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Time For A Doctor-ectomy

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | May 20, 2023

When I was a kid, my parents took my brother and me to the same pediatric practice for years. The doctors and nurses were (generally) very good, and since we’d been going there since I was in preschool, they all knew us like family. They also all knew that I never ran a fever (still don’t) and I had an absurdly high pain tolerance.

One day when I was in junior high school, I felt like I had gas, only I couldn’t pass it. The pressure came and went over the next few days, then became constant, and then got worse. Mom took me to the doctor’s office, but for some reason (I think everyone else was at a conference or something) the only one available to see me for the next few days was a new doctor who’d just joined the practice. [New Doctor] did a thorough examination, proclaimed that it was just gas, and told Mom and me how to deal with it.

The next day, the pressure was still there and had turned into pain. Mom took me back, and [New Doctor] looked at me again, and again he proclaimed that it was gas. Mom was worried that it might be appendicitis, but [New Doctor] dismissed that out of hand since I wasn’t running a fever and wasn’t in that much pain. Despite Mom’s insistence that I never run a fever and have an incredible pain tolerance (and one of the nurses backing her up), he insisted and sent us on our way.

The next day, the pain was worse, to the point where I couldn’t go to school. Mom dragged me back to the doctor’s office, and again [New Doctor] dismissed the possibility that it was appendicitis and actually accused me of faking to get out of school. Needless to say, Mom was pissed.

The day after that, I was in so much pain that I was having a hard time walking and couldn’t really stand up straight. Mom called the practice and demanded that someone other than [New Doctor] see me. The nurse practitioner agreed to come in even though it was her day off and examine me.

We got to the office, and [Nurse Practitioner] took one look at me — I don’t think she even had me get on the exam bench — and told Mom to drive me to the local emergency room immediately.

Mom did so, the ER doctors brought me back to an exam room and did a little poking and prodding around my abdomen, did an X-ray or CAT Scan (I think — this is pushing twenty-five years ago now), and then scheduled me for emergency surgery.

Mom and [Nurse Practitioner] were right: it was appendicitis. My surgeon said that my appendix had been perforated and, if they hadn’t bumped my surgery up to earlier in the day, would have ruptured completely. I was less than an hour away from indescribable agony and severe medical complications.

[New Doctor] adamantly refused to believe it had been appendicitis since I hadn’t been running a fever and had never been doubled over in agony, even after being shown my updated medical records. Nobody at that practice let him live the incident down, and from what I remember, he moved to a different practice shortly thereafter.

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