Wellness Wednesday – Arrogant Doctors

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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.

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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9 Responses to Wellness Wednesday – Arrogant Doctors

  1. Karen K. says:

    He sounds like an absolute asshole. First, I would say, get a different doctor — life is too short to put up with BS like that. Second, tell your PC physician about this — he may be able to report it. Is there a patient advocate available for your health care system? Because that’s total BS. He shouldn’t be able to get away with that condescending crap.

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    • Amanda says:

      I’m not sure he’ll report it, but he definitely recommended seeing the neurologist in his office to get a second opinion. I didn’t even know he had a neurologist in his practice or I would have gone there first! He chooses his doctors very carefully for their attention to patients. I see the new guy next Friday.

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      • Karen K. says:

        I asked Ruben and he said you should definitely contact your insurance company, because that doctor was unprofessional and inappropriate. How can a patient trust a doctor after that? It’s very stressful and detrimental to your healing process, and it’s really wrong. Your insurance company should have a patient advocate.

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      • Amanda says:

        Honestly, I don’t want to deal with the confrontation of that all. I’ll just get a second opinion from the new neurologist.

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  2. Word Lily says:

    Ohh, I’m so sorry! It’s so incredibly frustrating and angry-making and wrong. This is why, especially for initial visits, I always take someone with me. An advocate, another set of ears, at the very least. It shouldn’t be necessary, but it is.

    I’d be tempted to still go through with the tests, because they’ll likely be conducted by not the neuro himself, and then you’ll have the results. Although I’ll warn you, as far as I know the main test they do for epilepsy is an EEG, and it is far from exclusionary. They hook you up to their electrodes and try to induce one, but if you don’t have one while you’re hooked up, that doesn’t exactly mean you’ve never had a seizure, does it? It just means you didn’t during that 1 hour (or however long). Also, I hated my EEG. But then, I had no reason to suspect seizures, in my case, so it’s likely more useful for you than it was for me.

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    • Word Lily says:

      Also, I’ve had a lot of trouble with neurologists in particular. I think part of my trouble with specialists in this field, though, stems from the fact that there’s basically only ever been one in my small town (50,000) and there’s a high turnover rate. I think they’re actually going to close the office, now, and not have one here. The last one I saw, I traveled to the state’s largest city for, but it was still icky. I’m supposed to go back later this month. Ugh.

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    • Amanda says:

      Try to induce a seizure??? Um…that doesn’t sound good AT ALL. My cousin was having partial seizures all her life but after she had her first full seizure she started having them constantly til she was on the right medicine. if I AM having partial seizures, I def don’t want an EEG to push me over into full ones! And anyway, I’m canceling the EEG because they scheduled it before I can talk to a new neurologist (see comment to Karen above), and I definitely want to get a second opinion first.

      On another note, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had trouble with neurologists in general. Crazy that there’s such a high turnover in your town!

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  3. Michelle says:

    I would report that doctor. I know my office will send out surveys after appointments to find out how the visit went. You absolutely need to let someone know about your experience. Doing so may prevent someone else from experiencing the same treatment you did. Not doing so guarantees that it will happen again.

    I think your concerns about doctors and how they do not pay attention to women and especially overweight women are the reason why I unconsciously have almost all female doctors in my list of go-to docs. I find they are great listeners and never belittle me about my weight or use it as the root cause of all my aches and pains. I never feel shamed or belittled, and that is not something I can say with previous, male doctors.

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