I’ve been listening to a lot of Ben Folds lately. Because every day is a good day for Ben Folds.
You’re not fired, though. My doctor is. OH-OH-OH-OH FIIIIIRED!
Lemme just tell you why I’ve been MIA for a month. ALL OF THE B.S.!
In January, I decided it was time to stop being scared of what I would find out by going to the doctor, and just go. I hadn’t been to a regular PCP doctor in probably 10 years, with the exception of walk-in clinics for things like strep and sinus infections. I’m an ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away-er, a Boober-Fraggle-doomsday-er.
I fear the worst so I don’t look. Well, this is stupid. So I started going. I was referred to a dr by a co-worker, and I began to see him fairly regularly.
I began to see that he was a terrible, terrible doctor.
He is a prescriber. In the past 7 months he prescribed me no fewer than 10 DAILY medications. My only diagnosed medical condition is anemia… for which he prescribed me nothing, HA. Oh, and his Dx of sleep apnea– though there has been no testing or evidence, except that I’m fat and agreed that I am tired (Um, anemic, single-career-mom of a 3 yr old. OF COURSE I’M TIRED.) So now my permanent medical records have his OPINION that I have a condition. Asshole.
I further began to see a pattern in our visits. In one visit he would chastise me for something, and tell me how to fix it. In the next visit, he would chastise me for doing whatever he previously told me to do, claim he never said that, and change his advise to the exact opposite. Let me give you an example.
March: “You are over weight. Lose weight. The faster the better.”
April: “I see you lost some weight. That’s fine, but you are losing it too quickly so you’re just going to gain it back, and more. Don’t lose weight too quickly.”
May: I say, I’ve been working hard to lose weight, he asks how. I say diet and exercise. IE moderately low calories and 300+ minutes/3-5 days a week. Dr: “Well, exercise is good, but you won’t lose weight that way.” –I understand that what he was getting at is that you can out-eat physical calorie burn– but that is NOT what he said.
June: “You need to lose more weight. You need to lose it much faster. ” He asks what I am doing toward weight loss. My blood pressure (which was a little high, but not bad before) had gone down, my A1C was lower (I was “pre-diabetic” in January), my weight loss has been steady and healthy and all kinds of good things. I detailed my food log, my calorie limits of ~1,300 to 1,500 depending on my physical activity that day (and pure hunger), and my 5X a week workout routine of cardio and weights. He told me that 1) I was delusional in my estimates of burning 500-600 calories in my workouts (really?! an hour of intense cardio and 30 minutes of weight lifting?! DELUSIONAL?!). He further explained that if a very fit person and I did the same amount of physical exercise at the same intensity, that the fit person would burn at least 3 times more calories than I would. Which is wrong. Not just a little wrong, completely wrong. Like never-went-to-med-school wrong. Your body becomes MORE efficient at not wasting energy, not less. Your body tries to keep calories. That’s how we’re made. Anyway, he further scoffed at me explaining that my calorie limits of 1300-1500 calories were “Entirely too much food” and advised I go on a 500 calorie diet. He stated I should try more broccoli. He said this with a straight face. He also told me I couldn’t do it, and I would fail. He did not offer any nutritional advice, referral to a dietician, any of the other things a doctor should provide if ADVISING extreme dieting. In addition, I am anemic with a history of eating disorders, so this medical advice is even more dangerous and irresponsible– not to mention just plain bad advice.
So you see a pattern, yes? He is a bad doctor and he doesn’t like me.
While all this weigh garbage is happening, I am experiencing a few other problems. One, I’ve been having this hip pain that is too legit to quit. My right hip has been hurting for, oh, going on 3 months now. Hurts to walk. It’s like internal joint pain. Scary to me. Dr man said I had sustained an injury at some time, and my range of motion was “really weird”. He prescribed me (of course he did) ibuprofen and tramadol. I’m sensitive to pain meds, so tramadol was my bed-time treat, lest I fall asleep behind the wheel of my car or at my desk at work or, say, while caring for my kid. The hip pain has been constant, but tolerable. It hurts all the time but ibuprofen helps quite a lot.
Additionally, I have some lady stuff going on which prompted a change in my birth control, which led to me going BAT SHIT CRAZY. I questioned whether my mood instability, for one, was a side effect of this BC. He said that was (can you guess?) ABSURD. He said the clear answer was that my anti-depressant was no longer functional and changed my RX. Background– my anti-depressant was a SSRI type, and he changed me to a SSNRI type. The second is a bit more hard-core, and the drug in particular is pretty hard-core. After some reading and speaking with other folks who work in the medical field, this was a pretty drastic jump, especially considering this is the first time in my whole life I’ve ever been on any anti-depressants. It isn’t as though I’ve been moving through the RX’s trying to find something that works– which totally happens. But I digress.
This new RX had major side effects, including severe upper right quadrant pain. I learned this after I began having severe upper right quadrant pain. I am gall-bladder-free, but it felt like gallstones. I decided it was liver failure or something terrible, so I went to my Dr. I had no symptoms that make URQ pain urgent– no fever, no abdominal tenderness, etc. Just radiating pain so severe I couldn’t stand without sweating from the pain, couldn’t walk 10 feet without the pain taking my breath away. It was awful and debilitating and defeating and scary. That’s when I found information about Cymbalta and URQ pain. Like a whole page of people saying they had the same pain and it stopped after they stopped taking the RX. I mentioned this to my Dr, who (guess! guess what he said!!) LAUGHED IN MY FACE and told me that was ridiculous. After a CT (which went terribly wrong as well, naturally. Did you know your veins can explode and iodine can just fill up your arm which may cause bruising, hives, and muscle soreness for many days? I do.) came back clean, my Dr decided I was overdosing on pain medication. He told me my pain MUST be a duodenal ulcer from abusing ibuprofen. So, one, I took it as prescribed, two, I had been taking it for maybe 2 months at the time, and I almost never take anything OTC or otherwise. He referred me to a gastro. This required more testing ($$$$$$$)– and I really felt like the obvious next step was to TRY getting off the meds.
I made a decision that day to fire my doctor and, while finding a new one, follow my gut. I stopped taking the BC and Cymbalta. Guess what happened? The URQ pain went away. My brain came back to a regular rotation.
My hip still hurts, but I’m working on it.
Anyway, my point is just that for a month I have been struggling with trying to stay on-task with food since I could not physically do anything (DRIVING HURT! Ridic.) I didn’t even log my food for most of the month, becuase I just didn’t want to know. I ate my feelings some, and over-ate some, and just generally had a constant toddler-VS-mom internal fight at every meal. I’ve also been struggling with all the things that go along with non-stop pain (new found respect for chronic-pain). And now? I am BACK!
Lots of good has come from that month of bad. I have re-learned the value of trusting myself. I know my body. I have to trust that. I was reminded that doctors are people. There are good people and shitty people. I found the shittiest.
I still lost weight, some how. I’m surprised and delighted. I guess I’m more on top of this stuff than I thought.
Yesterday was my first day back at the gym, and it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked.
But I did it. And I’ll do it again today. And tomorrow. Et so on.
So I’ve been MIA, but I’m still here. And today I’m wearing pants I could have worn 3 years ago. They look super cute.
*Edit: Since writing this, I have become STEADILY MORE MAD. It really is worse than I thought. It becomes so apparent when it’s all listed out like this. There are other choice idiocies he spouted, of course, but they’re off topic. That guy is a train-wreck. Don’t put up with bad doctoring! Second opinions forever!!