Well, I’m not going back there! The Gastroenterologist I saw had her assistant ask me some questions for about 10 min., then she saw me for about 3 min. total. She did not give me time to tell her any of my symptoms, such as the fact that (WARNING: TOO MUCH INFORMATION TO FOLLOW…) when the spasms are super-bad I’ve actually passed intestinal tissue after stool, and tons of blood, and being a girl, and having had C.Diff., I know internal tissue when I see it. She wouldn’t look at the picture I brought of my abdomen at it’s most distended. She didn’t read my file. And after spending exactly 13 min. on me, she looked at me condescendingly and said, “I think you just have a little IBS. That can happen after an infection.” When I asked her how simple IBS could be so painful and debilitating, she proceeded to tell me that while everyone deals with “discomfort” differently, I could be dealing with it better. She then attributed the extreme pain, etc., to “negative thinking” and said that (and I quote) if I just told myself everyday “I’m going to be okay. I’m fine” then soon, I will be.
Yup. She thinks my symptoms are all in my head. Why? Because she noticed on the basic form I filled out in her waiting room that I take antidepressants. “You have a history of psych problems, right?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “I just have depression from feeling so sick all the time, watching my sister struggle through the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, and losing the ability to live my life to the fullest due to the aftereffects of the C.Diff. infection.” She gave me a blank stare, and then proceeded to feed me that “positive thinking” line. She then said to try probiotics for three months (even though I explained I’ve been taking them for years now) and to come back if my problems still “exist” in three months. Then, she might consider ordering some imaging tests. But then there’ll be a waitlist for that, so all told, I won’t get any help until at least six months from now.
I was speechless. After she left, as a sort of consolation prize, her assistant ordered some blood work and stool samples. I’d told him in the few min. I was able to speak with him, that I’d moved thousands of miles across the country to be able to get this specialist appointment.
I’m usually a very level, easy-going person. I very, very rarely get mad. But I have to admit, I really wanted to break something. Like maybe her face. I sobbed all the way home. And now I’m back to square one. I’m really hoping my dr. will consent to referring me to another, different specialist.
So all told, the appointment was an epic fail. The dr.’s waiting room was over-crowded and far behind schedule (even though my appointment was at 8:45 in the morning) and I think she just didn’t want to take me on. I think she’s overworked and doesn’t want a hard-to-figure-out-case like myself.
My response to all this (besides the sobbing and despair, and all that jazz) was to get my most favourite comfort food – one that I’ve denied myself for three years because of how nasty it’d make my digestive system feel. I said “screw it,” took two gravol and a buscopan, and ordered a Taco Salad. It was heavenly. And yes, it was worth the 6 hours of agony I endured about two hours later. It was worth every second.
So what did all this teach me? 1: Dr.’s can be discriminatory if you have even a slight history of hum-drum mental health problems like depression. Dr.’s can also discriminate if you are not the weight they think you should be (I was told people who have intestinal problems “are always very thin”, and I’m curvy and “look healthy”, so I must be fine) 2: Dr.’s can take the easy way out by saying “it’s all in your head” and knowingly screw you over, and can carry on with their day just fine, thank you very much. 3: I have to shake it off and carry on and keep pushing. I have to demand help, and I have to keep demanding it until someone gets tired of hearing my voice and gives me the help I cannot provide for myself. And 4: when life gives you lemons, order a Baja Taco Salad to go with them.