Rachel Cooper / rachelc78

Outlandish Medicine

I love when people who know nothing about my life or my health decide to negatively comment on them. Actually, no, I don’t. But I do tend to like telling them off. Maybe a little too much.

From Rachel of Nottingham:

Or perhaps Dottie is just sick and tired of your never ending requests for things, and your never ending appointments and can spot a time wasting, hypochondriac!

And IT IS outlandish that you have anything done, since you don’t work and don’t pay for anything.

Go Dottie!

First, we’re going to talk about Dottie and how this happens with every single patient that has to deal with her. When she used to be stationed at the nurses’ desk, she would not do her job. There would be four people in the little waiting queue for her. It would take an hour to be seen by her and many times she still wouldn’t finish the referral while the patient was there. Not because she couldn’t, but because she chose not to do her job. She would spend her time talking and complaining and just being a pain in the ass. When she would talk to the nurses, they’d roll their eyes at her. They don’t like the woman either. The referral person on the other side of the same practice was never disrespected in that way & she was almost always able to get a referral completed within minutes.

Dottie doesn’t deserve any praise at all.

Second, if I were a hypochondriac, it still wouldn’t be acceptable for Dottie to behave this way. If anyone was going to say no to the referrals then it would need to be the doctors who want them done. And hypochondria is a recognized mental health condition. It doesn’t deserve the kind of crap that people (like you) like to say about it.

People with hypochondria are people who believe that there is something wrong with them because of how their brains work, not because they just want to be annoying. They don’t choose to be the way that they are. It’s a condition that itself needs treatment. You would know all of that if you would bother to spend any length of time reading up on it before you started throwing it around to shame and disparage people. If you can’t have compassion for people with that sort of issue, knowing the anxiety that they go through every day, then that says a lot about you–none of it is good.

From the Mayo Clinic:

When you have hypochondria, you become obsessed with the idea that you have a serious or life-threatening disease that hasn’t been diagnosed yet. This causes significant anxiety that goes on for months or longer, even though there’s no clear medical evidence that you have a serious health problem. Hypochondria is also called hypochondriasis.

While having some anxiety about your health is normal, full-blown hypochondria is so consuming that it causes problems with work, relationships or other areas of your life. Severe hypochondria can be completely disabling.

Although hypochondria is a long-term condition, you don’t have to live your life constantly worrying about your health. Treatment such as psychological counseling, medications or simply learning about hypochondria may help ease your worries.

Third, I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m not making never-ending requests. The constant appointments you’re speaking of? No. Sure, I have more appointments than a really healthy person my age, but I’m not really healthy. I have actual health conditions–physical and mental. And they are, according to experts, not internet trolls, actually disabling conditions. When I talk about my health issues on my blog, which is my right, I am talking about what I’m going through as a person with chronic illnesses that have been diagnosed by actual medical professionals, not by internet trolls.

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I have been diagnosed with it. I have been told that I have to be extremely careful about the things that I do because of it. People with it can have regular issues with sprains. It can also impact non-joint parts of the body. I may end up having to go through some form of physical therapy regularly for the rest of my life. That isn’t because I’m lazy and putting off working or because there’s nothing really wrong with me or whatever silly idea you have about me. The need for physical therapy is due to defects in my connective tissue that are a result of genetic condition. And when you have issues like EDS, aquatic therapy can actually be better because of the type of resistance that it offers. It lowers the likelihood of other injuries. From experience, it also hurts less in general.

Again, from the Mayo Clinic:

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provides strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body.

People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them.

A more severe form of the disorder, called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can cause the walls of your blood vessels, intestines or uterus to rupture. If you have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, you may want to talk to a genetic counselor before starting a family.

You know the February referral issue that I mentioned in my post yesterday? That was the resident’s decision. Not mine. I went in for knee pain. She could tell there was something up with my knee, but she couldn’t treat it, so she wanted a specialist’s opinion. That’s what doctors are supposed to do. If they don’t know what’s going on, then they send you to someone who does. The knee pain was in part from a fall I had taken last year, but it was also due to weak joints from the EDS.

