A Dizzying Number Of Doctors

| Portland, OR, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive

(After returning from a vacation in 2008, I had no equilibrium. I walked and felt like I was highly intoxicated. I felt a rocking sensation as if I were on a little boat on big waves, and the floor felt like a trampoline. I was dizzy and confused. After 2 months, the symptoms faded away. In 2009 and 2011, each after another trip, I had another episode. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong and bounced me from otolaryngologist (or ENT: Ear Nose Throat doctor) to neurologist and back again. In 2012, I had another episode and saw a new neurologist, hoping to finally get some answers.)

Me: *after describing the bizarre symptoms* “…and my ear sensitivity tests and [other tests] have all come back normal. My ENT wanted me to see another neurologist and see if I might have Multiple Sclerosis.”

Doctor: “MS? Obviously you don’t have MS so I don’t know why you’re here.”

Me: “What do you think it is then?”

Doctor: “I don’t know. You probably should have an EEG and an MRI, but I’m not going to order those for you.”

Me: *getting upset* “What should I do then?”

Doctor: “You should go back and see your ENT. This is clearly an inner ear problem. I don’t even know why you are here.”

Me: “I’ve had all the tests at the ENT. Everything is normal.”

(I am tired of being passed around from doctor to doctor, overwhelmed by being sick for years without a diagnosis, and the doctor is not even trying to help me. I begin to cry.)

Doctor: “It seems to me you have a problem with excessive crying. Superfluous activity of the nasolacrimal duct. Exorbitant weeping.”

(He continues thinking up as many synonyms for my crying as he can, while my frustration turns to sobbing rage.)

Doctor: “…unreasonable lamentation! Incessant lacrimal discharge!”

(I was crying too hard to even speak. He left the room and I went home. It was another year before I even attempted to see another doctor to try to get a diagnosis again. I was eventually diagnosed with Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, which most doctors have never heard of. I was paired with a fantastic neuro-otologist and have been almost two years without another episode.)


Some Things Can Weight To Be Said, Part 6

| Germany | Bad Behavior, Employees, Health & Body

(I am leading an active life and enjoyed working out regularly, but recently I have found myself constantly exhausted, with bouts of pain, dizziness, and a racing heart. Worried, I get an appointment with my doctor, who refers me to a neurologist to rule out a few things. I am a short young woman who appears heavier than she is due to a large chest, broad shoulders, and a muscular build. As I walk in, there’s no receptionist to be seen. A few minutes later the doctor himself arrives. When I start describing my issues, he takes a short look at me and asks me to step on the scales (fully clothed). I am confused, but comply. He doesn’t even look at the numbers before tutting.)

Doctor: “Well, there you have it. Just lose some weight and you will be all right.”

Me: *increasingly vexed* “I am trying, but I actually had to STOP working out due to those issues I have! I would love to be more active again, and I still eat healthy and walk everywhere I can, but—”

Doctor: *interrupting me in a condescending tone* “You just have to try harder.”

Me: *close to tears, trying to make him understand that I am serious* “Would you tell someone who’s in a wheelchair that they can of course run a marathon, they only have to try hard enough?”

Doctor: “Now, now, no need to get snarky. I’ll write in my report that you have weight-related issues and should work out more.”

(I raced out, embarrassed and angry. Later it turns out that I have fibromyalgia with chronic fatigue, as well as a severe panic disorder. I guess “just working out more” was not the solution…)

Some Things Can Weight To Be Said, Part 5
Some Things Can Weight To Be Said, Part 4
Some Things Can Weight To Be Said, Part 3


Very Bad Reception, Part 17

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Employees, Ignoring & Inattentive, Time

(I’m on a break at work when I get a call from the receptionist at my doctor’s office.)

Receptionist: “Hi, I’m calling from [Doctor] for [My Name]. We were wondering if you were going to show up for your appointment today?”

Me: “Um, I never made an appointment for today. I had one for tomorrow but cancelled it last week.”

Receptionist: “Okay, but you’re in the system for an appointment in five minutes, so you must have made the appointment.”

Me: “I never made that appointment, so I won’t be there. I’m not sure where it came from.”

Receptionist: “So… will you be showing up today?”

Very Bad Reception, Part 16
Very Bad Reception, Part 15
Very Bad Reception, Part 14


Not Healthy To Receive The News

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Employees, Health & Body

(My husband is much older with slightly high blood pressure and a family history of cancer so I always worry about his health. I get him to go for his “annual physical” (he only goes about every five years) a couple days prior to him flying a thousand miles away to spend two weeks with relatives. The doctor’s assistant phones and I explain my guy is unavailable.)

Doctor’s Assistant: “Can he come in for a follow up appointment next week?”

Me: “You are asking him to cut his holiday short for this?”

Doctor’s Assistant: “Well, it’s important. Possibly he could find a doctor where he is. I could forward his records, and they could do the follow up appointment.”

Me: “I don’t imagine any doctor would have an appointment available very soon, but I’ll tell him to check. Can’t you just tell me what the news is and I’ll pass it on?”

Doctor’s Assistant: “That would break confidentiality.”

Me: “What if my husband calls you; could you tell him the news by phone?”

Doctor’s Assistant: “This needs to take place in person.”

Me: “Okay, I will have him come up with a plan.”

(This was right at closing time, of course, so my husband couldn’t do a thing until the next day. I was up all night crying, assuming he had something fatal. The next day he got a different person on the phone who told him “the news”: Because his blood pressure is borderline high he should try cardio. His blood pressure has been stable for decades and we are health nuts who do cardio and other exercise frequently, so it was really no news at all! But that first lady was so mysterious and made it sound so urgent, she put me through over 15 hours of thinking my husband was dying!)


The Mother Of All Mistakes

| France | Employees, Ignoring & Inattentive

(My husband has to go to a new GI doctor as we’ve moved. We are 26 and look our age. I go with him to the appointment. The doctor wants him to get a colonoscopy and sends us to the front desk to set it up. My husband goes up to the desk and speaks to the receptionist about everything the procedure will entail and what he has to do before hand while I linger behind him.)

Receptionist: “Okay, I just need your mother to fill this out and then we can get a date set.”

Husband: “Um, my mother?”

Receptionist: “Yes, since you’re underage. Here, just hand them to her, please.”

(Obviously my husband is a little confused and just stands there. The receptionist then gestures to me:)

Receptionist: “Ma’am? You need to sign your son’s paperwork.”

(My husband and I stared at each other and managed to get out that he was not underage and I was definitely not his mother. Apparently they had accidentally put him in as 16. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that she had a full conversation with him, a 5’11” man with a deep voice and a face full of pronounced stubble, and couldn’t figure out that something was wrong with her paperwork, or the fact that I apparently look old enough to have birthed a 16-year-old man child!)

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