If you’ve been around since the inception of my documentation of disaster, then you probably notice how often I come up with creative pet names for some of my doctors who were unfortunate enough to be tasked with my care. You would also be lead to believe I hate doctors, because doctors suck. Most doctors suck, and some I strongly dislike, but hate is reserved for only the douchiest of the douchstors. There has only been one of those, and he’s fired. Soon.
When you’re a chronic illness noob, it takes a while to figure out that going to the doctor doesn’t mean you’ll get better. That’s how it’s supposed to work, but it isn’t chronic illness without chronicity. It’s like getting a case of the flu that never fucking ends. So, not only is your affliction incurable, but sometimes even amid regular follow-ups and good intentions, you get worse. Now whose fucking fault is that? You have to blame someone, right? Doctors did it! Evil doctors! It seems logical enough when everything about your predicament defies logic. You spend years bawling your eyes out after appointments because of the insensitive things emotionally stunted healthcare professionals have said to you. You begin to resent them. The anger and frustration builds, until like a tea kettle, you blow your fucking lid and lose your shit in front of the very person you were trying to prove your psychological fitness to.
Just think of all of the pain and suffering I could have avoided had I been cognizant of all of the bullshit one with a chronic disease endures. I would have said, “Eh, it happens to everyone. It’s not me, it’s them. Whatever.” It’s true. It’s not me, and it is them, but the fault falls on the system and the training the doctors go through. They are just doing what they were taught, which is to treat acute illness. One of my Residents, Squeaky, told me a few of her collegues refuse to treat patients with chronic illness because we can’t be fixed. There’s very little gratification. We show up month after month, and complain of whatever the hell happens to be bugging us at the time. And there’s also the assumption that we’re all insane. I can say with confidence that at least 80% of my situational depression and anxiety was caused by those very same doctors.
It’s a really rough road to go down alone while constantly fighting with those who are supposed to be seeing to your wellbeing. My advice is to find a doctor who is fascinated by the complexities of your illness, not irritated by them. This doctor should be willing to bulldog for you when needed. When a doctor is willing to take 5 minutes to make a phone call to tell another doctor to quit being a fuckface, it’ll save you two weeks of getting the run around and spare you the very real possibility of going postal. He will also compliment your Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and note your excellent taste in music. Who’s in charge of your healthcare team? You are. You’re Jean-Luc Picard, and awesome-doc is #1. Did I just go Star Trek? I did. Yuuuup.
The point here is twofold. I don’t hate doctors. I’m immensely frustrated by them at times, as I’m sure they are by me. Second; don’t hate the player. Hate the game. The medical model needs some serious work. Like, burn the house down, bulldoze the foundation, nuke the land it once stood on, fill it in with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, and then begin again from scratch while enjoying some radioactive s’mores. The need to treat illness BEFORE it becomes disease is paramount. I’m not talking about overmedicating the walking sick with pharmaceuticals. I mean the illnesses should be treated naturally with whole ingredients that work synergistically with the immune system and body. This will lead to a huge reduction in overall medical costs, happier healthcare providers, and healthier patients. How can this be accomplished? Talk to any doctor who practices functional and integrative medicine. They can tell you, because I haven’t the foggiest, beyond taking the power away from big pharma. Minds need to be pried open with the jaws of life.
What do you think? What changes would you like to see?