12 April 2012 ~ 18 Comments

Medical Dreams and Nightmares: It’s Time For Change

I have a dream that patients who go to thyroid doctors are no longer told they are fat and lazy and it’s their own damn fault despite the fact that their butterfly glands have seriously let them down.

I have a dream that patients no longer have to “doctor hop” in a desperate attempt to finally find that elusive doctor who actually listens to what is going on rather than randomly doing their own irrelevant tests and recklessly milking the insurance (and sometimes their patients) for all they are worth.

I have a dream that more doctors will actually give a damn about their patients rather than treating them as cash cows.

I have a dream that I will never have to meet a doctor again who shouts at me, drives me to tears, interrupts me constantly or patronisingly treats me as if I’m stupid.

I have a dream that doctors will learn not to make stupid and insulting assumptions about diet, lifestyle or other factors before asking the patient what is actually going on in their life.

I have a dream that fewer patients will actually know more than their doctors. Surely it should be the other way round?!

I have a dream that patients will no longer feel the need to self-treat because doctors have been so eager to ignore what is right in front of their eyes.

I have a dream that patients such as myself will no longer wake up in the morning and feel that they have aged by 20 years.

I have a dream that unsympathetic friends and family of patients will go through exactly what we go through for a few months just to get a taster of how shitty it can be and what a fight it is sometimes. Perhaps then they would be cured of their lack of empathy after walking a mile in our shoes.

I have a dream that doctors would no longer obsess over blood levels and obsess more over how the patient actually feels. If I hear one more doctor tell me my thyroid is fine even though I feel like shit on a stick, I will feel the serious urge to tell them to take a long walk off a short cliff.

I have a dream that no more doctors will insultingly accuse thyroid patients of wanting to “dope” their medication because they need to up their dose to feel well. We are not Olympic athletes. We have a chronic illness and need to balance our levels just to get through the day.

I have a dream that fewer doctors insist on prescribing antidepressants without first doing a complete examination of the patient to check for other causes. This is irresponsible and dangerous.

I have a dream that more doctors would attempt to get to the root cause of symptoms rather than fobbing a patient off with medication which sometimes makes the problem even worse and can cause horrific and potentially damaging side effects. Thanks to one such doctor, I suffered for six horrible months with awful bloating and digestive discomfort because the bastard refused to test for food intolerances, which I suspected all along. Instead, he gave me an anti-bloating medication which naturally didn’t do a damn thing. Later on, of course, I was proven right … to say this was negligent of him is an understatement

I have a dream that we no longer have to count our pennies to be able to afford healthy food that is not genetically modified or supplemented with unhealthy additives such as high-fructose corn crap. I have a dream that doctors and governments would realize what a huge role healthy food plays in our good health.

I have a dream that insurance companies no longer fight tooth and nail to rip off their patients in any way they can. We have enough to deal with thanks to nightmare doctors, but bullies like this just make us even sicker. I also have a dream that insurance companies start paying for more worthwhile (holistic) treatments rather than promoting doctors who blindly prescribe every drug on the planet to treat symptoms rather than causes.

I have a dream that one day soon I will be well enough to actually fulfil more of my dreams. My dream is that I no longer struggle to peel myself off the couch or out of bed and that I don’t have to force myself through the day. Chronic illness is a fight and I am tired of fighting. I don’t understand why governments, insurance companies and sometimes our friends and family insist on aggravating matters.

I have a dream that by writing this I will have made people think, including those who have a tough time putting themselves in our position. I have a dream that good doctors and patients will continue to band together to raise awareness of these issues and never give up hope that change may one day be achieved.

What is your dream?

18 Responses to “Medical Dreams and Nightmares: It’s Time For Change”

  1. HD 12 April 2012 at 8:16 pm Permalink

    No tough time at all about putting myself into your shoes, I am wearing them. … And welcome to the Endo-roulette!! Fired on, one good one moved out of town, and am not sure about the current one. Grumble grumble grumble.

    Oh and then the dreaded I²S² (Insurance Induced Stress Syndrome). Barf!!

    Hope you’ll find the your good Doc soon!!
    ~HD

    • Sarah Downing 12 April 2012 at 8:23 pm Permalink

      Thanks, HD. You never fail to make me laugh. If you’re in my shoes, I really admire you for learning to walk in high heels;-)). You know what I think of health insurance – sadly, it’s not just in the US where they are evil pricks … I was sad to leave our doctor in Germany. She wasn’t perfect, but finding a good doctor really feels like a crap shoot sometimes.

      I’m sorry you have to go through this too:-(.

