Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm going to try this......

I'm not sure how to do this truly, but I am going to try and post a link on one of the blogs I follow regularly.

I don't always post comments, but hopefully the blog writers I do follow know I do care about what they have to say, even when I'm silent.

I felt compelled to post this since I have a lot to say on the subject and his current experience in delving into a very frustrating and serious medical issue.  Most of my readers don't know me from personal experience, but they do know me from what I've written here.  Any that do know me from personal experience can perhaps understand what I'm about to write about.

I was in the military for nearly 10 years.  I worked in the medical portion as a Hospital Corpsman.  I have to state my appreciation for that profession as the Navy, from my personal experience with other branches, has the best trained enlisted personnel in their medical ranks.  I've also had the pleasure to work with some fantastic doctors, and the misfortune to work with a few, who's abilities I would rank as less than dubious at best.

In my experience while working in the military, I've trained other medical personnel, as well as running clinics, training and evaluating others who wished to branch into medicine etc.  I always tried to encourage those I trained to look at our patients first as people, know them, even as far as knowing what shift they worked when possible.  In that way, you could best serve to cater to special medical needs.  I was very well acquainted with my patients, and tried to always be mindful of looking at histories as well as their current illnesses.  Whenever faced with something new that I'd never dealt with before, I always did extensive research to know what it is my patient was likely to be facing.  I took nothing at face value, and even when working on a busy ward, I found the time to go to the medical library and read up on whatever it was I wanted/needed to know.

I can not say the same for some of the doctors I worked with.  As I previously stated, I worked with some doctors who were just amazing.  Always caring and always looking to better the care they gave to our patients, and I am eternally grateful for all that I was able to share and learn from them.  After all, no matter how much training/education/experience you have you can never know everything there is to know about medicine or patient care.  There are new diseases that are discovered every single day, and the ones that have been around for what seems an eternity are so many, there's no way to know them all.  The doctors who left something to be desired were the ones I worked with who's attitude seemed to be that of arrogance.  They thought because they could tag an M.D. after their name, that gave them license to dismiss others as ignorant, liars etc.  In short, they thought they "knew it all", and quite frankly I could dance circles around them since they simply had an air of not caring about them.

These are the kind of doctors that, when you do have an odd, special or out of the ordinary problem give you that look.  You all know what I'm talking about.  I'm sure you've run into it at some point in your lives, and I hope you took the opportunity to leave and find a doctor who did care.  It's that look that says, you're full of crap, you have no idea what you're talking about, you're crazy and you're lying to me.  It's that look that says, you just wanna "milk" some medical issue to try and get some time off, or something along those lines.

I have heard some of these same doctors literally speak the following words to their peers "You can't listen to what a patient says because they'll just lie to you."  Quite frankly, when I heard this uttered from the lips of one of the doctors I worked with, I was highly offended.  It was not aimed at me, but I took the opportunity to tell that doctor that his bedside manner sucked, he was a horrible doctor, and that if he had such a low regard for medicine and the patients we treated, I was certain that he could find a job where he would never have to be around another living person.  I can't be certain since I turned on my heel and walked away directly after, and stormed off to cool down, but I could swear the other doctor smirked and snickered at that........hopefully in agreement with what I'd said.  I took my role in helping people become and stay healthy very seriously, and it was an atrocity to me to think that a doctor I worked with could actually work against my personal goals of having healthy, satisfied, well cared for patients.

This was just months prior to my beginning to have serious medical issues myself, and after years of attending "fertility clinic" to try and find out what was wrong with me, so that I could look forward to having a child of my own.  The doctors I worked with there, viewed me as a "normal healthy woman" that simply had issues with getting and staying pregnant.  I won't say that they disregarded the underlying issues, since they were very caring, and listened to me.  It wasn't until later, when I did begin having issues that the underlying causes were actually searched for, and that was also years in coming to light.

During that time, I began to gain weight for no apparent reason.  I was very active, swam every day, ran, lifted weights etc, and this was a noticeable weight gain.  I began having very serious migraines, abdominal pains that literally brought me to my knees.  I began to have issues with pressures in the atmosphere, with pain and discomfort in my hands and feet, hips that would crack and "get stuck" at times, and just general aches and pains in joints.  I was also becoming depressed because of being treated like a second class citizen with some of the very same doctors I'd worked with for extended periods of time.  I had one doctor tell me, "There is no way that you can be eating what you say you're eating and still weigh what you do."  This after I'd gone to one of them in desperation for help since I was fighting this mysterious weight gain so fiercely that I'd begun to eat 2 cups of rice a day and once a week adding a can of campbells's soup to it to add some much needed nutrition.

