I feel badly for the docs that get me as a patient. They're used to folks who understand their system, who are numb to its waiting and meds and lack of personal attention, who are throughly indoctrinated to place the doc above the patient, to take what the doc says as gospel, and to shut the frak up and get with the muthafrakkin program.
Me? My undertstanding of this whole deal is that the doc is my partner in this thing I call My Health, and that he/she doesn't have an understanding of anything outside of western med and so I both have to hide some of the things I do, while also guarding myself from most docs' knee jerk script pad scribbling.
"You came to see ME, so how about you at least listen to what I say as if I might know what I'm talking about?" the GI doc said to me a couple of weeks ago, his eyes slightly bugged from the stress of dealing with all the data I've collected from the internet, PubMed, and charting my own symptoms, trying things and logging what does and doesn't work.
I agreed to listen to him for a week, to take the meds he prescribed, to allow him to do an endoscopy, and to give his diagnosis at least enough credibility that I'd give it all a whirl.
The diagnosis: ulcers (which he showed me pictures of post-endoscopy, and hot holy dang those swollen red patches/holes were startling to see) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (which is kinda like the fibromyalgia of the digestive system). And he put me on two kinds of meds. And guess what? I feel so much freakin better it's miraculous. Back pain is down to mere slight discomfort some of the time, and the horrific digestive pain I've been? A mere whisper of what it was.
And I also get that what is happening isn't Curing the illnessess so much as buying me time to do the things I have to do to bring my body back into balance: exercise, no processed foods, release the fear that's got my bowels in such an uproar, literally. I've got some Deep Sh*t in head, heart, and body to navigate, but at least now I'm not so consumed with pain that I can actually focus on what I need to do.
So when I see my GI doc in a month I want to thank him, and apologize for giving him a hard time, but also to give him the heads up: with health care reform, there are going to be a lot of folks like me coming down the pike, folks who've never really had health care insurance and therefor don't know this western med world, and therefor don't really trust it. But who need it. Who really really need it.