An Im-Patient Doctor

, , , , | Healthy | November 1, 2020

At eighteen, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Over the years, I’ve used different coping mechanisms to stay organized to varying degrees of effectiveness. I probably could have benefited from medications but felt like it wasn’t affecting my life too negatively.

Once the global health crisis hit, I was laid off.

When my industry reopens, the myriad of new regulations, sanitizing steps, changes to daily practice, and dealing with the public who may or may not have strong opinions on the rules all lead to my stress levels rising and my ADHD becoming more unmanageable. Brain fog and memory issues rise through the roof. Now, at thirty-six years old, I’ve decided to talk to a psychiatrist to look into medication options.

These are some highlights from my very frustrating two-hour appointment where I feel like I am defending the legitimacy of my diagnosis.

Doctor: “Your teachers never complained about you?”

Me: “No, but I still struggled in my classes.”

Doctor: “No one talked to your parents and your teachers never complained, so it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Also:

Doctor: “You studied subjects that required a lot of academic focus in college. So it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Me: “I ended up dropping out because I couldn’t maintain my GPA. I only did well in the classes I liked and needed for my degree. I failed the mandatory Bible classes everyone had to take.”

Bible college was a bad choice.

Also:

Doctor: “Do you ever have issues with distractibility?”

Me: “Sometimes I forget I’m hungry and I go all day without eating. Suppertime rolls around and I can’t figure out why I’m starving, and then I realize I might not have eaten at all that day.”

Doctor: “GOOD FOR YOU!”

Also:

Me: “My work has been really affected. All the new rules and regulations because of the health crisis have caused me to forget a lot of important things and it’s causing my performance to suffer.”

Doctor: “The crisis has changed everyone’s jobs. Your job isn’t that hard, anyway, not like a secretary. You don’t even need to concentrate that hard, not like a secretary.”

Also:

Doctor: “So why did you look for a diagnosis? Who referred you?”

Me: “My dad and my little sister both have it. I’ve had many of the same issues as my sister. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in kindergarten and they found out about her ADHD during those tests. At the time, I was just the chatty, loud, fidgety kid. I flew under the radar until years later when I realized I probably had it, as well. That’s why I looked into it.”

Doctor: “So why did you go looking for a diagnosis?”

Me: “Because it ran in my family? As I said, I already have a dad and sister with it, and I wanted to know before I went to college so I could be prepared during exams if I needed academic accommodations.”

I was close to tears a couple of times, and after I hung up, I realized I had been on the phone with him for two hours. I was so frustrated and upset. I talked with some friends about what happened and they all told me I should make a complaint.

I contacted my hospital’s Patient Experience Liaison as soon as I felt mentally ready. After an investigation, they found that I got an accurate assessment but his tone and wording did need to be addressed.

The doctor approached me and said he was sorry that I’d had such a negative experience and would use my complaints to focus on self-improvements. The director of the unit said my experience would be used to help teach students the importance of proper communication.

It’s in my file that I will never be scheduled with that doctor again.

There might not have been drastic changes, but I’m happy it’s on his record, and I hope that if others have issues with him, they also file reports.

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