Doctors Practicing

I am often reminded of the reason my father may have not liked doctors. I have been to more than my fair share of healthcare professionals. Not only for me but for those I love. It seems that healthcare is quite broken. But beyond that—and maybe as a result—doctors seem to be dropping the ball more often.

For instance, I have been given the wrong tests and had to assert that I was given the test for blood Rh versus for rheumatoid factor. I have been accused of having an eating disorder because I am “well-nourished but skinny”? (How the hell does that happen?) I have been told that a pain in my gut was gastric distress, ajada or more commonly “gas” when it was endometriosis.

As if this is not disconcerting enough yesterday my blood pressure was taken by a medical assistant—seemingly a trained professional—with my arm about five inches higher than my heart; so high in fact that my arm went numb. When I questioned the MA about the resulting blood pressure reading she responded “The machine worked really hard to get it so it must be right. The doctor may take it again.” But the doctor did not take it again. And now I have this 139 systolic BP record on my chart for eternity.

My point is that doctors are still practicing. Maybe you have heard the old joke of how a doctor’s office is called a practice. Or maybe you heard the one about God wearing a white lab coat in heaven—because he likes to play doctor every now and then. You may have come across a medical error in your dealings with one or more healthcare providers, be it doctor, physician’s assistant, or medical assistant. Maybe the providers are addled, maybe they are the ilk of their graduating class, or maybe they have less than an affinity for critical thought and sleuthing. Maybe they are simply apathetic.

Whatever the case may be, I wanted to convey how important it is to monitor your own health. Learn about what is going on with your body. Keep your own copy of medical records. Research the Internet (at scholarly websites) about medications that you have been prescribed. The Internet will let you look up all manner of things. So use its superpower for good.

Often doctors treat a symptom instead of the cause of a malady. Remember insurance is only supposed to keep you alive, not necessarily healthy. It is up to you to learn about the doctor, their education, their disposition and their competency.

I write this in hopes that you will never experience a loved one getting medication that causes them to behave like they have had a stroke which changed their life forever. A medication that was not discontinued even after the patient told the MA “I don’t feel right. I feel foggy in the head.” The MA responded by giving four more weeks of the drug to the patient which put him in the ER for a suspected stroke. (Yes that really happened.)

My wish for you is to learn as much as you can and question what does not make sense. Get that second opinion, or third, or even fourth. Understand that what is going on may be a symptom instead of the cause and do your best to take care of yourself and the ones you love.


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