      Love,

      Sarah

  2. HD 12 April 2012 at 8:57 pm Permalink

    … high heals and/or tutus only during Carnival season! Alaaf!!
    🙂

  3. Lori 12 April 2012 at 9:31 pm Permalink

    I share your dreams for sure. Sadly I doubt I will see much change in my lifetime. Physicians are not taught to treat the way we need them to and only a rare few seem willing to step outside the box and listen to what their patients are telling them and use common sense. If they would only listen!

    Good luck with your search! When you’re having a bad day just picture HD wearing your high heels 😉

    • Sarah Downing 12 April 2012 at 9:40 pm Permalink

      I fear you might be right, Lori – about some of these things changing any time soon. Listening seems to be one thing that so many doctors are unable to do. It is absolutely bloody retarded because if they listened more they would get more diagnoses right and more patients would get the treatment they need. That’s just common sense.

      Too true – I will imagine HD in heels! LOL!

      Love,

      Sarah

      • Krissy 5 June 2012 at 10:29 pm Permalink

        I totally agree! Listening is SUCH a simple thing and yet so many doctors don’t know how to do it! If they would listen, it would probably help them better know how to diagnose and treat thyroid disease.

        A lot of unhealthy family members are also very similar to doctors in this respect. It’s frustrating enough to spend days in the hospital with a doctor who is clueless and since everything was supposedly “normal” (periods coming every two weeks, 15+ thyroid symptoms, extreme insomnia) he writes “depression” as the reason for my sleep study! It’s infuriating enough to deal with this type of ignorant attitude and refusal to listen at each doctor’s office. But then I had to deal with it with my whole family! Trust me, when you are so seriously sleep deprived that you cannot get out of bed or even care for your baby, it does NOT help to have condescending arrogant family members chastising you and refusing to listen. Insisting that “depression” or “anxiety” is the reason you cannot sleep.

        • Sarah Downing 5 June 2012 at 10:39 pm Permalink

          Dear Krissy,

          I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to put up with so many condescending doctors and family members. It’s at times like these when it can help to talk to those with similar problems as they often seem the only ones who can truly understand and empathize.

          It sounds like you’ve already tried explaining your condition to your family, but that they just refused to listen. I know mangy who’ve been in the same situation. My parents could have been a lot more sympathetic at times, but since we’ve talked about things more, they have gradually become more sympathetic and supportive.

          Sadly, we can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends and my advice to you is to try to surround yourself who are going to be constructive and supportive rather than destructive and derogatory.

          Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I will be thinking of you.

          Hugs,

          Sarah

  4. HD 12 April 2012 at 10:10 pm Permalink

    Hmm, healing (or not so healing) endocrinologist (and other docs as well) must have confused my inner dictionary. Heel vs Heal … I guess you could call that a Freudian slipper.

    {Hugs}
    HD

  5. Angela 14 April 2012 at 7:01 pm Permalink

    I read in some medical journal that doctors make a diagnosis in the first 5 minutes of seeing a new patient. 🙁

    Aside from all the doctor crap, I can’t stress enough how important it is for families to make the effort and learn how to be supportive. I know you wrote about that here, but it seems to me it’s so critical for healing to take place. And if family won’t do it than somehow we need to find ourselves another support system.

    There is one doctor I am aware of who has all the qualities that you speak of. His name is Doctor Bernie Siegel. I invite everyone to at least look at his web-site to give yourself a glimmer of hope that the good doctors are still out there fighting the good fight for truly healing health care.

    Dr. Siegel was a surgeon who was way ahead of his time and still is! He realized early on that no-where in his medical training did they teach doctors how to relate to patients in a way that was truly helpful and healing. So he figured out how to do so practically all on his own.

    Unfortunately we can’t access him as our doctor but he still has an awful lot to offer patients and doctors alike on his website, via books, interviews, and talks.

    I recommend reading at least one of his books to keep our hopes and dreams alive. Love, Medicine, and Miracles is a book he wrote years ago yet the messages in it are still ahead of time. Miracles happen because doctors like him know how to make them happen by working *together* with their patients.

    http://berniesiegelmd.com/

    Just in case anyone is wondering I have no affiliation in any way shape or form with Dr. Bernie Siegel.:) I’m simply a woman who has had to deal with severe health issues for many years.

    • Sarah Downing 14 April 2012 at 11:16 pm Permalink

      Hello Angela,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I have also read the same research, which is why I tend to come in to a doctor’s appointment well prepared with a list of bullet points of my main issues. I find that representing what I have to say in writing makes it easier for people to absorb. I will also “bold” certain words.

      That is so very true about the families. In fact, one of my first articles was about this very topic:
      http://sarahjdowning.com/2010/11/29/fwbw-2-how-chronic-illness-affects-our-relationships/

      Thanks for the heads-up about Dr Siegel. I will have to check out his site.

