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Chronic Snarkopoloist: Conflict! When Your Doctors Disagree

Post Published: 02 February 2011
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Category: chronic autoimmune conditions column, Chronic Snarkopolist, Column
This post currently has 4 responses. Leave a comment

Hello my loves!

Recently I had several specialists and doctors disagree with each other.  One called someone out the other went brass knuckle. A third jumped in for a street rumble. The rest just shook their heads and disagreed with the medication doses I was taking.  I stood in the center and watched the fur fly. Was not pretty OR PROFESSIONAL.

And then I realized I have a choice.  Though I do not live in the BIGGEST city anymore, I still live in a big enough city that I have CHOICE about where I get my medical care.  And even so, I have choice about where I obtain my medical information.  I have asked repeatedly for certain therapies but they are less mainstream.  I’m on mainstream medications and vitamins, all of which have been prescribed by various physicians.  Few of them ever speak to each other or discuss my well being together. They all specialize in one area.  They all believe THEY know best.

I can sit here and be huffy or I can take decisive action about it.  Or, I can also choose not get in the middle of my specialists pissing wars.  After all – it PROVES again and again how there are no TRUTHS in healthcare but multiple routes to effective care.  And I will give you MY TRUTH- MY TRUTH is that I want to HEAL and I want to be WELL and I DESERVE respectful discourse and discussions from my providers.  When I have questions or research, I deserve answers.  And even if I am engaging in practices one doctor agrees with or recommends but another does not recommend, it is about MY HEALING.

One inalienable truth in all of healthcare is THE PATIENTS WELLBEING COMES FIRST. Before a doctor’s schlongus size comparison, ego, or a pissing war.  And they are forgetting that.  I am not.  I am doing my research and I am learning as much as I can about MY chronic illnesses.

This is not just about me.  This happens to anyone who has an illness who has to see more than one doctor – ESPECIALLY if the specialists don’t often work together.  What do you do if they start giving you contradictory information?  What do you do if you FEEL worse after you start taking a medication but you are supposed to feel better?  What do you do if you are diagnosed with an illness and the recommended course of treatment is offered to you feels wrong?  Guess what- you CAN get second and third opinions.

I went to a neurologist once who said very openly, “I disagree with my colleague, and here is why.”  He didn’t call her wrong, he didn’t say she was full of shit or call her names.  He simply explained his diagnosis and gave me further procedural steps in finding a path.  I chose his words and then got a THIRD opinion.  I liked the third neuro, who corroborated the second neuro’s opinion.

No one has the right to diagnose us into bad health. And no one has the right to peddle us false hopes and snake oil.  Yet- I will say this.  What one calls snake oil, another will call a genuine workable help.  And what one calls “good medical practice” some might call shilling for Big Pharma. Just be apprised that ONLY WE can keep our eyes on what works. If your doctor is spending most of their time doing talks for pharmaceutical companies and earning more of their dollars selling SPECIFIC products I often hesitate to value their word anymore highly than I do someone selling me products that might not work FOR ME but earns THEM big money. I’m not there to put braces on their kids teeth. I’m there to HEAL MY BODY.

And THIS is what I have learned from years of chronic illness.  Because I have so many specialists I have learned about ego. I have MANY doctors who do not have big egos.  And I have had a few who do.  The ones who feel threatened by different strategies or a doctor who “doesn’t stay in their lane” are the ones I tend to LEAVE QUICKLY.  Why? Because big egos get in the way of MY BETTER HEALTH.  Big egos don’t pick up the phone and call when I am doing worse.  Big egos do not open their mind to new methods or practices even when they work better. And simply- big egos are not in my best interest, but work out of fear and covering their own ass.

I mentioned this to a friend who is doctoring it up in the medical field.  His response to me: “No one knows your body as well as you do! Trust yourself.”  YES. This is what I’m talking about.  Their full quote is more like:

“In today’s medical climate of fragmented health care, it is often up to the patient to act as their own primary care physician in navigating the healthcare system and determining their own care. The benefit is that no one understands the patient better than the patient. However, it is detrimental because the patient does not have the medical knowledge and expertise of a primary care physician.” Can I have a what-what here!

