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I Don’t Drink, But After This, I Wanna

, , , , , | Healthy | May 29, 2019

(I am 19, and I go in for my annual checkup at the doctor. I am given a standard medical questionnaire to fill in. One of the questions is, “On average, how many units of alcohol do you drink a week?” I have never been a big drinker, not even as a teen. Not for any particular reason; it just isn’t my thing. At most, I have a few drinks on New Years and a few on my birthday. I write on the form that I have a couple of units a week, which would average out to the few drinks on my birthday and New Years with plenty of wiggle room to spare, just in case. I hand the form in, and it is sent to the doctor. Eventually, he calls me in. We do my height and weight and blood pressure. All good. Then he comes to my alcohol intake and narrows his eyes at me.)

Doctor: “You can be truthful, you know. I’m a medical professional.”

Me: “I know. I am being honest. I’m not a big drinker.”

(He stares at me for a while.)

Doctor: “I was young once. And I have teenage kids. I’m not going to judge you. Be honest.”

Me: “I am being honest. I’m not a drinker.”

Doctor: *condescendingly* “What do you do when you go clubbing? Drink water?”

(Taken aback, I shake my head. I don’t go clubbing; nightclubs are my idea of Hell. I have a full-time job, often working fifty or more hours, and I have no interest in going to loud clubs or bars on my days off.)

Me: “I don’t go out much. I’d rather go out for coffee than go clubbing.”

(The doctor raises his eyebrows.)

Doctor: “Okay, well, I’m going to put you down for ten units a week.”

(He picks up his pen and actually crosses out what I wrote.)

Me: “No! What I wrote was true. I don’t drink. Even a few units a week is generous. I don’t want you to change what I wrote.”

Doctor: “Look, just be honest. If you’re not, we can’t treat you.”

Me: “I am being honest. I don’t give you permission to change it.”

Doctor: “Well, I’m the doctor, and I have reason to believe you are being dishonest. You need to stop lying on medical forms. That’s a big deal. If you keep lying on them, you could die because we don’t have the right information.”

(I keep trying to argue with him but he writes over what I wrote and puts down ten units a week. Dumbfounded and unsure of what to do, I carry on with the rest of the exam, just wanting it to be over. As soon as I am out, I go straight to reception and tell them I want to make a complaint. At first, the receptionist is alarmed and asks what the problem is. When I tell her, she pauses and then rolls her eyes.)

Receptionist: “Look, sweetie, we won’t tell your parents. Everything you tell us is confidential.”

Me: “I live by myself. That’s not my issue. The doctor falsified my medical records without my permission.”

Receptionist: “Your medical records need to be accurate, sweetie. Otherwise, we can’t treat you.”

(The receptionist refuses to log my complaint. When I continue to insist, she looks down her nose at me.)

Receptionist: “For somebody who doesn’t drink, you sure are protesting a lot.”

(I wanted to scream at her that I was angry because they were DELIBERATELY FALSIFYING my medical records, but instead, I left and transferred to another practice.)

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