I was horribly ill last week. I woke up feeling like someone threw acid in my throat, and then invited a pack of cats to knead on it.
Pain, though, is a wonderful catalyst. Mine led me to this here post, the first issue of Pet Peeves—where I tell the annoyances of everyday life what's what whilst showing you unrelated pictures of one of my pets. Full credit to Matthew Gasteier for caption inspiration and permanently repositioning my disposition towards cute animals.
OK, here we go.
First, check out the most recent conversation I had with the on-call doctor—let's call him Dr. Evil—at my neighborhood clinic—
Dr: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much discomfort do you feel in your throat?
Dr: Really? 10?
Me: Yes, 10. Sometimes 11.
Dr: Well, I'm not going to give you antibiotics.
Me: I can't swallow water. Or my saliva.
Dr: I'll give you Lidocaine for that. It's a local anesthetic similar to what dentists use to numb your gums before they pull teeth out and whatnot. You can gargle that and it'll numb the pain so you can swallow water.
Me: You think I should gargle local anesthetic every few hours? My regular doctor, Dr. Good, just gives me an antibiotic, Zithromax. Since I have a history of tonsillitis and...
Dr: No, you shouldn't take antibiotics too often.
Me: I'm sick once a year. The last time I took an antibiotic was one year ago.
Dr: If your pain hasn't reduced in 7 days, come back and I'll prescribe it.
Now, let me give you some background.
I've contracted tonsillitis annually for 7 years now. And, I have been exposed to every creative permutation of drugs, fluids and rest you can imagine. Nothing ever worked, and I typically suffered through the symptoms for 12-14 days. Until Dr. Good (real name withheld for privacy reasons), my very wise and thoughtful primary care Physician, prescribed Zithromax 250mg—a 5-day antibiotic course. The miracle drug cleared up my tonsillitis in 24 hours.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't have much academic knowledge about tonsillitis apart from what I've learned through years of Google-fu. But when it comes to applied knowledge—especially with regards to how the infection develops and progresses in my body—I am a motha-effing ninja. I'm like Alex Browning from Final Destination. I can predict the approaching doom, blow by blow, from a quiver of a sign—a little itch at the back of my throat, a particular kind of sniffle, or even a certain type of fatigue. Not only that, but I can tell you the next ten plays that my diseased body will be making at any point during the progression of the infection.
Point is—I really know my own body and how it responds to attacks on its immune system. Seven years of experience will give you that. And, it seems to me that this information should always be relevant to the process of diagnosis and treatment.
Which brings me to my peeve.
Doctors who neglect patient history in deciding a course of action.
Dr. Evil was a winner of a specimen in this regard. When I clued him into my history of tonsillitis, he did go back and read it. And then he mysteriously disregarded it without much of an explanation. His anti-antibiotic agenda was just the cherry on top. Stubborn as I am, I went in to a different clinic for a second opinion the next day, but not before enduring another predictable night of progressively worse symptoms. The doctor there wrote me the prescription for Zithromax. My symptoms disappeared in 24 hours, and I recovered in 48.
I wouldn't whine if it weren't for the fact that there seem to be 3x more Dr. Evils than Dr. Goods in this country. Too many doctors seem to suffer from God Complexes, and it baffles me why. Medicine is a severely error-prone profession, so much so that we all have stories similar to Dennis Quaid's. Seriously, everyone has a horror story.
The fact is that doctors are wrong a lot. And that's OK. They're human. But, being wrong on account of the occasional erroneous judgment call is one thing. Being wrong repeatedly because of stubborn arrogance is entirely different. We don't endorse the latter from other types of professionals, so why should doctors be excused? If anything, they should meet a higher bar.
After all, with them it's often a matter of life or death.
Ah, well. Do you have a related peeve?comments powered by Disqus