Do doctors really always know what’s best? We are taught from childhood that the Doctor is a safe person. A person to trust. We trust our parents as children when they take us to the doctor, and we are distracted by a friendly face with a stethoscope and a sticker. We trust easily. As we get old and develop our own options we start questioning and being more aware of those who easily fit under this “trust me” category. Everyone thinks they’re opinion is the most valid and that their treatment plans are the most accurate. We begin to learn that not everyone’s road is the same that we walk upon. Some have detours, some even go off roading.
About 2 weeks ago I felt myself coming down with something. I was praying it was just a cold but low and behold bronchitis and a double ear infection was my fate. With my 1st Rituxan infusion less than a month away this was not the most ideal news as the infusion is going to kill my immune system even more. Off to Kaiser I went. Now I won’t get into the topic of health insurance because I know many have their own opinions on which provider they swear by. But with my own experience we are happily switching over to Blue Cross Blue Shield by the 1st of the year. Urgent care is never a fun place to go because it’s just a cesspool of germs and bacteria floating around in the air like glitter in a unicorn’s palace.
My husband accompanies me, and we get there at 8:15 AM to check in on a Sunday morning. Urgent care begins seeing patients at 9:00 AM so we were first in line. I was having a terrible time breathing and found myself so weak from being sick I could barely stand up. Triage was able to get us into a room where we could wait until the doctors arrived at 9:00 AM. Well naturally 9:00 AM comes and then 9:05, 9:15, 9:20 and finally 9:40 the doctor comes in the room as I’ve poured myself across the examination chair surrounded by a mote of used tissues. Immediately we noticed that the doctor is noticeably ill himself. He asked routine questions and checks my ears and such. While checking my ears he too is sucking snot to the point he’s literally dripping mucus on the floor. I can see my husbands face in shock about to burst into rage from this happening. He check’s the left ear and then wait for it, drips his snot ONTO MY SHOULDER. Both my husband and I lost it and said, “Do you need a tissue because you literally just dripped snot onto me”. “I’m sick and have MS and can not be subjected to germs like this.” He gave us some lame excuse about taking nasal drops and run out of the room.
After waiting another 10 minutes he wanted to start me on a nebulizer treatment to open my lungs up. He brings me over the mouth piece without wearing gloves after we just witnessed him wiping his nose with his HAND and hands it to me. I replied with “if you think I’m going to put that into my mouth you need to go back to med school.” He left the room again and came back with the box of mouth pieces so I could reach inside and take it myself. Interesting because the exam room had about 10 boxes of gloves stapled to the walls but obviously these are not allowed to be used by doctors. Duh.
After a 10-minute breathing treatment and 15 minutes of involuntarily twitching and shaking later my lungs were opened up. He prescribed me 2 separate antibiotics and steroids. Oh, joy more junk in my body but whatever would clear this up as fast as possible. He’s typing up the information in his computer and then brings up my MS and my recent MRI’s. He began asking questions about my MS symptoms and what the difference between Relapse and remitting MS was compared to secondary progressive MS. It baffled me to have to explain to a doctor what the difference was, but I played along. He then asked if he could test my reflexes and wanted to experience for himself what my chart declared about my left leg compared to the right. Let me pain the picture clearer for you. I had moved the bio hazard trash can over to my seat because my lap could not house the collection of used tissues anymore. I had gone through 2 mini boxes of tissues the nurse had supplied and moved onto the toilet paper roll that I had in my purse from home. I was battling a low-grade fever and was pretty sure I was delusional at this point. I had been snotted on by a germ-infested freak of a doctor and now he wanted me to be his guinea pig for reflex testing. I told him “I am here for bronchitis and an ear infection, with all due respect you are not my neurologist and I will speak with her. I would like to go get my prescriptions and get back to bed please.” Apparently, this meant “sure test away doc” because he then took out his knee tapper and started tapping away at my knees. I repeated myself again saying “You are not my neurologist and we are leaving.” He quickly replies, “well for my own learning”. I stuck it back to him with “Well learn faster because I’m out of here”.
I am sure we have all been in situations where we have been less than pleased by our doctors, nurses or any health representative for that matter. We’ve all been here. The point of the matter is how many of us said something and how many just let it slide? We have to be advocates for ourselves. We know when something is off. We live in a world now where thankfully people are speaking up more for themselves. Nobody is going to watch our backs. Nobody will hold our hands and guide us through the best door. We have to educate ourselves to the best of our ability and trust our instincts. Not everyone has our best interest to heart. We have to learn to filter through the fake or non-genuine characters of our story. We create our journey and story. When something is wrong or off it’s ok to speak up. It doesn’t make you a mean person or pushy or bossy for that matter. We are not door matts and when we say no no means no. Simple as that. No, you cannot tap away at my knees because you are curious of the effects MS has on my limbs. If my neuro wanted to do this tap away baby. But after being rained on with someone else mucus I had had enough and was running for the hills.
Do you have a terrifying doctors experience? I would love to hear about it! Share your tales below because we are so not alone in this. We’ve all been there. Snot rain and all. Bottom line ladies and gents, speak up. You have to be your own advocate in this world. Nobody else is going to do it for you. You got a mouth, use that puppy. We got this!
xo A Hot MS