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Dismissive Doctors

OwwieOOwwie Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all. Wasn't sure where to put this, hope here is okay.

I have seen a spine specialist and pain mgmt doc for the last 4 years. He's been awesome to me, but recently some of my health problems have extended beyond his area of expertise.

A few months ago I had pneumonia, and since I have felt and hurt worse than ever. My joints are swollen. I have low-grade fever almost every day. I'm dizzy and weak, and my fatigue is crippling.I know it's to be expected after such an illness, but it's been 4 months so I went to my primary and he has referred me to an Endocrinologist (I have adrenal insufficiency or Addision's Disease, we're still testing to see which), and to a Rheumatologist.

Well, the Rheumy was today, and I have never seen such apathy and dismissive behavior out of a physician before...and I just spent 13 days in the hospital, so that's saying something!

I was not asked to put on a gown or even take off my shoes so he could look at my ankles/feet, much less knees and neck. Every question I asked was circled around. He was the kind of doctor that instead of letting me tell him how I felt, he told ME how I felt! I went in with six pages of typed notes, and it took me longer to get my hubby a Subway sandwich after the appointment than the amount of time I spent in his office.

I asked him about fibromyalgia since it is on both sides of my family. Also asked him about Ehlers-Danlos which was suggested to me that I might have in the hospital. He gave me a one page copy out of a book on both subjects and then didn't mention either again! I mean, I know more than the info he gave me, or I wouldn't have brought those conditions up! And not a word about whether or not I could have either. Just a paper with definitions *?!*

It felt like he was ignoring the possibility that I might be suffering from more than one condition. He just kept saying "Well, you have the DDD and stenosis"...

How do you make yourself heard with doctors like this? Do you even try or should I just move on? He has a great reputation according to my PMD. So is this the kind of behavior I should expect from a Rhumey???


  • Did he review any blood tests that you had in the hospital and are they all normal for any inflammation other than the Addison's? I would get a second opinion or wait and see what the Endocrinologist says if you're seeing them soon. I think you should get a better assessment and treatment from them.

    I recently saw a Neurologist like that and I was supposed to get an EMG/nerve test my Family Dr. ordered because of the numbness and sciatica I have and ended up not getting it and I never want to see her again and she's never called me back. It's really frustrating and I would look for another Dr. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • No, this is not the kind of treatment that you deserved. It sounds to me as though this Dr was dismissive (just as you called it),and may be the type who does not appreciate the knowledgeable patient.

    Here, I have thyroid disease and went to an endocrinologist (one of many) several years ago. Keep in mind that I've had this disease for 3 decades, and before computers I owned a set of encyclopedias, so I did my research. On my first appt. she proceeded to pull out a plastic replica of the thyroid gland and went over that with me..and that was all she wrote, then scheduled another appt. to follow-up. I said "follow up what, do you have more plactic figures because I am familiar with the endocrine system, just not mine." I had been through radiation therapy and such at another location/state, but..anyway.

    You asked questions and recieved print outs with less information on them than what you already knew yourself, you recieved no answers to the questions that were troubling you, but told you that you have DDD and stenosis, those things you already knew.
    How do you make yourself heard with doctors like this
    " Every question I asked was circled around. He was the kind of doctor that instead of letting me tell him how I felt, he told ME how I felt!"
    He has a great reputation according to my PMD.
    No offense here, but your PMD probably does not see him/her as a patient, but as an associate, maybe even as a friend.
    So is this the kind of behavior I should expect from a Rhumey???
    Pay for nothing, not at all, but this is only my opinion. I'm sorry you were treated in this manner, but you know there are some Drs out there who, well, maybe this one was just having a bad day for all I know. Granted that is no excuse, just trying to figure out why *anyone* would be so dismissive. I mean, at least mine pulled out a plastic figurine-lol.

  • Thanks, Charry :)

    I just re-read my post, and I realized how negative I sounded. Sorry about letting my frustration come out like that!

    He said he'd look at the blood work done there, but I have no idea what tests were run, and I was on so many steroids(and am AGAIN for the adrenal issue), that I'm not sure they would prove accurate even if the right ones were run. Meanwhile my knuckles are red as cherries, I run fever, and seems like every move I make produces a creak or a pop :/

    I'm concerned about having a comorbidity along with the DDD/stenosis, but he really just seemed to shrug it off. IMO, You get to know your body better than most when you have chronic conditions, and something is definitely off with me. Or more off, I guess you'd say.

    I don't want to be seen as a hypochondriac or histrionic, and I realize some docs hate what they consider to be patients that are trying to self-diagnose, but I was really just shocked today.

