Thursday, December 4, 2014

Musings {04-12-14}


Seriously. Read this. It's the most comprehensive list of symptoms of endometriosis I have ever seen. You might recognise these symptoms in yourself, your sister, your partner, your daughter. Many women with endometriosis think their symptoms are normal and just put up with them, until they have to go to the emergency room because of the pain (probably thinking they have appendicitis) or they have trouble conceiving.

A moving photo essay documented by the husband of a woman with cancer.


I live here now. Yep. It's pretty great.


I'm on a dystopia/sci-fi kick at the moment (The Handmaid's Tale started it - Where'd You Go, Bernadette was before.) It's happened to me before - I've read and loved 1984, Divided Kingdom, The Trouble with Lichen and The Day of the Triffids. I'm still halfway through Brave New World and I'm thinking that next I will read The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin or Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill. (Also, how had I never read The Giver or The Handmaid's Tale before??? Way overdue.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A plea to doctors everywhere

This is a post I wrote in May of 2013, but for some reason I never actually published it. Reading it now, after finding an amazing gynecologist and, despite moving countries, finding a good GP who just gave me all the scripts I needed right away without challenging, I can still remembering how frustrating and soul-sucking it is to have to stand up for yourself over and over again when you know what is best for your body.

On Friday I had an experience with a doctor that is pretty typical of my experiences with doctors over the last ten years (since I stopped using my dad as my doctor). The exception to these experiences is my amazing GP who is currently on maternity leave until the end of the year - hence why I am seeing other doctors.

So, what happened?

I rocked up, had to wait in the waiting room for 25 minutes, despite the appointment being fairly early in the day, calling up beforehand to see if they were running on time and being told that I wouldn't have to wait. That is 25 minutes that I'll have to make up later at work. My regular (maternity-leave) doctor regularly ran late, but her comprehensive, compassionate care massively outweighed the wait, and I could always call up early and get an estimate of how late she was running and plan accordingly.

Anyway, I went in to the doctor. All I wanted was a repeat of my Valdoxan (anti-depressant) script. I asked the doctor for a repeat, she then looked up the drug because she wasn't familiar with it, and then proceeded to tell me that it wasn't a "real" antidepressant because they only gave repeats of 2 instead of 5 like they do with SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors - another type of antidepressant that is used more commonly). She also said that in a dismissive voice "it is not very common to use this drug". (So clearly it must be wrong and not be working for me???) She then bullied me and tried to tell me that I should go on SSRIs instead of Valdoxan, because she didn't believe that Valdoxan actually worked. She asked me why I didn't want to go on SSRIs and I said that I didn't want to change what I was doing because it was working so well for me, and I had no side effects. She then said, well, SSRIs have no side effects. I told her that was bullshit (not my actual words, but I wanted to say that) and that I have lots of friends on SSRIs that have had bad side effects and could you just give me the script already, thank you (I actually said that last bit word for word). I was actually going to ask her about some other medical things, but she had belittled me enough already for the day and I on the verge of tears, so I took the prescription and left. Then I went and paid my $80, and cried in the car park out of frustration.

Pretty much every doctor's appointment to do with my endometriosis or anxiety/depression in the last ten years has ended up with me crying in the car park. Why? Because the doctors don't listen and they don't respect what you tell them.

My question is - when the treatment that the patient is having is working, why try to bully someone into changing it???? The last time I went to the doctor (a different one again) I had pretty much exactly the same experience where she tried to bully me into taking the Pill, despite the fact that I had had the Mirena removed because of anxiety and depression issues and I'd had many bad experiences with the Pill before. (This doctor also tried to get me to change to SSRIs, but I resisted).

To be honest I've almost completely given up on the medical profession now. They don't seem to be able to provide me with any real solutions to my medical problems, and when one doctor takes an unconventional route that works for me, another one will try to bully me out of it because "that's not the way that we do things". Do they not get taught in medical school that every patient is different and that what works for one patient won't necessarily work for another? I don't fit into their boxes (e.g. I don't tolerate the Pill) and they don't want to give me any other options. I have had a lot less pain since I started limiting my intake of wheat, and I basically decided to do that on my own accord after reading a bunch of scientific literature that supported it. Who knows if it will actually work long term, but it seems like it's working at the moment so I'm going to stick with it.

I know doctors are human and they make mistakes. But seriously, since when is it ok to make me wait half an hour on average for an appointment, then spend five minutes with me, belittle me, tell me that I am wrong and that I should do things your way even though I've already tried that and it didn't work, make me cry and then take my $80 (or $200 depending on the doctor)?

Have you ever been bullied by a doctor?
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