Suffering From A Bad Case Of Bias

, , , | Healthy | December 5, 2018

(This takes place shortly after my 19th birthday. I want to get a tattoo, much to my parents’ dislike, but since I am an adult now, they relent and my father goes with me as I get it done. I get a Gallifreyan circle — from Doctor Who — on my left forearm. It comes out really nice and I love it. However, a few months later, when it is fully healed, I develop some little red bumps over the tattoo and the skin is very itchy. I think it’s a rash, but it doesn’t look serious. I go to my family doctor to check it out, since I rarely get rashes at all. For context, my doctor is originally from Germany, and she has a thick accent. She also doesn’t have any sense of humor and is really blunt, which makes it hard to talk to her sometimes. I go in for my appointment and show her my arm.)

Me: “I think I have a rash on my arm, but I don’t know how I got it. I don’t have allergies to anything, so I’m not sure what triggered it.”

Doctor: “When did you get the tattoo?”

Me: “In May, a few months ago.”

(It’s August now.)

Doctor: *cutting me off* “You’re allergic to tattoo ink. No more tattoos.”

Me: *thinking* “If I’m allergic to the ink, wouldn’t I have had a reaction immediately?” *out loud* “Are you sure? It’s been a good amount of time since I got it, and I didn’t have a reaction when it was healing.”

Doctor: “You’re allergic to tattoo ink. You can’t get any more tattoos. You’re lucky you came in now; it could have developed into something worse. “

Me: “If I got this rash right after getting the tattoo, I would agree with you. But it’s been about three months, and it’s fully healed. Is there any possibility it could be something else?”

Doctor: “You’re not listening to me. You. Are. Allergic. To. The. Ink. Do not get any more tattoos. And don’t get any more piercings, either.”

(I only have my ears and nose pierced, but I don’t know why that mattered since they also healed fine. I was skeptical, but didn’t push it further. She prescribed a rash cream and said to use it until it clears up, or come back to see her if it doesn’t. I decided to call the tattoo shop I went to to ask them about it, which I now know I should have done in the first place! They told me not to worry, since it was fully healed, and it wasn’t a typical allergic reaction, especially months later. I used the cream and the rash was completely gone about a week later. I now have four tattoos, and have never developed another rash. Allergic, indeed!)

Doctors Without Diagnoses

, , , , | Healthy | December 3, 2018

(I get a strange painful lump that shows up while I’m pregnant. The doctor tells me not to worry and that it will go away after birth. Six months postpartum, I go to get it checked out again. The doctor tells me to give it more time to heal. Eight months postpartum, I go to a GP to get it checked out, because I’m still in pain and tired of being blown off. I’m quickly diagnosed with a hernia. As I’m getting ready for surgery:)

Me: “I wish my doctor had just told me he couldn’t do anything and told me to go see someone else.”

Nurse: “Well, that would have meant having to put aside his ego; doctors don’t like to do that.”

Now I Know My XYZ-Packs

, , , | Healthy | December 2, 2018

(The urgent care doctor says my test results for flu and strep are negative. She prescribes anti-nausea medication and wants to put me on antibiotics for ten days. I have some complicated gut issues, and I explain that the last time I was put on antibiotics, my stomach was messed up for weeks.)

Doctor: “There aren’t any antibiotics you can tolerate?”

Me: “I really don’t know. I could try taking them, but if I get sick, I can’t stop taking them until the bottle is empty, right?”

Doctor: “Oh, I will just give you the five-day Z-Pack, then.”

Me: *trying not to ask her if she’s stupid* “Isn’t the Z-Pack stronger, since it’s used for only a few days?”

Doctor: *lightly and carelessly sighs as she responds* “Oh, yeah…”

All-Bagel Diet Proven Unhealthy, But Not For The Reasons You Might Think

, , , , | Healthy | November 10, 2018

(I’ve struggled with disordered eating since I was fairly young; it flares up any time I get stressed and can last anywhere from just a few days to as long as a year. People who learn about my issues with food rarely take them seriously because I am overweight; I’m 5’5”, about 165 pounds, and a US size 12. At the time of this story I have been in college for about a year and am in the middle of a rough patch, and I decide to go to the university health center to seek help.)

Me: “I think I might have an eating disorder. Whenever I’m experiencing a lot of stress, I stop eating and spend all of my time in the gym.”

Doctor: *laughs* “I wish I had that problem! When I’m stressed, I head straight for the cookies! So, what brings you in here today?”

Me: “Uh… That’s why I’m here. I’m worried that I might have a problem because I starve myself.”

Doctor: *laughing again* “I hardly think you need to worry about that! A little less food and a little more exercise can only do you good!”

Me: “I… Are you sure? I mean, I’ve eaten two bagels in the last week.”

Doctor: “See, that’s your real problem! Carbs go straight to your gut, you know.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand; all I’ve eaten in the past seven days is two bagels. I tried to eat a sandwich yesterday, but I got so anxious I couldn’t swallow. I really think something is wrong.”

Doctor: “Well, if I were you, I’d try the Keto diet. It works great, and you’ll be in shape in no time!”

(I gave up then and asked her about some bruising on my limbs, for which she recommended iron supplements and weight loss. Fortunately, my roommate noticed my disordered eating a few days later and put me in touch with a local counseling clinic, where I got some actual help.)

Doctors Follow The Same Old Tired Formula

, , , | Healthy | November 6, 2018

(I give birth to my son, and through some great support from my local breastfeeding support group, I’m able to successfully breastfeed him without supplementing with formula. When he is eight months old, I visit the paediatrician for a check-up.)

Doctor: “What formula does he have?”

Me: “He is breastfed.”

Doctor: “What milk does he have?”

Me: “Breast milk.”

Doctor: *sighing irritably* “WHAT FORMULA DOES HE HAVE?”

Me: *confused* “He doesn’t drink formula; he is breastfed.”

Doctor: “Okay, okay. What follow-on milk does he have?”

Me: “He doesn’t; he drinks breast-milk.”

Doctor: *glares at me as if I’m being difficult* “What… yogurt-y drinks does he have?”

Me: “HE… IS… EXCLUSIVELY… BREASTFED!”

(The doctor slammed the notes shut with irritation, and then blinked at me when he realised my son had been feeding this whole time!)

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