I find being at work on a grey day, with so many layers of the cloudy sky that the sun doesn’t dare appear, to be quite depressing. I don’t know what quite sparked this mood, whether it was the pathetic fallacy of the weather, my inactive but happy Bones watching weekend, or waking up to a call from the doctor that traumatized me on Friday. What a horrible experience… Immediately afterwards I was simply sad and depressed but after talking with Greggo and my best friend, my sadness dissipated into outrage and fury at the awful doctor. Seeing a new doctor is never really a comfortable experience- especially for the lovely annual exam ( I mean who does’t love the shoving of cold duck bills, right?!) but this one really was the worst interaction I’ve had with a medical professional and I really think she had no idea.
The appointment started as they all do, with medical history. Given that my gastric paresis is not altogether common, I am very used to explaining it, the process by which it was diagnosed and the treatment approaches thereof. Because of this medical history, I’m a bit sensitive to doctors not taking me seriously, believing me etc and I have found that the easiest way to dispel this issue is to be pretty honest about it. I often have found myself saying something like, “well, as a college student I found a few doctors that either didn’t believe me about my symptoms or chose not to take them seriously so I’ve become pretty on top of my medical care and understanding the decisions that were being made about my treatment.” Usually, doctors get it right away (I mean, they’re smart people!) and I get the care I need. In fact, I recently saw a new gastrointerologist and after my normal, and kind, disclaimer, he apologized for the other doctors, told me he knew I wouldn’t fake something so horrible, and told me how happy he was that I had 1. found my surgeon and the ability to once again consume solid food and 2. that I had found him as my gastro. All in all a swell guy.
ANYways, end of huge sidenote, after explaining my history with my chronic illness the new doctor asked the cause, and when I replied “idopathic” the correct medical term for- no one has a fucking clue-, she looked extremely doubtful. Warning sign one. I felt insecure from her look and explained that I knew that some eating disorder patients developed this but that was something that I had never struggled with and if I had, I would have been happy to disclose it during the 2 year period when I couldn’t really eat. Her reply? “well, you COULD eat.”
“um, well liquids, ha.” (liquids alone, does not a happy eater make, believe me)
“right, you could eat.”
Ok, gee thanks for your compassion and warning sign number 2. She proceeds to tell me that sometimes they can see this in severe diabetes cases, was I ever tested? “yes.” “are you sure?” “um, yes.” Lady, do I need to tell you again about my medical history, and how awful it was for me to have doctors not believe/take me seriously. They fucking tested me for diabetes, I promise. *sigh* She then looks at my stomach, and says, well weight can be an indicator of diabetes so I’m going to test you again.
Ok, so admittedly, I have gained weight. And this winter I have been more inactive than I would have liked and have been honestly looking into getting a gym membership, but want to make sure I am truely dedicated before spending money on it in our tight budget. However, when I conveyed my weight concerns to my swell gastro guy, he told me, “hey, look. you were miserable when you couldn’t eat. you’re now engaged and happy. enjoy your life; you’re fine.” His niceness almost brought tears to my eyes- her rudeness almost did the same.
Ok, so I’m a bit anxious at this point and feeling quite sensitive. Then we get to family history. I’ve also answered questions about my parents’ cancers a bunch of times and usually people are kind and understanding. But, when I was explaining that my lovely, dear and beautiful mother had colon cancer (that was supposed to kill her within a week), went into full remission, and then 4 years later had ovarian cancer (which was supposed to kill her within a week) and then lived 2 full more years before passing away at the very young age of 50- my evil bitchfaced doctor replied, um are you sure? thats quiet uncommon. Ha. Yes, yes, bitchface I’m sure.
And then I started to cry. How embarrassing. I was mortified- I’m past this stage in my grief but the preceding 3 minutes spent in her company had ruined any resolve I had, and I felt vulnerable, and cried. After quickly recovering, she asked and I explained that 4 months after my mom died, my dad had prostate cancer and had surgery and is now fine. Given the timeline, I expected… well whatever. She doesn’t owe me any sympathy.. but I was surprised by her again distrust, question the years this all happened and then asked if I had sisters, and if my mom had any genetic testing. Yes, two older sisters and I don’t know about genetic tests, so I doubt it.
She then replied, “Your mother had 3 daughters and 2 types of cancer and didn’t get genetic testing?!” complete with her look of judgement. Umm, I’m sorry, did you just victim blame my late mother right after I cried about her early passing?! Fuck. you.
Ugh, there was more… there was the are you sure you don’t need STI testing…you may be faithful but he might not be, and the well, the HPV vaccine might be good because you may not end up marrying you fiancé bits, further comments about my weight… and more too. I’m just so horrified by how it went. I left, got in my car and cried a little more on the way home. Fun stuff.
I got over my sadness very quickly after relaying the events to Greg and Laura. Turns out, I was pissed off about it. When she woke me with a call at 7 am because “that was a time convenient for everyone” (read: her) she told me my blood test had revealed that, shockhorror, I didn’t have diabetes and while my good cholesterol was exactly as it should be she was slightly concerned about my slightly elevated bad cholesterol and instantly, would you like to try some medications about it. Um no. no no no no no. I get it, I need to work out, get healthier, maybe adjust my diet a bit. But please don’t rush to drugs just because it is elevated. Bitch. Face.
Yeah, I won’t be seeing her again. And I will be working on my sedentary nature, but not because of that bitchface doctor thinks I’m disgusting.