Day: April 7, 2011

Be Your Own Doctor

Today I received a reminder of a lesson I have learned many times- to always know my body and demand the treatment it deserves.

Obviously I have never been to medical school; however, my hunch is the training most doctors receive is to help them treat the widest swath of patients they might come into contact with.  In other words, they learn what symptoms to expect and what treatments to give for the majority of people.

Unfortunately my body does not behave like the majority.  If there is something weird, unusual or bizarre you can bet I will wind up with it.  I can’t just have a normal condition it is always some strange variation.

Case in point- my recent chest pain.  For over a month my chest has been achy and sore.  I haven’t felt great but not obviously sick (no cough or fever ect).  Obviously I knew something was wrong but I went to my endocrinologist and he said it was costocondritis which is a fancy way for saying a virus in the chest muscles.  He said ‘take ib profin and it should go away in two weeks.  A month later the pain is still there making breathing, exercising, sneezing, and most other things difficult.

Finally on Monday I had a meltdown (as I am sure some of you could tell from my last post) and went to my regular doctor to see if he could do anything.  He felt the painful area, examined me and then said, ‘Well, I’m stumped’.  I must admit I was very frustrated and upset (and even had an ill advised calorie binge- one slip up in 3 months- oh well! )

In desperation I turned to the internet and looked up ‘chest pain’ and found an article on web MD about how kidney problems can cause chest pain.  This alarmed me because some of the medicine I take can give a side effect of kidney problems.  I immediately called my doctor and told him I would like to test for kidney problems.  He said it was ‘a long shot’ but if I wanted it done, he would do it.

On Tuesday I went in and got the blood work done and today I got the results.  Fortunately my kidney looks fine although my serem creatinine is a bit low, which I am looking into.

However, the interesting result is that my white blood count was high and that means- da du da- I have an infection.  This diagnosis makes me  a little crazy because I asked my endocrinologist at least three times if I should have an antibiotic and he refused.   I know over-prescription of antibiotics is a problem but clearly in this case I could have saved a lot of pain for over a month if my doctor had listened to me, done this test earlier, and gotten me on an antibiotic much sooner. Not too mention I’ve had an infection growing inside my chest for over a month- that can’t be good!  I’m just glad I will start on them today so the pain will be lessened and I can get back to my regular routine.

Anyway, it was a reminder to me that nobody knows my body better than me.  I need to be confident in my symptoms and demand the tests/treatments I feel I need- even if the doctor thinks it is a ‘long shot’.  It also reminds me that I am the one responsible for my health and even with all their education, doctors today will not be enough for my freakish body to get healthy.

I have also re-learned to ignore what a doctor may describe as ‘normal’.  What matters to me is how I feel.  For instance, I don’t care if 79-90 is considered a normal blood sugar reading.  I know when I have such a low number I feel terrible.  I also never get fevers (even when I had my appendix out didn’t get above 100), and yet I know I have had fevers because I feel the fever even if the thermometer shows a ‘normal’ reading.

All that matters is how I feel and so I will continue to be a stubborn patient insisting upon ‘long shot’ tests and treatments.  The doctor’s should just be glad I don’t have kids because I can tell you I will be much more stubborn when it comes to their health! You can count on that!