Anyone who has never been in the military can not fully understand what it means to be gaining weight, or over weight while in the military.  You are regarded as a slacker, useless, stupid, or somehow less than competent at your job.  Since I was in charge of the area that I worked in, this was not a concept that held weight, regardless of how common it was, and was found to be inaccurate after I was in for surgery and out of the clinic for 30 days to heal.  I had written extensive instructions for every single thing we did every day, and was still consulted at my home during my healing process, and even had to come in to straighten things out while on medical leave.  Yet, all of a sudden, I was "stupid".  It's not something someone says to you, it's how they treat you.

Once diagnosed, I ended up losing 30 pounds in a month, which was a terrifying loss, and all of a sudden I was "smart" again.  A doctor I'd worked with for years overheard an interaction between me and some patients one day, and approached me to say, "I've never realized what a great Corpsman you really are."  I knew I was good at my job, LOL so it wasn't news to me.  It was just further evidence that ignorance prevails when people overlook someone simply due to outside factors.  My peers and subordinates knew my worth, and so did I, so quite frankly, I didn't need the outside confirmation.

During that time I was treated as if I were crazy, that one symptom and another just simply made no sense.  My vision was completely blacking out due to sudden onsets of my migraines, I was shrinking, and a spinal xray showed that my scoliosis was advancing.....which according to doctors I worked with was impossible in adulthood.  Then I tried to encourage the doctors to look at my diagnosis as a big picture, that one thing had very much to do with another.  The onset of it all was too closely related and manifesting in such a matter of time to be anything but one whole rather than a bunch of tiny pieces.  I was told then that they could not say that PCOD was the reason for my weight gain, migraines etc.  Yet 20 years later, they now know that it is a system wide endocrine disorder, and that I need metformin/glucophage to properly process food or it goes straight to the fat cells because though I produce insulin, the receptors are malformed.

They still know relatively little about my disease/syndrome for my liking, and I'd be more than happy to be an example of a learning patient for them, however, there are still far too many doctors out there that "know it all" to listen or learn from medical disorders or to listen.  The ones that have looked at my overall symptoms and illness, I'm sure, are the very same ones that helped to further understanding about it, though there is obviously still much to learn.

I feel for anyone who has ever had the misfortune to be treated as stupid or crazy due to a doctor that simply refuses to listen.  I know all too well the desperation of crying for help to get better, when there seems to be no one listening, or worse yet, regarding every word you say as some crazy person's imagination.

Typically, we see a LOT of that with "women's" issues in medicine.  Since they manifest so differently sometimes, and women can have some very mysterious symptoms.  Also, our society seems to be so "sexist" still in regards to viewing women as ignorant, crazy, or hysterical with little or no reason to be so "dramatic", which is definitely more apparent in medicine.  But that tendency is NOT solely unique to women's's just more common.  Evident in the following blog, who's link I hope posts correctly here for you now.  This person has been so brave, and I know things have been difficult, confusing, frustrating, and just plain ridiculous at times evident from his recent post, regarding a fellow church member basically telling him maybe his illness was due to his being a "hypochondriac".  It's all too easy and all too prevalent for people to be disregarded, passed over, passed by, disbelieved, mistreated, misunderstood or simply even ridiculed rather than for people to be loving, supportive, and kind to others when they're going through hard times.  I'd rather see people understand how very much it sucks to go through life knowing something is horribly wrong with you, and knowing how many times a doctor has looked at you with "closed eyes" or a "closed mind", thus denying you even the peace of mind of having some kind of diagnosis.  These are not people to be disregarded, they are the ones we should be most mindful of, add to our prayers, and add the doctors they interact with to be prayed for as well.  Let God touch their hearts and minds so that they can once again view their patients as people with real problems and pains so that they can treat them, the whole person, not just a symptom.

I hope everyone who reads this can add others like this or any you know to your own prayers.  We need a movement in our world, so that we won't overlook others who are very much in need of our attention and prayers.  People like this brave soul who has recently been passed off as untreatable to finally find out he has a diagnosis.  Keep him, his doctors and all those who have yet to be diagnosed or treated in your prayers.

I hope that no one out there has had the opportunity to be treated like I and others have, and depending on the doctor still am, but if you have, my prayers are also with you.