A Doctor’s Visit—The Bitter Pill

I recently visited my doctor over concerns I had with some physical symptoms I had been experiencing. Of course, I looked up all my symptoms and they could have been a number of different things, but I decided that I wanted to be sure and rule out anything more serious that might be an underlying problem.

So there I sat on the exam table and he asked what brought me in today. I started to explain my symptoms, and without even letting me finish, he declared, “Stress. It’s Stress.”

I said, “Okay, I figured that but what about—“
“Stress.”
“And then there’s—“
“Stress.”
“Even—?““
“Stress.”

I was not able to finish my thought before the same diagnosis was spoken again and again and again, all before a stethoscope and not even a blood pressure reading.

He finally listened to my heart and said it was fine and that what I was feeling was mental and stress and then proceeded to fill out a script for an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. Whoa. Anti-anxiety I get but antidepressant? NO. Neither script got filled.

I looked deep into his eyes and firmly told him I did not want to be medicated first without having him take a deeper look. He was nonplussed, looked me equally in the eye and told me to take these meds whether I wanted to or not and in the meantime he’ll look deeper. In other words, come back tomorrow for a blood test and (because my husband strongly suggested), a referral for a stress test. My symptoms may well be from stress, but I still wanted to rule out any additional medical cause that may be underlying.

I ended up having an EKG right then and the good news is my heart was fine. What stunned me though was the absolute lack of listening to the rest of my symptoms. I did not feel heard and to me, that is one the worst things a doctor can do to a patient.

I go to a doctor for guidance and evaluation on my physical well-being when my own health practices don’t seem to be enough. The last time I was even at the doctor for myself was last September for much needed medication for Bronchitis, so it’s not like I run to the office for every sneeze.

What bothers me so much about this particular visit is the dismissive nature of my feelings and physical complaints. Even if it is “just stress,” stress is a known deathtrap and constant elevated levels wreak havoc on every system in our body. To blindly treat symptoms with these two scripts without even a hint of planning to look deeper is just not fair to me as a patient.

I have seen the same type of dismissiveness with my mother’s doctors, my husband saw it with his father’s doctors, and I’ve heard others go through this so sadly, it is nothing new. I personally know many practitioners in the medical community and they agree that too many doctors are writing scripts to treat symptoms and don’t bother to look any further or deeper into other possible underlying issues causing these symptoms.  I think what has saved me from a complete lack of faith in the medical community is the level of treatment my husband received from his oncologist and their staff. They were fantastic and a wonderful example of patient care.

I went to my doctor, trusting this member of the medical community for his knowledge and training and I suspected I might receive some sort of medication, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be a bitter pill.

Doctors need to take it deeper!

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13 thoughts on “A Doctor’s Visit—The Bitter Pill

  1. Wow – unfortunately, this type of medical treatment is too common. Good for you for standing up for yourself. And good for you for not taking those prescribed meds. Bad for the doctor for not giving you a thorough checkup, for not taking you seriously, for not treatment you as a whole person rather than a few symptoms, and for prescribing heavy meds like that. If it’s stress – I would start by doing relaxation, yoga, visualization, meditation, walking, getting enough sleep, and eating healthier. Or some combination of those. That alone should take care of most of it. You are an amazing person – always trust yourself, your judgment, and your gut. And find a new doctor! Oh – and great post! 🙂 ❤ And hope you're feeling better! 🙂

    • All great advice–thank you Lynn! I’m sure you’ve had your share of dealings too. New doctor search actively under way and so will a lot of other changes! 🙂 Love you and thanks for the virtual pep talk ❤

  2. OMG, that pisses me off. That is one of those doctors that just plain don’t give a shit about their patients. Wish you were here in Austin Renata. I have FABULOUS doctors and I have so many specialists, all of them INCREDIBLE. I will say I’ve had a few of those experiences, NOT SO DISMISSIVE AS YOURS by any means, but left with a feeling of not being heard. I’m not one to keep my mouth shut so I always have told them off, knowing full well I wasn’t going to be going back to them. These kind of doctors shouldn’t even be allowed to practice. What if you had had something really serious going on and before you even get to tell him, he slaps two prescriptions in your hand and dismisses it as stress?? Stress is no mild condition! I would report that doctor because he’s probably doing it to others too. That just enrages me, with as much as we have to pay for medical care in this country; sometimes I think the doctors have resentment against the insurance companies and take it out on the patients. Jesus, I want to move to Denmark. Or Canada…

    • Ah sis, I hear ya and I love you for your comment. You should have seen me last. I was just spitting nails about it. I’m going to sit on what I’m going to do about him, but sure as anything I will go to someone else. The concern about something underlying was EXACTLY what got me so angry in the first place. I have no doubt he’s doing it to others. He missed my husband’s cancer diagnosis so one hand shame on me for going back to him, but it was convenient. Never again, let me tell you.

      • Oh my God! He missed a cancer diagnosis?? Jesus. He should not be in practice! At the very least you can give him bad feedback on all the doctor sites! Unbelievable…

  3. Well put Renata and kudos to you for sticking to your convictions and being solid about your intention for taking this deeper. Stress sounds a little too much like a blanket statement. I hope you get to the bottom of all this. Sometimes these wellness investigations take a lot of time and energy.

    • Thank you so much. It’s just so much more than the slap of a script. I just can’t do that to myself without taking things deeper! No one should.

  4. Wow sounds like you need to find another doctor. Also not a fan of how he thought popping a pill for depression/anxiety is the solution instead of trying to see if there are other underlying medical conditions. Hope you’ve been able to get to the bottom of this by now.

    • Can you believe that? I never even said a word about depression and I am not! I’ve been checking around for other doctors but in the meantime I’ve been watching myself and working to reduce what stress I can. I found his solutions to be pretty scary.

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