I was planning to discuss the way I’ve been feeling about my body and my health/fitness journey lately today, but I had an experience Monday that got my blood boiling, and decided to put off my original plan til next week and write about this instead.
So I mentioned that I was seeing a neurologist soon. I wanted to talk to him about several things. First, there was the severe insomnia that has been ongoing for the last six years, an insomnia that is shared by several members of my family (siblings, so they don’t live with me) and which has taken the same patterns at the same age. Obviously a family history issue right? Second, there was the brain-fog that has been engulfing me over the last year, so that I’m worried something’s wrong. I want to know I don’t have some budding tumor or something! Third, I recently had a cousin with epilepsy describe the partial seizures she had growing up, the precursors to her full seizures. She described something that I experience quite often and always have, and that I know several of my siblings experience as well. I wanted to get an expert’s opinion on whether or not that’s coincidence or something more.
Unfortunately, my neurologist ended up being one of those arrogant cocky doctors who don’t listen at all to their patients – at least not to their middle-aged, obese female patients. He basically told me that for the sleep issues, I simply have to force myself not to sleep very much for two weeks, and then my body will adjust. Um…I basically did his little “strategy” for nine months when this first started. So F-you. Then he was skeptical that my cousin had epilepsy at all, and asked me who diagnosed her, because it didn’t sound like her seizures were actually epilepsy. Um, dude, my cousin has been seeing a neurologist who specialized in epilepsy for a decade and I think I trust that guy more than I trust your throw-off opinions. Well, okay, so he’ll order me a sleep study and some brain scans just in case, but they won’t find anything, because my problem is just that I don’t have enough willpower to go through the restricted sleep therapy. Yes. Literally he told me that my inability to cure my insomnia was due to lack of willpower.
I can’t tell you how belittled, helpless, hopeless, and angry I felt coming out of that appointment. Several hundred dollars wasted on a cocky bastard that was visibly restraining his eye-rolling when I explained exactly why restricted sleep therapy hasn’t and won’t work for me. Note that I didn’t even bother to tell him about the brain-fog issues – by the time he assumed that my cousin self-diagnosed her epilepsy and wasn’t really having seizures, I just wanted to get the hell out of there.
Now, I’m honestly not sure what to do. The neurology office is supposed to be setting up sleep studies and an EEG, and those are studies I need done, but I also never want to work with this doctor again. Tomorrow I see my primary care physician, a doctor who does actually listen to his patients and assumes they have a good idea how their own bodies are acting, and I’m going to get his opinion. I know there’s a neurologist in his practice that might be a better person to talk to, but I don’t believe he does anything in sleep medicine, which is why I didn’t go to him in the first place. Still, it might be better to simply start over with someone who isn’t so arrogant and cocksure.
On a broader scale, I’m just sick of doctors that assume that you’re stupid and lazy if you’re fat. Years ago, I had a primary care doctor who was just like that. She assumed that everything I said was suspect, like making me redo genetic tests that I already had official results from to give her. It is so difficult to find doctors who treat you like a person when you’re overweight or obese. Coupled with being a woman – often considered stupid to certain doctors – and it just gets worse. The doctor on Monday treated me like I was just another complaining housewife, not worth the time he was spending on me. And I’m sick of that attitude. Being fat doesn’t make me unreliable, stupid, lazy, or inconvenient. Neither does being female. Yet all too often, that’s how I – we – get treated. It’s infuriating.