When you see your local doctor or your referred specialist MD, what is it – exactly – that you expect? What treatment or remedy are you hoping for? Loaded questions! Many doctors have publicly expressed their frustrations with fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. You have to admit — their circumstances give them cause to be frustrated.
Consider an MD’s training. They are mainly taught to diagnose critical and treatable diseases. After that, they’re taught to “practice medicine” for those diseases.
What does this mean? Using the traditional medical model of healthcare and insurance practices, here’s the arsenal of “tools” available to a busy MD:
- Referrals to complementary services such as physical therapy (and sometimes acupuncture or massage), etc.
And, what are they to do with conditions that are chronic rather than immediate or critical?
Here’s a stunning fact provided to me from RecallCenter.com for #DrugFactsWeek, Jan 26 – Feb 1.
“2/3 of all doctors’ visits end with a prescription being written.”
Does that surprise you?
Perhaps not, but then, maybe you haven’t thought about it all that much. Unfortunately, I’m sure that stat is actually much higher for those who deal with chronic health challenges related to pain.
If an MD can’t prescribe a “fix” for chronic pain or cut it out with surgery, what’s left? Treatments for chronic illness sure don’t fit into a neat little box (or a bottle).
My point here isn’t to look at what doctors think of us – or even to look at what we think of them.
It’s to explore ideas regarding
what we EXPECT from our doctor.
Think about it … are you disappointed if you leave your doctor’s office empty-handed?
What do you really expect?
I can’t wait to see the comments you add to this conversation below!
I used to work as a scheduler at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN, and I noticed that Internal Medicine residents go through a more thorough rotational schedule than Family Practice residents do. That is the first thing I think of from what I’ll call a non-traditional patient point of view because I was also a patient there. I learned many things from working at HCMC and was told I should have went to medical school. My boyfriend and I were both patients over the course of several years covering many specialties beyond our Primary doctors in Internal Medicine – Surgery, Orthopaedics, Otolaryngology, Gastroenterology, Gynecology, Infectious Disease, Podiatry, and a few I’m sure I’m missing.
As far as expectations, both my boyfriend and I just expect treatment. Unfortunately in most cases we both ended up having some sort of surgery and at least for me I knew that going into an appointment. I research my issues before getting referred just because I’m very ‘anally retentive’ when it comes to my health. I try to help my boyfriend as much as I can with his issues as well, but when he was going through feeling ill before being diagnosed with EBV, it was hard to find out what the problem was.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after I left HCMC. My boyfriend was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while a patient at HCMC and his care was very vague due to his Primary Care doctor using the excuse of ‘it’s a virus and it will go away’ and didn’t treat him. That started my research (my boyfriend isn’t into the Internet, reading, or medical terminology so I ended up telling him a lot of what he needed to know about EBV).
I have always wanted to be a patient advocate because of the things I know and learned while working for HCMC (10+ years). I saw the insurance side, scheduling/clinic side, and the doctor’s side (sort of). Millions of patients just don’t understand what goes on and have many complaints based on those things they don’t see and get frustrated when they don’t get the service they deserve. It is all in the expectations.
You’re so right, Monica, and no one can say you haven’t done your homework. Your experience in the medical community has provided you with a unique perspective into how the “system” works. I’m glad you’ve used this info to your advantage and that you’ve shared your info here. Thanks!
I’m always willing to share what I know. I don’t claim to be all that knowledgeable, but I will certainly try to relay what I do know. I will look up things on the Internet too & realize that I have to take what I read with a grain of salt. I would love to advocate for people if I can & am trying to make the world a better place for myself, my boyfriend, & everyone I come in contact with. We are all in this together & need to realize that if doctors don’t educate themselves then we have to do it ourselves. I never wanted to put my health entirely in the hands of medical providers because that is where a second opinion comes from, but I feel that if I know what I can then I have a better perspective on what is happening to me, what is going to happen to me, & what could happen to me. I hate to self-diagnose, but I am never wrong when I get referred to a specialist for an issue I am having. After all of the surgeries I have had (C3-4 fusion, C5-6 fusion, hysterectomy, foot surgery, L5-S1 fusion, cholestectomy, tubal ligation – before hysterectomy obviously, & multiple ERCP procedures) I have pretty much been on the mark for knowing ahead of time what was going to be done. Life is too short to let others control your health. If you take the initiative to know what it going on then at least that control will be in your hands!
I have been blessed with my medical care. Has anything worked–just listening ears and compassionate attitudes. That has gone a long way. Of course, since 1996, I have seen a boatload of specialists who check me out thoroughly just to make sure I am okay and to see if they can help. They lament that they cannot. I keep the superior doctors who meet my needs as described above. I do not expect to hear of a cure yet or even something that can help me as I am super sensitive to medications. In asking prior generations in how they managed all this time, the reply was that they learned to live with it. Probably very good advice. It is sad that my experiences with even a D.O. was not productive. She had no time for any type of manual manipulation. Later, I learned that since she was in a group of physicians, she was prohibited to practice that way. Sadly, my insurance does not pay for acupuncture or massage–two areas that at least would help. How do I know? Because my car insurance P.I P. covered both after minor accidents. However, there is no money for these on a regular basis out-of-pocket. Chiropractic care is covered but I do not do well with it. My daughter is a D.O. in her third year of a rigorous residency. Her complaint is that her style of doctoring is to consider the whole person. So she is always behind……I believe one day, researchers coming from various angles of study, will indeed find out so much more. They are doing so as I type. Will I benefit? Probably not. But I am grateful that answers will be forthcoming if the earth is still here. One day, there will be no more pain. That is my glorious hope. With all that said, I believe I am responsible for me regarding the chronic illnesses I have. Not impressed by what is offered. Impressed by those in the medical field who care. I ‘could’ see a doctor who is in the know with FM. I have had two initial appointments a couple years ago. Unfortunately, one has to wait up to two hours once you arrive for your appointment time. Thinking about that alone, I don’t find it appealing. Since he is affiliated with a pain clinic, there are a lot of hoops– weekly drug testing that is sent out to another lab my insurance doesn’t cover–and other that are not appealing and stressful. Who needs more stress with chronic illnesses? My primary (male) is great. I finally am doing 5 yoga moves. Does help somewhat.
I’m so glad you’ve commented here to share your experience. It’s good to know that others have had positive and supportive collaborations with their MDs. I didn’t have that when I was seeking answers and have not re-immersed myself into that world. It’s good to know both sides of the coin. I’ve become so used to paying out of pocket for anything that I plan on doing, that it now seems the norm. I absolutely love the conversations we have here, and you’re a big part of this healthy, healing, and whole Rebuilding Wellness community!
Thank you so much for your feedback and encouragement. I, too, value the conversations and support! I have learned so much. Truthfully, I would rather have a preloaded card that would cover alternative medicine. Alas, that is not the case. Now everyone has to be covered with insurance or pay the fines. There are great reasons to be a part of the system. My husband is in great need of coverage. So we come as a package. I have found that genetically I had been a ticking time bomb. The whiplash in 1996 set off a chain of reaction. I can benefit from a combo of care. But, you are right, Sue–why seek that which has no answers and offers few alternative to side effect meds? So much food for thought.
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