November 4th, 2011

Bad service at the doctor's office

This happened awhile ago, but a recent entry on here reminded me of it.

I've known my current doctor since I was 15. He works in a small practice with a handful of other doctors, including his wife. He's *very* popular and is usually pretty hard to get in to see, so I usually just see him for managing my chronic health conditions or more serious things, while lesser things I'll see the other doctors or the physicians assistant for if he's booked.

My doctor has an excellent bedside manner. His appointments take awhile because he sits down and actually talks to you and gets to know you. He's always talked openly with me about his own family, and often talks about his wife's MS because of its similarties to my own health problems (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and an anxiety disorder that's largely caused by a heart condition). He's prescribed me medicines in the past that his own wife is on, because he's seen for himself how helpful they can be.
So, one day I make an appointment because I'd been having really bad pains around the area of my gallbladder. I'd been in for the same pain in the past and they hadn't been able to find anything, but I was told to make an appointment if they persisted and they'd try different tests. My doctor wasn't in so I made an appointment to see his wife since the physician's assistant was on maternity leave and everyone else was booked. She looked at my chart, looked at me, and that's when all the trouble started...

I'm on a lot of medications for managing my pain. Medications her husband prescribed me. She said "you know a lot of doctors don't believe that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome exists, right?" Then she proceeds to ask why I think I need so much medication, asks me if I do any yoga or meditation, asks why I'm not working or in school, etc. Then she says "I don't know if you know that I have MS. But I do, it's really hard, but I'm working through it and doing ok. If I can work with my condition, I'm sure you can with yours too." Then she proceeds to write down the name of a book about personality types and says the book really helped her out in life by figuring out the kind of person she was, and recommended I do the same.

She didn't even examine me.
It was the biggest WTF moment I've ever had with a doctor, and I've definitely had a few. I didn't say anything to my own doctor or complain to the office, though I probably should have. I was just too shocked to really say anything, and I didn't want to stir up any trouble. I knew it was a really bad time in her life as her son had just died, and maybe that played a part in it. Other people I know who have seen her have really liked her, so I dunno. But I really don't think it was worth $80 for her to just imply I was lazy and write me a "prescription" for a book.