Continued from Why I Hate My Consultant. Part One
Flicking quickly through my records with just a casual glance, Mr C then nonchalantly asked about my medical history, even though they were right there in front of him. At this point, I was beginning to feel slightly peeved with his throw away ‘I’d rather be working at some posh clinic then here with the plebeians of society’ manner, but still I listed them off one by one and watched, as I always do with those in the medical profession, which one of my ailments he would group together as one, (Fibromyalgia and CFS) and which ones he would ignored altogether. (ME and Lupus, which by the way, he said I didn’t have, but was which was later confirmed when another consultant sent me for a full body scan. Sour grapes anyone?)
After jotting down a few notes, (probably he’s golfing scores) Mr C leaned back in his chair and with a grin not unlike a predatory shark, asked, “so what seems to be the problem then?” I’m not sure how long I looked at the man, but by the smirk slowly fading from his face, I’m guessing it was quite a long time. Maybe if he had taken the time to read any one of the thousands of pages in my medical file, he might have actually known what I was there for. After all, he is the specialist. So I rattled off the usual complaints, and told him about the recent pain in my bones. He in reply, rattled off the usual “it probably due to Fibro”, because he thinks EVERYTHING is related to Fibro and then pretty much told me that my concerns were rubbish and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. And then he ended his sentence with, “but I’ve told you all this before.”
Now picture a bull and a man waving a red flag. I was that bull and pretty soon, I was taking him down a trip down memory lane.
“Er, no you didn’t. In fact, you haven’t told me anything about my condition apart from the fact that it all relates to Fibro. You poke and prod, write a few notes and then tell me you’ll see me in 6 months time.” Of course he took umbrage at such an accusation so I reminded him of how my original diagnosis had happened. How he had tested me for the 18 tender points, and at the end of it said, “Oh yes, you have Fibromyalgia.” I’d never heard of that condition until that day, but that didn’t stop him from throwing a rather flimsy leaflet at me and saying, and I quote, “go and look it up.” I finished by telling him that everything I knew, I researched myself. That if he bothered to look at my files, he would know that not all my ailments derived from Fibro and that each one was not one and the same. I also told him that he needed to learn some bedside manner, (I may have swore at this point) listen to his patients instead of dismissing them and to not be so blooding patronising. Finally, I assured him that I would be going back to my doctor to ask whether I could be referred to someone who knew what they were talking about. And with that, I walked out…well hobbled rather slowly, which kind of spoiled my dramatic exit.
By the time I saw my doctor that afternoon, Mr Consultant had already faxed him a letter to say that I had been rude and uncooperative and that he no longer wanted to see me. And that’s when good ole Doc let me in on a little secret. Apparently, Mr C’s colleagues saw him in pretty much the same way that I did.
Now I’m ballsy enough to speak my mind and to say when I’m not happy with something, but many people aren’t. The stories I’ve heard and read about those who don’t feel able to stand up to their consultants, beggars belief. Some have been told that they’re worrying about nothing, others that it’s all in their heads and others still, have been treated as though their sole reason for seeking medical attention is just to get drugs. People have written about feeling small, or like they don’t matter and some have left their appointments in tears because their concerns had been dismissed, or they were denied much needed pain killers.
Just because these men and women hold a medical certificate, that does not give them the right to treat their patients as second class citizens. They may know the mechanics of what is going on in our bodies, but they have no idea how it feels or how it impacts upon our daily lives. Who are they to decide that they know better than us, or about what each of us is going through?
We may have come a long way when it comes to the field of medical science, but some doctors still have a lot to learn about how to treat people with kindness and respect and to most of all listen and take them seriously.