      Wishing you good luck on your continued journey to good health!

      Sarah

  6. Barbara 26 April 2012 at 9:04 am Permalink

    I write in floods of tears and frustration this reply to that funny but so darn true writing of what people have to go through. I am printing it out and taking it to my Dr! I am so tired of feeling so sick and having to settle for crappy health care and also getting treated like Im some kind of nutty hypochondriac, if one more Dr offers me antidepressants and tells me there is nothing wrong and my blood levels are within range…sure some are but the ones you didnt realize were important are all messed up, plus a vit D problem….
    My Dr only used to take basic free t3 and it came back in range every time… Really!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean come the heck on !!! This has to stop and thyroid sufferers have to get more respect and a kind Dr who actually gives a crap. We are worth it. Today I go to another Dr. after paying for my own blood tests to hand to them, along with the above poem stapled to it!
    NO MORE pain and exhaustion and a puffy body I want to be well again! Its 23 years I have had the problem, not all bad though I once had a good Dr…1 in 23years…Hmmmm not so good. He wasnt a gp either, he was a gynecologist whose wife had thyroid issue.

    • Sarah Downing 26 April 2012 at 12:06 pm Permalink

      Dear Barbara,

      I’m both glad and sad you were able to identify with what I wrote – glad because sometimes it is comforting to know we are not alone; sad because we are all stuck in the same bloody boat and sometimes it feels like we are up shit creek without a paddle!

      I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all this with your doctors. I can certainly empathise. Where are you based and have you found a good doctor now? A lot of the time, when it came to things like Vitamin D deficiency, which my docs didn’t always focus on, I would sometimes buy the supplements and just take them. Sometimes I found that I had to insist that these levels were tested in the first place, even by doctors who called themselves thyroid experts – crazy really, as they should have known better!

      I was inspired to write this particularly article as I’m already on my third doctor since we moved to the US last Decemember and I’m not even sure I’m 100% happy with her either, but because I want more holistic care I’ll also be working together with a nutritionist who was recommended by another Hashimoto’s patient and who tests for things like adrenal fatigue and treats leaky gut, symptoms which so many conventional doctors just poo-poo … and ultimately leave us sick as a result.

      Please let me know how your appointment goes. I am glad if the poem is able to help you and truly wish you improved good health. I get so sick and tired of feeling like I am going it alone because so many doctors just refuse to listen to what I instinctively feel is wrong.

      Love,

      Sarah

  7. Anne 20 June 2012 at 7:04 am Permalink

    I’m sooo sorry to hear what you have been through, and I can certainly sympathize with you! My parents use to work in the health care industry in the UK many years ago, and they would often refer to some Doctor’s as “Quacks” because they really were like “Quacks”. It is an old english term and I have had to deal with many “Quacks” myself! Tis bloody “Quackery” when you have to sit in front of AN IDIOT who likes to call him or herself a “Doctor”! Tis best to tell him or her off because not many have the guts to do that and that is actually what they really need. They are in dire need of a “Reality Check” Just because someone refers to themselves as “A Doctor” doesn’t necessarily mean that they are one! They are self serving deluded idiots who may think of themselves as a Doctor, but the REAL Doctors are the ones who SERVE their patients well and actually do something to CURE their patients instead of giving them a pill that keeps them hooked to a drug company.

    • Sarah Downing 20 June 2012 at 9:57 am Permalink

      Thank you, Anne,

      I have been through some of this, but I also know many friends and loved ones who have too. There are indeed many quacks in the UK. It’s a term I use myself from time to time – actually, I was familiar with it as I’m originally from the UK, although the term’s also used in the US.

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve also been through a lot of painful situations with what seem to be some idiotic medical professionals. Luckily, there are a few good ones out there, but you do have to search harder for them.

      I so agree with your last comment – taking a pill alone is really not sufficient to treat thyroid disease. There is so much more that needs to be done if you want to feel truly well, but few doctors actually think outside of the box and seem to think it’s so hard to treat when it’s just not.

      Wishing you good health in the future and that you have to deal with fewer dickheads too!

      Love,

      Sarah

  8. Michelle Teresa 20 June 2012 at 7:57 pm Permalink

    I have the same dream. This is so inspiring to me. I really want this vision to be reality. I have to mention the petition… I really believe that with enough numbers, we can be heard. We deserve this!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/endocrinologists-patients-with-thyroid-dysfunction-demand-better-care?=1&fb_source=message

    • Sarah Downing 20 June 2012 at 11:30 pm Permalink

      Michelle,

      My hope is that measures such as your petition will help to fulfil my dream and those of many others:-).

      Love,

      Sarah


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