Everyone in my life gets on me for researching my medical issues on the internet. But, honestly, I think my relentless searching is justified; I have never had a medical professional really help me.
I have been dealing with a handful of unfortunate symptoms for quite some time now. Admittedly, I have been putting off going to a doctor for far too long. Being a full-time student makes it pretty easy to find an excuse a day not to go but I am big, graduated-girl now and considering I'm still dealing with some symptoms, I made an appointment to see someone.
Quick disclaimer: I have been gluten and dairy free, as instructed by a physician, for well over a year now. As you might be able to imagine, my diagnosis' describing why I have been cut off from these food groups are reflected in my medical records. I would be lying if I said I haven't touched dairy or gluten since the day my doctor told me not to. Yet, recently at least, I have been pretty good about it.
On the day of the appointment, we started things off with me running my doctor through all my various issues. He was unamused. Although he sat and nodded his bald head the whole time I spoke, his facial expression made me feel like I was telling him things he didn't care or need to know.
When I was finished explaining, he looked up at me with a huge grin and said that he knew exactly what would fix all my problems: stop eating dairy!
He actually had the audacity to look at ME- someone who has turned her head from ice cream more times than she would like to this past year -and educates them on all the dairy-free alternatives wholefoods has to offer. He even said, "if you love yogurt, butter, or ice cream don't you worry, there are dairy-free brands of everything at Whole Foods."
All I could think was, did you even bother looking at my medical history, or no? Just wondering, because if you did, you might know that I literally cannot eat dairy- but thanks for the advice?
I didn't want to be rude or seem like a know-it-all, but he was making me mad. He was talking to me in a condescending tone as if I had no idea almond milk existed, or what a vegan was. I lived in LA for god sake, I am versed in all things 'plant-based'.
Not to mention, he was mansplaining. I am sure that there is someone in this world who could have benefited from his advice. But that person sure as hell was not me.
I tell this man ( that I have been dairy free for a year. Yet, he insisted that a strict dairy-free lifestyle was still the cure to all my problems.
Later on in our conversation, he begins telling me about how stress affects our health. He begins to tell me that even though I think I am super excited to be starting a new job, "even happy times are stressful, did you know that the most stressful day for most women is their wedding day?"
Thank God he let me in on the secret that this huge change in my life has been stressful.
At that point, I actually wanted to pull my hairs out. Did this man actually think he needed to educate me about the fact that good things are sometimes stressful? Did he think I had no idea about starting a new job, moving away from my family, and dealing with a variety of financial issues was not going to be the equivalent of vacationing in Hawaii?
Towards the end of the appointment, I started explaining to him that I really just needed him to refer me to a specialist. Living with some of the symptoms I have been dealing with is pretty frustrating. They get in the way of day-to-day life and I really do need some answers and help.
The doctor insisted that I should spend a few months being dairy free first before referring me. He refused to order me a blood test, x-rays, nothing. Apparently being dairy free was going to solve every single one of my list of issues. This is when I became fed up.
Never in my life have I been this blunt with a medical provider, but in an angry tone, I told him he wasn't doing his job.
My biggest issue has been that I have completely reworked my lifestyle on the basis of a diagnosis I received last year. All I wanted my doctor to do was affirm this diagnosis; or otherwise, I asked for a standard, the second opinion.
There was no reason for him to assume that all I needed was to take a break from dairy - especially considering, I already have tried that method.
Where's the blood test? Why not refer me to someone who may know more about my symptoms? Why are you assuming that there is nothing to be concerned about here?
I recognize doctors are not wizards. But they do have tools and methods that they can employ, at their own discretion. And call me crazy, but I think that when a patient comes to their doctor with complaints of pain and ongoing curious symptoms, it is their job to call upon those tools and methods (blood tests, medical tests, x-rays, etc.) to at the absolute lease, rule certain things out.