Watch this first.
I haven’t read the article or the blog mentioned in this video, but here’s my take on it just from having watched the video.
It’s NOT just that going to the doctor or getting medication is outrageously expensive these days. At least, that’s not the entire issue FOR ME.
Yes, the high prices are a part of it, for sure. But it’s also that I do not (at least until they’ve proven otherwise) TRUST doctors. I know that’s because, throughout my life, I’ve had shitty care from a lot of doctors.
For instance, when I broke my wrist at the age of 13 and was told “Just wear this splint.” instead of getting it casted. Now, I don’t know if giving a patient a splint is cheaper than a cast or what (if any) role that played in my getting it splinted instead of cast. I DO know that my parents (try as they might) couldn’t get me to wear the damn thing because it was August in Texas, which means that it’s generally hotter than the devil’s butthole after a bowl of 5 alarm chili made with Carolina reaper peppers.
I’ve also been dismissed by enough doctors to be wary of trusting any new doctor I visit right off the bat. When I complained of being cold, not being able to lose weight, of exhaustion after the birth of my son, I got told “Well you’re working 40 hrs a week with a newborn. Just sleep more, eat better and exercise more.” Even when my son was long past the waking me up multiple times in a night phase, I got told to just eat better, lose weight and exercise as if that would cure ALL my problems. It wasn’t until I made a terrible, not even remotely funny joke in a OB/GYN’s office before anybody (including myself) thought to have my thyroid levels tested. And it turned out that my thyroid is basically non-functioning. I SHOULD have recognized the symptoms right away, given that my mom has suffered from the same issue since her late teens. But I didn’t, for whatever reason. Or I just was too exhausted to do anything about it. If I hadn’t made that terrible joke to cover up my nervousness about being seen by a new doctor, then I’d probably still be suffering needlessly.
Not being believed and dismissed outright by doctors HAS made me extremely wary. A doctor (or Nurse practitioner or who the hell ever) has to prove themselves to me many times before I begin to trust them and believe what they’re saying about what the hell is wrong with me. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong, as a person and as a patient, to make doctors so dismissive of me and my particular issues. Like..is it because I’m 40 something woman? Is it because I am overweight? Is it because I’m poor-adjacent or because I don’t dress professionally when I go to the doctor’s office or because I don’t wear makeup or jewelry or I don’t know…ANYTHING I’m doing wrong? Is it because I don’t ask the right questions? I don’t even know. I try to ask the right questions. I wear what I’m comfortable with. I don’t like makeup or jewelry for the most part. I don’t know what else I could be doing or not doing or SHOULD be doing to make them take me more seriously.
I will say, that over the last few years, I have been seriously scarred by the interactions and subsequent cease-and-desist letter I got form Dr. Butthole after I told the truth about my experience with him on social media. I didn’t want anybody else to go through what I’d been through with him or to be treated the way I was treated simply because I refused to sign up for his super special limited edition insurance policy that only worked in his office when I was already paying through the damned nose for insurance through my husband’s work place. I learned from that whole experience that you don’t trust any doctor as far as you can throw them until you’ve been with them for a good long while and they’ve PROVEN that they can be trusted to take care of you the way you SHOULD be taken care of and not just dismiss your issues because of (insert your own reasons here). I knew something was up when he did the blood work for RA and lupus and the results came back as “maybe”. But when I asked what to do or where to go from there, he was like, “Meh. Whatever.” He didn’t care because I refused to sign up for his personal insurance plan. And I’ve NEVER had a doctor in my life (maybe this speaks to the quality of the doctors I usually choose, I don’t know) tell me that I HAD to come back in to talk to them when I needed another refill of my psych meds. Ever. But Dr. Butthole wanted me to come in each and every time (which was every couple of months) to talk to him about my psych meds when really, there was nothing TO talk about it. They weren’t exactly working, but then the insurance I had at the time wouldn’t pay for the good stuff that I KNEW worked for me. So there was nothing for him to do or me, except fork over $200 or so just for walking into the office and talking to him for less than 15 minutes. Even my current doctor is like, “Is that working for you? Great. No problem. Three more months of refills for you mah friend.” I have had my meds tweaked, sure, but I didn’t make a special visit JUST for that. Normally, I just bring it up when I’m already there for something else (usually to have my thyroid levels tested and my meds for that tweaked a bit). And yet Dr. Butthole insisted that having to come in EVERY single time I needed a refill was ‘standard practice’. I’m not a doctor so what the hell do I know about standard practice, right? But if it were standard practice, I think I’d have run up against it more often.
The interaction I had with Dr. Judgeypants (my rheumatologist) certainly didn’t help my opinion of doctors either. She barely listened to my concerns or paid attention to my familial history of osteoarthritis, RA and other autoimmune disorders. She was rude and dismissive in the most professional way possible, until my blood work came back and PROVED I had RA. I mean, she probably would’ve had to do the blood work ANYWAY to see how bad my RA is anyway, but to be so dismissive right from the start bothered me. And still bothers me. I just went down to have my CBC and other whatever blood work she ordered done on Monday, which means the results probably won’t be back for at least another few days. I can’t wait to see what she says then, to be honest. I’m curious to know what the hell is up with my blood that makes it so damn funky. It’s probably a whole HOST of things, I’m sure.
I’m not even sure what the point of all this is, other than it was in my head and I had to get it out because yelling at my TV screen (I was watching Dr. Mike’s video on the YouTube app via my Roku stick that’s plugged into my ancient liquid crystal display TV) wasn’t helping anybody (least of all me).
Doctors, for all the good they are supposed to do, just end up not doing as much good as they could or should do, I guess is my point. I don’t know. I just had to get this scattered collection of thoughts out of my head and into the world, kind of like a very messy, pissed off, screaming baby.