    Thank you for helping calm me a bit. I guess i needed to blow steam. I really do need to get to the Endocrinologist to figure all that out first I guess, especially since I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism as well. That appointment is tomorrow, thank goodness!
  • That's just crazy, we posted at exactly the same time and I posted about endo & I'm hypo too. Your post did not sound negative to me (though you were not talking to me-lol)though, just human.
  • I guess I was typing when you replied :)

    Hate to hear that you also have thyroid issues, but good to know there is someone else here with a similar set of challenges with both spine and endocrine problems. I may pick your brain a bit sometime if you are willing :)

    I also try to be as informed and participatory as possible with my health care team. Funny how some docs hate that.
  • Okay...are you my sister lost at birth??? heee ;)
  • I know~~I thought about posting again, but that was freaky...lol

    I have found that if I act like I don't know very much whenever I go into my Drs appts.that it seems as though I get treated better. This isn't the case with all Drs., but I have one who just does not like it if I seem to know much of anything at all, and I learned on my first visit with him not to mention that I do research. I think he regarded my research as simply wiki searches on a condition/treatment/medication, and then took it that what I gleaned from that was in essence, fact. With him I just act even more clueless than I actually am. Some Drs just have an ego problem I suppose.
  • Robin, Samantha,

    I think now a days in the computer/Internet days, they are more guarded on what patients know. I was watching the show "The Doctors" a few weeks ago, and one thing they brought up that drove them nuts was two areas. Self diagnosing, and digging deep into their diagnoses issues, and seeming to not listen to the doctor during visits.

    I look at it this way, especially after seeing shows such as Mystery Diagnosis; how many of those folks went to upwards of 70 doctors and specialists until they found "that one" that took the time and cared, and figured it out. Sadly 'grades' in medical school doesn't boil down to having a personality! If my visit went like yours, I would be finding a new doctor. Just my thoughts there...

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda yes, and I can understand that too. I guess until the Dr gets to know you (or me) and then know that I am not the type of person to self diagnose, think I know everything, or even understand a lot of my own symptoms, then I accept the Dr(s) taking that attitude. After all they went to medical school and have a lot more knowledge than I do. Usually whenever I research an illness that I have it is to learn more about it so that I will be better prepared when I go in to my appts, and know what type of questions to ask, otherwise, without some of the digging I have done I would not have even known what to ask (in some cases). But as soon as I said that I was reading up on my illness one Dr said that I should not believe everything that I read, and I think that's the problem right there, just that so many people (Drs included) tend to assume too much, when in reality I read many sites (& personal stories) and don't tend to take away the extremes from each one. But yes, some people do and those are probably the patients that have made the Drs wary and they would begin to warn all patients. I can see that becoming a habit if I were a Dr.

    That's funny that THE DOCTORS feel that patients don't listen to their Drs during office visits, because patients feel the same way (many times) about their Drs not listening to them. Communication. This is just universal and seems to be the issue in every relationship.
  • I think that is why I like to watch "The Doctors" as they seem fairly frank on their topics and discussions. Just like not all pilots will make 6 figures and better, neither do doctors. The other side of the coin... On TV in law enforcement we solve cases and put the bad guy away in 1-2 hour shows, and conversely, *all* doctors find the cure, and most times save the patient, not to mention have them undergo all the tests under the sun! In the real world, most all of this is fantasy. But some patients don't seem to realize it, and feel defeated when they aren't fixed on the first or second shot, or have answers at least.

    I don't mind a "Dr. House" attitude if the guy knows his stuff, but trying to find a Dr. House? As to doctors not being thrilled that we are knowing more and more about our diagnoses and illness on one hand I would think good - this way they aren't talking "Greek to us", but on the other end some patients might get pushy, or we may be perceived as doubting the doctor - I'm sure they can sense that too. From what our OP posted, that wasn't the case - just a case of a doctor that isn't into giving time to their patients which I think bites the big one. I know my NS gets quiet or short with his answers when *his* planned end result isn't there.

    The other problem I've found is that when you are a multiple issue person (as I am for instance), the doctors try to segregate which doctor should do what, and then they ignore all but 'their' area - frustrating as sometimes all these things are found to tie together in the end. But is the doctor astute or patient enough to see that? There are days that I wish I was back to "just the disks" being the issue - made things so much easier. Now I am a puzzle patient.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • America may have gotten to the 21st Century but our medical field didn't.

    Go doctor shopping. You might find one who'll do their job. Would anyone take their car to a bodyshop that just fixed the external damage to make it look good but never fix the underlying damage or replaced the broken windows? No. They are held to a higher standard.

    Time to hold doctors to that standard. Find a different one.

    I sincerely believe American medical was better in the 1980's and before... back when we still had doctors who knew their patients...who liked cash. We got better service when we handed them cash. If our economy collapsed I think it would be the best thing that happened to America. Doctors would cherish cash from patients again. And the Doctor-patient relationship would improve. What we have now just isn't working.

  • Oh I gave him cash :-/
    If only my co-pay, but cash just the same.
  • My expierence with the Endocronologist today was like night and day. He took his time, and seemed to really give a crap about my symptoms and test results. It may take awhile to figure me out, but at least I got the feeling he is gonna try.
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