So, seriously, I’ve often taken health advice from the internet with a grain of salt, but over the past 5 or 6 years, I’ve learned more from health/medical websites than I have from nearly all of my doctors and naturopaths combined. Here’s a few examples of the shit care we’ve received over the years that often have pushed me to talk to Dr Google for help (or at least some new perspectives)…
- The OB/GYN who in 2015 told me – knowing that I was in the midst of DEIVF – that as soon as I adopted I’d get pregnant. Needless to say I didn’t have to investigate with Dr Google about why this is a load of horse shit.
- The ER doc who forced me to take a pregnancy test (nothing like them giving you a bedpan while standing there waiting for you to do it since I was flat on my back with an undiagnosed herniated disc) when I injured my back even though I told him my IVF just failed. Talk about idiocy AND insensitivity wrapped into one.
- The same ER staff who failed to send me in for X-rays or an MRI for my back even though their magic combination of Oxy, Fentanyl, Vicodin, and Valium were useless…then referred me to their PT staff who couldn’t schedule me in for several more weeks! Glad I asked my new chiropractor 2 months later if he could order them since Emanuel Hospital was a crapshow.
- The Naturopath who referred me to an Oncologist instead of Imaging for a breast MRI…and that Oncologist in the Breast Care Center who had zero familiarity with breast thermography. Needless to say, I don’t go to that ND anymore and I walked out of the Oncologist’s office after she refused to send me down to diagnostics for the MRI I had been promised because she wanted me to get a mammogram since she “didn’t know how to read a thermogram”.
- The Naturopath who told me that perimenopause doesn’t start until you’re at least 50 and that my hormones at 44 must be due to “leftover estrogen and progesterone from IVF”…which ended 8 months earlier. Perimenopause can last anywhere from 4-10 years and menopause can begin between age 40 – 58. Glad NONE of my doctors talked about this with me EVER. Thanks, Dr Google!
- The Primary Care Physician who, in a 12 minute appointment, diagnosed my husband as having an anxiety disorder even though he’d not done any kind of mental health assessment, along with a sleep disorder simply because he sometimes has trouble staying asleep, then promptly prescribed two STRONG antidepressant/antianxiety medications…rather than letting a mental health professional determine this. Don’t get me started with overprescribing doctors – this guy should lose his license as far as I’m concerned.
- The aforementioned PCP who, when my husband came in to simply get a neuro referral for his TBI, ordered him to get 4 or 5 labs even though he’d already had his physical and labs just a few months ago (which looked fine) and the labs that had NOTHING to do with why he was in the office! Did I mention he emailed the doctor not once but THREE times telling him this and the doctor STILL refuses to take these “orders” off his chart? Or that the first time he did a neuro referral to follow up on his TBI that he sent my then-48 year old husband to an Alzheimers/Dementia specialist who – shockingly – could not help him…?
- The optometrist who told me recently that my blurred vision was due to the fact that my glasses addressed my astigmatism and my contacts did not, yet ignored my questioning why his prescription for my year’s supply of contacts were NOT for the astigmatism-correcting type contact lenses. Sure glad I spent $250 on new contact lenses that don’t address my astigmatism when I did my homework and in less than 30 seconds learned that Acuvue does carry them!
- The aforementioned optometrist who told me that I needed to get a carotid doppler scan because of small hemhorrages in my eye – BEFORE consulting with my retina surgeon. I learned it could lead to stroke if untreated, freaked out, and yet he a) wouldn’t help me with getting that referral (told me to go to a regular doctor and ask them for it, someone who didn’t even know me), and b) when I told him that the technician AND retina surgeon laughed at the fact that I was told to get this, ignored me again (nor did he apologize as this was a shit ton of money since I hadn’t yet met my deductible). Guess what? Turns out a) you don’t get these scans til you’re much older, and b) the hemhorrages? Normal scarring from my vitrectomy last year. Carotid artery disease is present in about 10% of folks in their 80’s – I’m 44 – and anything below that is around 1%. Even though I expressed fears and concerns to this optometrist – cold as ice.
- The same optometrist who didn’t have any preservative-free eyedrops in his office (!) for me to try and wouldn’t recommend a particular brand, sending me to Fred Meyer where there is literally a WALL of eyedrop brands and types, then a week later prescribing me Xiidra and Lotemax for my dry eye, never once mentioning that cases of dry eye syndrome skyrocket in women once they hit their 40’s because of hormonal changes, and those of us who’ve taken hormones, whether it be from IVF treatments like myself or HRT like many women nearing or at menopause have, can actually be worsening symptoms even more. [Renowned women’s health expert (and longtime ob/gyn) Dr Christiane Northrup, MD, states, “During perimenopause, subtle changes in hormone levels can trigger autoimmune problems in susceptible individuals. Given that the entire immune system is influenced by hormonal levels, a woman who is predisposed to autoimmune problems may experience an exacerbation of her disorders. Perimenopause may even unmask an underlying autoimmune disorder such as Sjögren’s for the first time. Endocrine fluctuations associated with perimenopause may significantly increase the levels of antibodies and other immune factors in the tears. Contact lens wear can also alter immunity of the eye.” So think about this closely: someone like myself who already is hypothyroidic AND is going through perimenopause, AND went through 8 cycles (6 transfers, 2 mock) of DEIVF hormones since 2015, has now been prescribed an immunosuppressive medication. Sure glad I have something that fucks up my immunity even more! Did I mention that the Xiidra drops (these btw are what Jennifer Aniston’s touting “eyelove” about on TV) are $250/month WITH insurance AND the manufacturer’s discount? Since I can’t afford a refill I’ve decided to toss these and focus on homeopathic drops, ointment in my eyes at night, holistic care to address whole body issues that contribute to it (hello inflammation, my BFF), a better humidifier in my room, and wearing my glasses most of the time. Did I mention this to the Optometrist? Why should I? He prescribed them without even scheduling a follow-up to see how/if they were working (and even said “if these don’t work there’s nothing I can do for you”…so yeah, I’m getting a new eye doctor).
What is this post beyond a giant bitch-fest? Nothing really. Primarily venting. But I will just put a reminder out there – while there are some crazy rabbitholes you can go down with Dr Google, she’s not all bad, and also that if you are not feeling like you’re getting all the answers from your doctor, if something doesn’t sit right, or you just want other perspectives? They are out there – whether it be on Dr Google or by simply meeting with other care providers. Just because they went to medical school doesn’t mean they are omniscient, nor that they all provide the same advice. Fertility treatments taught me about the Grab Bag o’ Advice from doctors and other care providers – one size does NOT fit all, trust me on that one. Question it, question it all. It’s not disrespect, it’s actually the highest level of respect – for yourself, the patient. That comes above blind submission.