Recently I went to the OBGYN for a procedure; an invasive, painful procedure that after some research I found that I didn’t need. Actually, the doctor said I didn’t need it, but wanted to do it just to be safe. I won’t go into details of what happened, but let’s just say, “How Many Dull Blades Must You Cut The Patient With Until You Find the Sharpest One?” was not fun. In fact it was carless on the doctor’s part. I left the hospital upset. I cried in the car because I knew what I went through was bullshit. When I did more research at home, and saw it unnecessary for my case, I was really angry. I was angry at myself for trusting some doctor (her name is Dr. Donde in Oakland by the way) that made me feel like a 2nd-year med school experiment. I was upset because I didn’t know if the nicks with the dull blades would cause an infection. Being in pain didn’t help either. This all got me to thinking about trusting medical professionals with your body. There are good doctors. And there are some who barely made it out of med school or got their degree at a drive through window. Just because they have those letters behind their name, doesn’t mean they have your best interest. Nor does it mean they know what’s best for you.
This wasn’t my first encounter with a foolish physician. Around the age of 3 or 4 I was accidentally given adult medication at my grandparent’s home. My mother found me under the dining room table, curled up in a deep sleep. I was on some Lil’ Wayne, sizzurp OD sleep. My mother rushed me to the hospital. We get to the hospital and the doctor tells my mother that I need more drugs. Does that make any damn sense? Thank God my mother’s a smart woman and thought pumping my little borderline OD body with more drugs would probably kill me. She called my pediatrician and he said no more drugs for me. Luckily I have lived to tell this story. What my mother did was great. She could’ve easily listened to that idiot doctor out of panic. But she was skeptical and got a second opinion. Those two actions saved my life.
Sometimes you have to bring in a supporter with you to the doctor. They’ll step up their game if they know their patient has someone keeping an eye on them. I don’t know any doctor who wants a witness to their mistakes. I wish my grandfather had done this early on during his bout with cancer. When he began to lose his voice, the quack doctor he was going to gave him antibiotics and said it was some kind of infection. Even I, the B biology student knew that didn’t make any sense. My grandfather kept getting worse. But he wouldn’t allow any of us to go with him to the doctor. Well, after convincing him to switch doctors they ran proper tests on him and found it was throat cancer. Sometimes I wonder if would he still be around had he allowed someone with him early on to his hospital visits.
I can tell you other horror stories. My sorority sister is a doctor and she always tells me, “Don’t get sick,” because of the dumb, careless things some doctors and nurses do in hospitals. Working in mental health advocacy, I’ve heard stories about psychiatric hospitals that will seriously make you cry. I’m lucky that I have a great general med doctor. And even if I didn’t agree with her 100%, I’d get a second opinion.
I learned a tough lesson from that OBGYN. A white coat, or “Dr” in front of their name, doesn’t always equate to being a solid expert. I’ve heard stories of doctors who like to perform surgeries and recommend them to patients for the heck of it. Despite researching what to possibly expect during the appointment, despite Dr. Donde saying I didn’t need the procedure, I let my guard down a bit when she said she wanted to take a sample “just to be safe.” And the doctor telling me twice I was fine before performing the procedure should’ve been a red flag. But I’m not going to beat myself up for her bad call. I’ll just use it as a reminder for the next time I visit the doctor, dentist, etc.
There have been times when a doctor suggested a certain treatment or drug for me that I knew was ludicrous and I told them no. But what happened last week to my body, to me, will not happen again.
I encourage you to do your research before going to a doctor if you can. If they want to do a procedure, research it before saying yes. The web is not always accurate when it comes to health. But forums can be really helpful because there are others on there with the same experience or symptoms as you and can talk about it. And get a 2nd, 3rd opinion. Also follow your gut. If the doctor is a poor communicator, doesn’t make sense, seems like an idiot or just comes off as if he/she could care less, than you may want to think about hopping off of that exam table quick.
Take care of your body. Love your body. Protect your body.
**I am not a medical expert. Consult your doctors before making any changes to medical care and/or routines.