Another friend who is also a doctor said, “Gah! I hate doctors!” It is a joke between the two of us because you know – he doesn’t really.  He’s not a self-hating doc.  He just hates all the bullshit we all navigate between egos and bureaucracy and issues.  He hates the culture of bullshit medicine that has been created.

I wish it was not so. I think most doctors wish it was not so, but they have been taught to distrust each other and NOT to act collaboratively. When you find a few who DO work together or who DO work with you- snap them up.  When you are your OWN best source of finding information and advocacy- DO IT. TRUST YOURSELF.

We are here to talk together. Tell each other what works.  Heal together.  Stop the spread of MISINFORMATION.  Share and value each other’s stories.  And THAT is some powerful shit.  That is NECESSARY.  And more importantly, we are here to HEAL OURSELVES through information.

When your doctors disagree who is right? Healing is right. Your body needs to heal. You need to heal. YOU deserve better care than big egos.  I trust the one who doesn’t get their back up about me going for a second opinion.  The one who is arrogant and talks trash about other doctors, THAT is the one who I believe is NOT invested in MY better interest.  Healing is ALWAYS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

What do you think? Listen to the “experts” or BECOME the expert?  Can we have a middle ground? Can we have trusted individuals in our lives and use many resources to give and take in our healing journeys?  What do you do with arrogant docs or big egos? Walk? Run? Stay and put up with it?  How do you deal with conflicting information? What are the most important things in YOUR healing journey? Tell me! I must know!

I’ll be back same time next week! Kiss kiss!

Melissa–

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4 Responses to “Chronic Snarkopoloist: Conflict! When Your Doctors Disagree”

  1. DogsMom says:

    I am standing and applauding.

  2. ChemoBabe says:

    the underutilized much feared second (or third!) opinion! yes. doctors are human. doctors have egos. doctors don’t know everything.

    trust is the most underrated part of the patient doctor relationship. contrary to what people sometimes think, getting the second (or third) opinion can actually help *give* us trust in our current doctor. it is not a threat. we have to trust them, because even though we can educate ourselves and ask questions, most of us have not gone to medical school. most of us have not seen the hundreds and hundreds of cases that they have seen to develop clinical intuition. we need that expertise from them, but we are the experts in our own bodies and our own reactions.

    if the trust is gone, the relationship is broken. you can’t always be second-guessing the motives of the person who is supposed to be saving your life. if you don’t have a basic shared understanding of what your common goals are, then you got to move on.

  3. Fred says:

    I believe it can be summed this way: Many Doctor’s think they are little Andonis!!

  4. beatnik says:

    Melissa: That’s why I am here, to hear from you’all what is working for you, what your doctors are telling you. You wrote a great piece that makes me feel more empowered to interface with my doctor more on my own terms. There is so much of everything on the internet, it swings wide the do’s and don’ts.

    I am still fighting with the idea that taking Synthroid is not really the right thing, but what is the alternative when I get light headed and wonder if I am a blob for life now?!! (hypothyroid)
    But, the biggest obsticle to what are my choices is my doctor’s attitude to “just take the pills, will ya!”
    Maybe she is right, but the attitide sucks.

    I mentioned reading about the pig thyroid pills, and she huffed under her breath and said, “I hear that all the time!” with a tone of voice that had a “stupid people” undertone to it. I wanted and should have said, “Well, then it isn’t an unreasonable question.”

    In a few more weeks I will have another blood test and I am sure I will be interfacing with her again. This time, I will tell her that I did resent her tone of voice,and that I am willing to work with her, but ultimatly, I will make the decisions about my health care treatments. Something like that 😉

    Thank you all for being here. Thank you Melissa for a nice essay.

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