The need for the colonoscopy and endoscopy weren’t things I wanted to have done. They were things I needed to have done because the hematologist, the one I see for my IDA (iron deficiency anemia) and B12 deficiency diagnoses, was trying to figure out where the blood and iron was going.1 Part of why I haven’t called my gastroenterologist to get another routine endoscopy is that I don’t want to have one done. They are not fun experiences, but they are necessary. I take 80mg of a proton-pump inhibitor and I take maximum strength Gaviscon just to quell the acid & esophageal spasms enough so that I can fall asleep. That’s not exactly a fun thing to experience. 

This request for pool therapy is to stop the injuries that happen when I walk. I’m walking to get healthier. I’m walking to make my body stronger. I’m walking to lose weight. I’m walking so that I can cut down on all those appointments. This will build up the muscles so that they can help keep my ligaments and tendons from being damaged by the exercise. 

I requested one lab in the email to the attending. One. That was for parathyroid hormone. I requested it because I have a vitamin D deficiency. Hyperparathyroidism can both cause that sort of deficiency and can result from a long-term vitamin D deficiency. It can also raise the risk of fractures and may either be a cause or an effect of being obese. I asked for the test because I thought that if that was playing any role in this deficiency or in the risk of fractures that if I caught it soon enough, I could prevent future issues. If it comes back normal, then I’ll accept that and move on.

The other tests I requested at the appointment when the PTH request was left off were B6 and D.

In 2012, my Vitamin D level was 11.5. In 2014, it was 20. My D level from this year’s test, after I had been told to take another 2000 IU per day, was 22.9. The lowest that number is supposed to be is around 25. It is best if it’s between 30.0 & 74.0. Given my health history and my mom’s history of D deficiency and fractures, I’m supposed to try to get my level up to about 50 or 60. I’m trying to at least get it to the low end of normal so that my risk of fractures drops.

Several years ago I was also treated for a B6 deficiency by my neurologist at that time. I ended up taking myself off of B6 a few years later. I decided that I wanted to make sure that my level was high enough. It’s 6.2. Some people think it should be at least 5. Others say 7. I may start taking the vitamin again or I may not. I just wanted to make sure it hadn’t dropped.

Now, if you think that my other interactions with the resident since June were me being overly anxious about some real or imagined condition, it wasn’t. I had read the lipid panel, microalbumin, and A1C results. All were high. I was asking the doctor what sort of diet would help lower my cholesterol and A1C. I was also asking if Lavaza could be used instead of statins if medication was needed. I was also asking if the microalbumin, which is a urine test, could have been a false positive because I took it while on my period. Her answers? A Mediterranean diet would help, I’d need another appointment to talk medicines, and the microalbumin level could have a false positive if taken while menstruating. She also said I needed to exercise 30 minutes per day. My response to that was that I needed to do some pool therapy before I got back up to 30 minutes a day, especially since my knees are collapsing when I’ve been exercising less than 10 minutes per day. She said pool therapy would definitely help with that. I asked about the status of that referral. She said she’d get back to me. That’s the whole interaction that went on there.

None of the tests or referrals were outlandish in anyway. They were actually quite logical in nature. Now, your behavior, on the other hand, could be considered outlandish. You were rude and showed that you really know jack-shit about my health.

I’m sure that you thought you’d make me cry, but you didn’t. I laughed at it. A lot. I also added you to the spam filter so that your lovely behavior never again graces my comment section. If you don’t know how to behave like an adult, you can click that little X on your browser because I’m not here for this sort of childish behavior. Buh-bye now.

  1. The gastroenterologist determined after the scope that the iron wasn’t being absorbed through food because of the gastric bypass surgery I had in 2003. The surgeon had cut out too much of the iron-absorbing section. 

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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