I didn’t send my last letter to my GP, and have deleted it as it’s no longer relevant, because I eventually got a reply to my previous one. Bizarrely, it was tucked inside a meds delivery from the pharmacy yesterday – a stupid place to put it as I almost binned it without even knowing it was there.
Anyway, I got my 6 months of Hydrocortisone, so that’s one problem out of the way. The two-part injectable was ignored, but I’ll pursue that another day.
So, a success but, you know, it really should not
have to be so fucking hard!
The guidelines exist for the benefit of both the patient and prescribing doctor, so that the former knows what to expect, and the latter knows what’s expected of him, or her. With fewer than 8,500 Addison’s patients in the UK there are bound to be GPs who have never encountered it outside of med-school theory, which is why I sent my GP the links to all the information that he needed and that I already had – which, initially, he chose to ignore.
And let’s make no mistake here. Although the cretinous consultant didn’t tell me about my diagnosis in March 2013, he did, in fact, tell my GP in my discharge notes 6 weeks later – and he missed it. OK, he says it wasn’t obvious, and from his description, that’s true but, hell, it was THERE, obvious or not. He should have been on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary – FFS, I almost died, so it was clear something untoward was going on! After all, he found it when I asked him to confirm what I already knew – that I had Addison’s.
I will always challenge a doctor I think is in the wrong, as I have done in these letters. And I don’t care what rank they are. It doesn’t make me popular but I might just live longer as a result. However, I know from experience that I’m very much in a minority, and most people would never dream of arguing with a doctor. So how many, I wonder, die as a result of that reluctance?
As I’ve said many times in this blog and elsewhere, if you are chronically sick you owe it to yourself to know at least as much as, and preferably more than, your doctors do about your condition. Today, thanks to the Web, that’s easy, and let’s face it, you have more time for research than your GP for sure, and probably than your consultants too. When I was young it was bloody hard work. It meant hitting the books and the medical journals in the reference library at least one a month, and making copious notes the hard way – photocopiers had yet to arrive. Now you can get all the information you need for the cost of a few mouse clicks and a few minutes copying and pasting from Web to word processor. Or downloading PDFs.
You’d think doctors would appreciate this, allowing them, as it does, to discuss treatment on an equal footing with you, and not have to keep stopping to explain – but I’ve only ever met one that did. The rest seem to feel either threatened, or contemptuous** – I can’t possibly know what they know because they have a degree! Well, bullshit! A degree is little more than a test of memory.
**Discussing COPD with a young dermatologist a few months ago, I was firmly told that I could not possibly have COPD as I’ve never smoked. I said “Rubbish!” which I thought was very restrained under the circumstances, whereupon she came over all uppity and informed me that she knew it was so as she’d taken exams! Probably failed them too, because while smoking can, and does, cause COPD it is by no means the only cause. There’s a current ad campaign that says as much. Still, I hope she stays with dermatology and well away from thoracic medicine, because she’ll be in for a hell of a shock if she doesn’t.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether your doctors approve of your knowledge, or even whether they know about it – the important thing is that you have the knowledge, and know when things are going to hell in a handbasket and – vitally important – have the will to intervene.
There is no place for doctor knows best in the 21st century.