Posted in personal
July 11, 2012

Don’t be that person.

I went to my gastroenterologist yesterday. Things are good. No flare ups. I’m still anemic, but so far as health issues go- I’d rather hear that my anemia is my only problem, as opposed to needing more tests. (this is the initial post about my health issues for those who are newish here)

Today, however, I’m here to share you the story of the woman (I believe she was at or about her mid 50’s) who had the appointment ahead of me. As a cautionary tale for anyone seeing a specialist for the first time.

Now, the walls in this office are painfully thin and this woman was loud. While I was busy trying to read Mansfield Park, I was having a hard time focusing on Mr. Crawford’s shenanigans (and Fanny’s polite outrage) because I could hear every detail of this woman’s health history.

I won’t go into the details, but this should give you a rough idea of how it went.

“Here’s the file from my general practitioner, and here are the test results from the tests that he ordered.” That’s how it started. Promising, right? Then she veered off on a long tangent about how she was so worried that her medically necessary tests were going to give her cancer, and that they hadn’t done the right kind of ultrasound- since her girlfriend had another kind. So he looked over the results and started to talk about what seemed to be the likeliest cuplrit and how they could test to rule it out. All while she suggested diseases. Because she’d done research on Web MD.

“Oh. I forgot. Just last week, I fainted at the store and the paramedics said it was vertigo.”

So he went back to the beginning to discuss her symptoms. That’s when she mentioned symptoms that worsened in the last month. So he asked if there had been any changes in her diet or lifestyle. “Oh no.”

So he started to re-evaluate where to start. “Oh. I just remembered.” That’s when she mentioned that for the last month she’d been on one of those fad diets where you drink shakes for two meals and only have one solid meal. “But that shouldn’t change anything.” (This is the point where I had a hard time keeping quiet, because it’s a gastroenterologist! Diets can change everything!)

At which point he told her to go back to regular meals, and that losing weight was less important than ruling out her diet as the cause of the symptoms.

THIRTY MINUTES of this. Don’t be this woman. If you’re seeing a specialist for the first time, give them the tests and then tell them ALL your health problems. All at once. Not one at a time.

And stay off Web MD.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with weird stories like this…

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