I think we’ve probably all been here at one point or another…. And it is SUPER frustrating!!
I selected a new PCP and went in for my annual physical on Tuesday. The office and doctor were part of a reputable company, so I figured I wouldn’t have any issues with her. She came into the room after the nurse took my height, weight, vitals, and very brief health history.
The doctor asked me what brought me to her office, and I told her it was for my annual physical and to establish myself as a new patient. When she confirmed my health history, I told her about the abdominal pain I sometimes get, and the severe episode I had last year. Her response?
Sometimes we don’t always treat our bodies the way we should, especially our stomachs, so pain can happen, and sometimes it’s nothing.
That hit a nerve. I went for WEEKS vomiting after I ate, dealt with pain that wasn’t relieved by ANYTHING, and lost almost 15 pounds because I couldn’t eat. You’re really just going to brush that off? (It was at this point I was very tempted to tell her I was an RN/health coach and I’m not an idiot and I treat my body quite well thank you very much). And then she listened to my heart and lungs for about 30 seconds total, and asked me to come back if anything comes up.
………that was IT!
No questions about my diet, how often I exercise, sexual activity, birth control, how I’m going to the bathroom, family/living situation, alcohol use, or drug use. No physical exam – no looking at my eyes/ears/nose/throat, no abdominal exam, no skin exam, no breast exam, no reflex tests….. nothing!
Making the change…
I was hesitant to switch my PCP. I thought maybe I should wait until I’m sick and give her a chance… so I did what any responsible 24 year old would do and texted my mom.
She was right – there was no point in me staying with her. Even though I am a healthy individual, it is her responsibility to do a full physical exam. As a patient, it is my responsibility to find another doctor that does quality work on both the sick AND the healthy.
She may be an amazing doctor – but not for me.
So here’s the lesson today:
You ALWAYS need to advocate for your health. You must take that responsibility. Nobody really likes to be a pain in the butt, but if you are not persistent and you do have medical issues, you will fall through the cracks.
I think that the absolute best thing you can do is take really good care of yourself so you can avoid extra trips to the hospital/office. Get your nutrition in line, stay active, look into a health coach or nutritionist or dietitian or personal trainer if needed (trust me, it’s way less of a headache than dealing with our healthcare system!).
But of course, medical issues aren’t always avoidable. When they happen, stay strong, be persistent, listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion!
To your happy, healthy life!