like a herd of turtles (poto_heart) wrote in bad_service,
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Doctor bad_service

NOTE: This gets really long and includes a bit of discussion of organs that might squick some people? It's not much.

The recent post reminded me of my own recent bad service from my old doctor. There were a few incidents, culminating in me having to change doctors so I could get any medical care at all.

First, she prescribed me an albuterol inhaler for my asthma; she had me taking it twice a day, regularly, regardless of whether I had symptoms or not. I have since found out that it's not meant to be taken this way, and that it's why my blood pressure has been high for most of my life; as soon as my new doctor had me use the inhaler properly (only when I was having trouble with my asthma) my blood pressure dropped right down into normal range.

Second, this happened during a checkup, after I had observed a lump on my leg and was a bit worried about it; I wanted to talk to her about it, but she just did the usual checkup then tried to rush out the door. I stopped her:
Me: There's actually something else I wanted you to have a look at?
Her: *turns around but stays in the doorway of the room* yes?
Me: [describes lump, indicates where it is]
Her: Sounds like just a swollen gland. It'll go away in a few months. *leaves*
I expected her to at least look at it or something...? It's still there, BTW. Several years later.


A few years ago, I started having, what felt to me, like very painful indigestion - painful enough that it would make it difficult for me to breath. When I went to my doctor about it, she, first of all, acted like she didn't believe I actually had the symptoms I was describing ('you...have indigestion...and you can't breath?...') and then made a guess (she told me she really wasn't sure) that it was just my asthma getting worse. She gave me a second inhaler, on top of the albuterol one. It didn't immediately help with the pains, but she kept telling me to 'just give it time', and eventually the pains went away, so she declared that it was in fact the new inhaler that did it.

Then, last winter, the pains came back, much worse. They were keeping me up all night, and since I was at school, I went to the school healthcare clinic (free for students, yay!). The nurse I talked to immediately suspected it was gallstones, and was quite sure it was after I told her that my mom had had her gallbladder out when she was younger, as had my grandmother. She even offered to schedule me for an ultrasound at the local hospital and drive me there herself, but since I had an appointment scheduled with my doctor that weekend already I said there was no need. I was, however, with her help, able to avoid foods that would set off attacks, which helped immediately.

I went home for the weekend and went to see my doctor. She said it sounded like acid reflux - even though I had had acid reflux before, which she had treated me for, and I knew what it felt like. Finally I managed to convince her, reluctantly, to schedule me for an ultrasound to check for gallstones, and she scheduled me for some blood tests as well, I'm still not clear what those were for.

Time passes, by now even with strictly avoiding fats and oils I have a constant pain, although it's not as bad as the attacks...but I'm having attacks as well now, if I move too suddenly or bang my right side. Finally, I have my ultrasound; the technician finds a bunch of stones. Somewhere from 7-10. He describes the standard operation with me and says he'll send the results along to my doctor, who will refer me to a surgeon.

A week passes.

Another half a week passes. No call from my doctor. Finally, I get fed up and call her. Did she get the ultrasound results? Oh, yes, she did. The gallstones didn't look like the problem to her.

Wait, what?

Yes, she had seen the results. It looked to her like the numerous gallstones were not the problem. She took them as a sign that I was clearly eating wrong (because despite my obvious genetic predisposition, she thought they were cholesterol-based gallstones caused by an unhealthy diet). I just needed to eat healthier.

I changed doctors that weekend. (By now, every other night I wasn't able to sleep because I would have an attack, regardless of what I ate; and I was in constant pain.) My new doctor looked at the ultrasound results and immediately recommended me to a surgeon, who scheduled me for the operation ASAP, about a week later. After the operation he informed me that my gallbladder had been so swollen, it had started to fuse with the organs around it. D:

Oh, and one more thing; as my new doctor was looking at the ultrasound results, she said, "and she talked to you about your liver, right?"

Wait, what? TAKE TWO!

Turns out the ultrasound also found fatty deposits in my liver, which aren't immediately dangerous but does mean that I have to be careful about taking things like, say, advil. Or else I might have liver failure. And my old doctor had just decided it wasn't worth mentioning. ASHGHGKJRHE

My new doctor is awesome though, and I'm a lot better now that the gallbladder's out, so, happy ending and all that.
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