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The Story of a Stubborn Woman and Modern Medicine

I don’t go to the doctor.  I catch an awful lot of flack about this from my family and friends, so the time has come to defend my position.  If you know me and you’ve ever wondered what my damage is, here’s one piece of the puzzle for you.  I hate the doctor.  No, I’m not afraid of the doctor, I just hate the doctor so, so much.

I wasn’t always like this.  I used to be pretty good about my regular checkups and when my children were young, I always took them to all of their well baby checkups and the like.  If someone got sick, we went to the doctor.  Just like regular folks.  Then about five or six years ago, I blew out a disc in my back.  Like a normal person, I went to the doctor and I started my journey of disillusionment.  I’ll spare you all the gory details, but after two years of agony, two failed surgeries and enough narcotics to take out an elephant, I landed in a neurosurgeon’s office hearing the bleak news that I should see a pain management doctor, because they couldn’t do anything else for me.

I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me.  I have a jacked up spine, and that’s nothing that out of the ordinary.  Lots of people have bad backs.  But where I am now is not that much better than where I started, and I had access to the finest of modern medicine.  The surgery that works for almost every-freakin-body with a disc problem just didn’t work for me.  And that’s when I realized that doctors don’t have all the answers.  I also realized that almost everything related to doctor visits, surgery and medication is frustrating, uncomfortable at best and sometimes an awfully disappointing waste of time and money.  Apparently I am not as grown up as I might like to be, because I rebelled.

I’ve been back to my primary care doctor for a checkup one time since then, and the only reason I did that was to prove that I could get my blood pressure down without meds. (Showed her, HA!)  I occasionally get sick enough to go to the doctor, but it’s rare.  I had trouble breathing for days on end last year, and I popped in to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia or anything.  Regarding the kids, we have a two-day rule – if they’re sick and not improving by the second day, then we go to the doctor.  Or if they appear to have strep.  We don’t play with that.  (I’m stubborn, not a neglectful mother! Come on…)

My criteria for doctor visits has changed.  Before I go to the doctor, I not only consider how sick I am, but I also think about possible solutions.  Is the doctor going to be able to fix this?  Sometimes not, maybe even mostly not.  I’m sad to say that many doctors in my area just want to throw antibiotics and pain killers at you.  It’s my responsibility as an intelligent person to take part in my own health care.  The last time the doctor prescribed antibiotics for my kids, I didn’t even get the script filled.  Judge me if you like, but I know these children better than a doctor who spends five minutes with them and I know darn well that they didn’t need Amoxicillin.  And I was right.  Last summer there was an incident of embarrassing clumsiness in which I may have broken my thumb.  I could move it, everything seemed to work and I really didn’t have the time or inclination to fool with x-rays, doctors, and, heaven forbid, a CAST.  I made the decision to take matters into my own hands.  A $12 stabilizing brace and a couple of months took care of it.  It still hurts sometimes, but you know, my husband had broken bones years ago that were properly treated and they still hurt him, too.  So, whatever.  I stand by my decision, although I cannot even tell you how much crap I have heard about this one. (And rightly so.  I know that.)

Doctor? We don't need no stinkin' doctor!

I’m not saying my way is right for everyone, or even anyone, including myself.  I am self-aware enough to realize that I have a bit of a phobia going on here.  I am pretty confident that I make good decisions about my children’s care, even though I sometimes inadvertently screw myself over.  I also realize that I am very fortunate that I don’t have any serious medical issues that require a doctor’s care.  Heaven forbid I ever do, I guess I’d have to go to medical school.  I am thankful for doctors and I acknowledge their years of education and training so that they can help others.  It’s just not for me.  I know me better than you do and you know medicine better that I do.  So where does that leave us?  At an impasse, that’s where.

So for those of you who may want to ask me, “Did you go to the doctor?”, don’t bother.  I didn’t.  And now you know why.

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  1. April 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

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