Some Drs have the bedside manner of a water buffalo, even when they’re smiling like an angelic kitten.
I can’t tell if they’re truly that oblivious to the havoc they reek, or if they’re actually so jaded that it just doesn’t matter to them anymore. If you’re ever in any doubt about the interaction between physicians and the drug reps, let me tell you that I watched mine being schmoozed as I left his office today in a shocked stupor over bad news about my heart. He saw me shedding tears during the visit, yet offered no comfort. He heard my questions about whether it was controllable circumstance or losing the genetic lottery that put me here, and gave me no real answer. He couldn’t even give me a genuine answer about what the information meant to me prognosis-wise. It was like you have this, you can’t do anything about it, take this pill or it will get worse no matter what. Gee. Way to be encouraging.
There was no acknowledgement of the 7 lbs. I’ve lost. He refused to see my blood pressure drop from 156/90 to 140/80something (my brain is a little fuzzy after all that) as an improvement. His exact words were, “It hasn’t improved. It’s still high.” Add to it that when I asked if continuing to lose weight and improve my BP would help, he said it won’t make any difference for the condition… it was completely demotivating. It was like well screw it, what the hell am I working my ass off for then? A person really starts to wonder how many patients leave a Dr visit with bad news that end up a suicide statistic as a result. I mean, shouldn’t they have trauma counselors for post-visit fallout? I’m normally very pulled together in my appointments, which is some work with the anxiety disorder I live with. Point being, if he’s used to seeing me in a good mood, interactive, and making sense, and has just reduced me to an indecisive, teary-eyed, distressed mess… maybe he should take a minute to repair the damage. Nope. Sent me on my way.
He wanted to start me on Beta Blockers to get my blood pressure down. Apparently I have cardiomyopathy, and left ventricular hypertrophy. All that means is a change in the shape of my heart that is reducing it’s efficiency to pump, and the ventricle is enlarged to some degree.. how much I don’t know. I remember hearing this number of 45% and my stunned brain couldn’t absorb whether he was saying that was what I was functioning at or how much it was reduced… but either way it pretty much means half capacity. I’m having a hard time swallowing that you can get that kind of accurate assessment from an echocardiogram, but have not yet spoken to an expert to know for sure. I’m having an even harder time swallowing the idea that I’m that diminished but functioning as well as I am. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long time in some ways. I will admit that I complained to my former physician at Kaiser about chest heaviness, feeling like I wasn’t getting enough oxygen circulating, and asking if it could be related to the heart palpitations I’ve had my whole life. She brushed it off and said I was just obstructed and gave me a refill on my Albuterol. I kept telling her it didn’t help with that but she didn’t seem to care. So I know something has been going on for a while, no question. I just can’t buy into this 45% bit.
Who tells a patient that they have no control over their health and then sleeps at night? He could have said yes, absolutely exercise and continuing to eat right as you are will improve your heart health… even if it won’t make the condition go away. Yes, it’s good that you are losing weight, great work! That’s part of a healer’s job, isn’t it?! He gave me no options, and even said “There is no natural solution.” Nothing to discuss… and on top of all that, didn’t even suggest seeing a cardiologist. Am I on crack, or shouldn’t a genuine heart condition warrant seeing a specialist? What did I miss here? This guy is so freakishly paranoid about blood pressure, it seems he will use any excuse to terrorize you into taking a Beta Blocker. I sat in my car and sobbed. I went home and cried some more. I had a meltdown that made me question whether I was going to make to it class today. I spent an hour on the phone with my father who, God bless him, has bothered to research this subject intently due to his own health disasters. He put it in perspective for me a little and agreed with me that the Dr’s presentation was crass and full of inaccuracies. I got further reassurance from my instructor after class, who told me he wanted me to relax. He’s right, of course. Stress is a genuine killer.
It’s amazing that my own physician, who is supposed to be making sure I’m in good health, did nothing but add to the stress I’m supposed to be avoiding. With a smile. It looked like a friendly exchange, if you’d seen it. The whole thing was bizarre. I felt more insulted as each hour passed through the day. At this point, I just feel like he’s a closed-minded idiot. His knee-jerk method of doling out meds for every twitch in a patient’s blood pressure is starting to get on my last nerve. I know why too. He lost someone. The thing is… THAT person was in renal failure. Of COURSE their BP was high. His friend’s death had nothing to do with what 90% of the people he’s treating are living with. You can’t practice medicine from that kind of a place. It makes you weak in communication and nothing resembling objective.
Oh, and by the way… my thyroid is NORMAL. Yeah, I had one result that was barely outside standard range a couple of months ago – first time ever. He wanted to put me on Synthroid “right away”, and I said no. I said retest in a couple of months. I had just come off a round of Medrol for a flare, and steroidal meds can suppress thyroid function. I told him that but he didn’t believe me. Well… it’s normal now, and a radically different reading. He would have had me on an unnecessary med and then adjusting it all over the place, trying to make it work, making me sick in the process! He’s like quick draw with the pill bottles, I swear. I’m beginning to think this is not the right Dr for me. I like something about his personality, I swear I do… but his views are not convergent with mine. I’ve had holistic, naturopathic oriented Drs in the past and it is a much better working relationship. I just don’t know if I can make it work with this one. *sigh* I’m trying. I really am.
I wasn’t as distressed by a Lupus diagnosis as this. Is that odd? Maybe because I already had a solid education about it by then. This came out of left field and flattened me. What now? It’s no wonder there are so many lawsuits.