Thank you for all of your wonderful and supportive comments on my previous post. I’m glad, but also sad, to see that I’m not alone. I hope some good can come from sharing these exasperating experiences.
On to more things that dimwitted doctors do that make us feel like we’d rather light ourselves on fire and jump out a window than go to another doctor’s appointment!
Joking about my illness. The only time this is acceptable is immediately after I’ve joked about it myself. Otherwise, it’s just plain awkward and makes you look like a complete idiot. When I moved to Virginia, Medicaid assigned a doctor to me based on his proximity to my home. Medicaid is notorious for assigning people to the shittiest doctors on the planet. I have always had to hunt down a good one and ask Medicaid to change it in their records. Despite my better judgment, I decided to give this guy a chance. How bad could he be? After ten minutes of no eye contact, no understanding, no compassion, and no progress, he asked me whether or not I was employed. I told him no, that my symptoms kept me from doing much outside the home. Boy, was that a mistake! He insinuated that I was not as sick as I thought I was, and he proceeded to argue with me for several minutes. Then, he produced this gem, “Well, maybe you could join the circus, then.” I never went back there again.
Laziness. Getting out of bed and walking around my house takes an enormous amount of effort and takes a lot out of me. Even when I’m feeling my best, I only feel well enough to sit up at the computer for very short periods of time. I spend most of my time in bed or on the couch. That being said, you can imagine how hard it is for me not only to get out of the house to make it to an appointment, but also to have to sit up for extended periods of time just waiting to be seen. I make a significant effort to be presentable and pleasant for you, so I expect you to make a significant effort to listen, respond, and provide treatment, or at least support or suggestions, to me. Glancing at my chart for two seconds (or not at all) and then telling me you can’t help me after ordering no tests, asking few or no questions, and making no suggestions is absolutely, completely deplorable! Doctors overbook, that’s an unfortunate fact. If I’m only going to get five minutes with you, I want those five minutes to be productive. I understand that most of my conditions are incurable and have few, if any, treatment options. If there is absolutely nothing you can do for me, at least be apologetic about it, “I know you went out of your way and took time out of your day to come see me. I’m very sorry that there’s nothing I can do for you. I wish there was something I could do to help.” It’s better than saying nothing, and it shows that you might just give a damn after all.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Rx for Distress, including such subjects as: Lying, bullshitting, or taking me for a ride; being overly negative or overly positive; and nasty nurses, sucky staff, and other nincompoopery.