uphill? Why is she telling me to change my medications that have been carefully prescribed by my other doctor and then say, “Don’t trust the advice of someone who isn’t your doctor.” It didn’t look as if she knew a damn thing about exercise anyway, with that fat-ass body of hers, but I not only wish I could get my money back but that I could take one of those mythical pills that could suck the memory of meeting her right out of my consciousness. Especially the part where I wrote the freaking check.

Although I think I might join a gym, just to be on the safe side.

Writing Prompt: Ever deal with an obnoxious doctor???? What happened?

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8 Responses to “The Bad Doctor Blues”

  1. H :) October 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    UGH. I am so sorry. I’ve never dealt with an obnoxious doctor, although the incompetent nurses at health services in undergrad COMPLETELY messed me up by cavalierly telling me that the weird rash on my mouth was oral herpes even though the multiple swab tests and blood tests that they made me do over the course of a few months kept coming back negative. They put me on Valtrex and told me to stay on it even though it wasn’t helping. In the meantime I was having hardcore anxiety and shame over this, as I’d kissed about four people in my life and was pretty convinced that this meant I could never kiss anybody again.

    Then I went to my doctor when I was home over Christmas. He told me it was some kind of allergic reaction, gave me some cream, and the rash disappeared and never came back.

    • alexandrahh13 October 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Well, if the tests came back negative repeatedly it’s OBVIOUSLY oral herpes! What a waste. And of course they don’t consider the emotional ramifications of what they’re doing. I am so sorry!

  2. jenne October 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I’ve dealt with so many nasty-ass doctors in my life. Of course when you are morbidly obese like me you will encounter the usual share of ‘everything that is wrong with you including your sinus infections will go away if you lose weight’– the last GP who tried that on me, I went away, went on South Beach (she swore South Beach and weight watchers were exactly the same argh) for 3 months, lost 15 pounds, came back and said, “Ma’am, I lost 15 pounds and I still have the sinus infection.” (Also the bad knee, that comes from having overpronation and walking on a broken foot for 3 months when I was younger.)

    When I was pregnant, I ended up losing weight and the doctor still wasn’t satisfied– I tried to transfer to a midwife but she didn’t get around to reading my chart for over a month and then said she wasn’t allowed to deliver me because my son’s mild hydronephrosis required delivery in a Level III hospital. After I delivered I was 50 pounds lighter than before I tested positive for pregnancy.

    The Psychiatrists… the one who decided I was bipolar because I told him someone told me to ask about it, but didn’t even know the meds he put me on required a baseline liver function test, and told me I had anger problems when he wouldn’t give me a straight answer about the medication dosages. Then the next one prescribed something that actually worked, but insisted on trying me on anti-ADHD meds because I had trouble remembering the every-two-month appts he insisted on; then read me a long lecture about how people in my hobby were likely to steal them. I told him that I worked at a college and the meds were much more in danger there, as students talked openly about illicit trade in Ritalin. I drive, now, 3 hours to keep going back to the one with a clue.

    My last GYN disapproved of my living arrangements and didn’t want to give me certain kinds of contraception because of it. I still have to make an appointment with a new one (I got a referral from a lesbian couple.)

    And yet I have had some really good doctors too, luck of the draw. The best GYN I ever had was someone I randomly picked off a list and he was wonderful. Our little fat russian doctor, also wonderful.

    As a general rule, dieting (and SSRIs) is the chiropracty of standard medicine: bad practicioners will claim it will fix anything. Doctors like that– walk out and don’t come back.

    I wonder if, in the case of the bad doctor, you could dispute payment and report her to the Better Business Bureau? A mechanic who charged you $850 to say there’s nothing he could do for your car, you’d dispute the charge and call the BBB.

    • alexandrahh13 October 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Jen, that is brutal! The part that really galls me is the doctor who won’t do what you medically need because he/she doesn’t approve of your living arrangements. Why is that the doctor’s business? They get to live their adult lives and you get to live yours, right?

  3. Rita Reisman October 21, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Years ago, my mother had a major stroke while in the hospital. I asked the nurse if I could speak to the doctor, and she had me wait in a small room. Over an hour later, the doctor comes in, and I tell him who my mother is. His reaction was, “Oh, she had a good stroke.” I was so upset by that, I couldn’t speak and forgot everything I wanted to ask him, including her chances of recovery. Who ever heard of a “good” stroke? I’m not sure what else he said, but it was a complete waste of time waiting for him and then listening to him.

  4. fransiweinstein October 21, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Don’t get me started on doctors. I’ve had two in my life that I liked and trusted.

    • alexandrahh13 October 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      I’ve had some real angels–and I’m going to put up a list soon of good ones–but I’m so sorry, Fransi.

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