Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'd burn them if they weren't so expensive

I was going to just go and have my records sent to my new doctors. My mother suggested I go get them myself since I had some new appointments coming up very soon.

We went together to pick up the records. I let her handle the exchange. It was $25 for 10 pages.

I read her notes once we got back to the car. I reclined my seat, as I often do after a long day.

I read the notes carefully. We arrived home. My mother closed the garage door and got out, going into the house. I didn't move. She left. The lights cut out so I fumbled and turned the car light on to read the last few page.

What I learned was this. The doctor who I asked to be my pcp while I was in the hospital with dysautonomia symptoms, the doctor I chose because she was Black and a woman like me, never believed me.

She never believed me.

Always in her notes, she writes my primary diagnosis as depression, secondary diagnosis as chronic pain syndrome. Later her notes turn irate as she says that I complain of "multiple non-specific symptoms" After my trip to Philadelphia, where I was prescribed a knee brace she humorously notes "pt wearing brace on left knee subjective complaints of multiple jt (joint) pain, no objective findings." Again I complain of "non specific symptoms." These symptoms were the vertigo, double vision and unsteadiness brought on by my migraines.

In assessment and plan she diagnoses me with depression again, this time with possible "hypochondriasis." She also notes that I've been "doctor shopping." Wow. And all the way to the east coast. You'd almost think I was desperate or something.

In my last entry, I said that the fact that I had EDS seemed to be missing from discussions I had with my doctor and her staff.

Well, I was right. Either she never read the reports she received from the geneticists or she gravely misinterpreted them. It was around the holidays, this time last year, maybe she just skimmed that shit like an unwanted catalog.

Mostly, I'm angry at myself for not knowing how phony she was being all this time. I'd seen signs before, in the way she dealt with other patients, in the flippant manner during our appointments, but I didn't want to believe she'd deal with me in such a way.

I don't intend to show these records to a single other doctor. If a doctor insists on requesting them, I'll have to inform them that the contents are so naive and misguided as to be almost libelous.

I'm just glad that she's not my doctor anymore so I'm not wasting my limited funds on being strung along politely in public and maligned in private.

I didn't shed a tear, but my chest felt tight. I tried to shed the feeling of being betrayed. As I sat, reading, trying to clear my mind, the concrete (but again peripheral) feeling came over me that all this feeling of betrayal and wrongdoing would one day be replaced by love. A new love, strong and comforting, the exact opposite of the way I presently felt and thus, its nullifier.

Someday is good enough.


Elizabeth McClung said...

I loathe that any doctor, no matter how many complaints against them, can simply give an opinion and it is in your notes forever. Ah, if we only had the same chance, if you only had the same chance: "dr. appears to have processing disorder: unable to read tests in addition to ignoring information from patient. Is curious where doctor feels they are getting information: no objective conclusions"

Sometimes the local organization of your condition, EDS, can refer to doctors who can at least recognize symptoms - an interest couldn't recognize hypothryoidism that the next specialist noticed in 30 seconds. I told him that several doctors before him including specialists had said there was nothing wrong, and what could he demonstrate that would make his observation different.

He said, "A career of 30,000 thyroids."

I'm sorry you had go through the emotional and psychological trauma that seems to be what passes for medical sevices many places. Very sorry.

Yvette said...

Elizabeth, I don't even know that I can be surprised anymore. I'm really considering reporting her to the state medical board. She likes to put things in people's permanent records? I'll put something in her permanent record.

It just seems too big an insult to tolerate, too big a stain not to clean up.

Anonymous said...

Aiya. What an ungodly awful horrible woman.

I wish I could loan you my doctor. He may be white and male and able-bodied, but he respects the information he gets from my specialists and from me. He considers me the expert on my body, and more well-read than he on EDS, so he's willing to go along with referrals I request and to investigate medications and theraputic devices I suggest. He's also the only doctor who has ever trusted me with a large supply of muscle relaxants - he wrote for a MONTH of four-times-a-day, with two or three refills, which has lasted me in all over a year.

I've been oh-so-very lucky in that I've only had to fire 3 medical professionals (one NP, two specialists) in the 3 1/2 years that I've been sick, and they were all very obviously people who needed to be gotten rid of.