Paging Dr. Jackass

Doctors at the General Assembly
Doctors at the General Assembly (Photo credit: Waldo Jaquith)

I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago in an immense amount of pain. I have suffered from cervical dystonia for about 20 years. It’s a muscle spasm I get in my neck that starts at the base of my skull and goes to the tip of my shoulder. (You were thinking the other cervical, weren’t you?) And by spasm, I mean that my muscle tightens and it doesn’t loosen at all. Just turning my head shoots so much pain through my body that I see spots and become nauseous. This problem pops its ugly little head about once a year or so and just go to bed until it stops hurting. That usually takes a day or two. Sometimes, when it’s really, really bad, I go to the doctor and beg for pain pills. Other than that and my usual girly check up every couple of years, I never go to the doctor. I’m fortunate enough to be pretty darn healthy. That day, however, I couldn’t get to the doctor fast enough.

The doctor came in and started looking through my file. He says, “Oh, you haven’t been in here in six years. Who have you been seeing instead of me?”

I reply, “I haven’t needed to go to a doctor other than a minor foot problem and I saw a specialist for that. And of course my gynecologist.”

“Oh, well I see you’re taking Zoloft. Who wrote the prescription for that?” he asks almost accusingly.

“My gynecologist prescribed that,” I respond matter-of-factly.

“Well, we both know a gynecologist isn’t a real doctor.”

Huh? That’s weird, because I sure thought when she stuck her head and various instruments up my hoo hah that she was qualified. Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. I was just ready to get a muscle relaxer and go to bed. I smiled nervously and left it at that.

Then he says, “Oh my, you’ve gained quite a bit of weight since you were here in 2008.” He said it as a statement but looked at me as if it were a question. I didn’t respond. I was in so much pain I really just wanted to get out of there. “In fact, you’ve gained 29 pounds since you were last here. That’s a lot.”

“Yeah, it’s a lot,” I agreed.

“Well, what’s going on?” He puts down the computer and just stares at me daring me to explain myself. His legs were crossed and his arms folded across his chest. This is a defensive posture, however he makes me feel as if I’m the one with something to defend.

“Oh, you know, just the usual stuff that everyone has to deal with. I have busy kids and a full time job and it’s a struggle. You know.”

He gets up and begins his examination. I’m taking deep breaths in willing myself not to puke from the pain. Or cry from the humiliation. “Well, everyone gets busy. You have to get that under control.”

“Yes, I realize that. Today I would just like to move my head without blacking out. Then I can maybe focus on that,” I said, willing my voice not to quiver.

He feels around on my neck and shoulder and agrees that my muscles are definitely tight. (Duh) He says he would like to get another X-ray to compare it to the last one (the last X-ray showed bone loss because the muscle spasms were so intense). He tells me he’s going to give me two prescriptions and tells me when to take them. He followed up by telling me he wants to get me in later when I’m feeling better for a complete physical. “Yeah, sure,” I agreed.

He left the room and his nurse came back in to give me instructions on where to get the X-ray. As I sat there waiting for the X-ray, I texted my husband and a bff and told them my doctor told me I was fat. Then it occurred to me that he spent more time preaching to me about gaining 29 pounds than he did with my recurring problem. In fact, he didn’t even offer a treatment for the problem. He just threw some drugs at it to get rid of the symptoms. Sure, I went to the doctor with the intent purpose of getting drugs. But, if we could figure out what the hell is causing this problem and prevent it from ever happening again that would be pretty great.

The more I thought about this, the more pissed I got. Where does he get off talking to me like that? I would have to think there’s a better way to discuss my weight than that. And if I’m there for a problem, shouldn’t that be the focus of our visit? I’m not morbidly obese, jack ass. And my weight has no bearing on the problem at hand.

Thanks for the muscle relaxers, Dr. Jackass. Note to self: Eat less crap. And invest some time in finding a doctor with a decent bedside manner.

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3 thoughts on “Paging Dr. Jackass

Add yours

  1. Wow, always makes me cringe when members of my field act like that. It embarrasses the rest of us. So sorry you had to experience that encounter. I don’t blame you for being angry. And insinuating a gynecologist isn’t a real doctor? Hmm, considering how much time they spend in the OR doing surgery, I sure hope they are!

  2. LOL! I thought the same thing! I am aware he is not representative of the majority of the medical field, thankfully. I really didn’t know how to react to him. I even scheduled a follow up! Of course, once I was able to compose myself I cancelled. I will never step foot in his office again. Perhaps I should send him a link to my blog? 😉

    1. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to write a letter to his practice manager–once the anger subsides–letting her/him know how unpleasant and frustrating that visit was. Enough letters like that might help the physician become aware of his deficiencies and help him improve. Or he might grumble and tell the office manager he’s perfect, but at least you made your feelings known. My guess is if he treated you that way, he may have done the same to others.

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