Friday, April 5, 2013

Sometimes I Hate Doctors

We like to talk a lot about healthcare and healthcare reform in this country, but this week I've realized that maybe we need a medical system overhaul while we're at it.  I went to my doctor to talk about how I've been getting headaches pretty consistently for the past year.  Most of the time it's a tension headache, which doesn't really worry me.  I know it's directly related to the fact that I carry all of my stress and tension in my shoulders and neck.  I can almost directly trace the headache from the back of my head, down my neck and into my shoulders.  It sucks, but it's not anything that has me horribly concerned.  It's the other headaches I get that have me a bit worried.  They're not regular run of the mill headaches.  They're headaches that localize themselves in one spot at the back of my head.  It's always the same spot, and the pain is always intense.  There's pressure, my left eye starts getting funny and seeing spots, I feel nauseated from the vision problems and the pain, and they don't go away for 3 or 4 days.  Nothing helps.  Advil doesn't help, sleep doesn't help.  Nothing improves the situation.  It goes away gradually after a few days, but still, really annoying.  It worries me mostly because it's always localized in one spot, and also because if I were to bump my head in that particular spot it hurts more than if I were to bump my head in any other area.  Even when I don't have a headache.  That's reason for concern, right?

So I go to talk to a doctor about it.  I end up seeing this guy in my medical practice that I've never seen before.  I start explaining what happens and he proceeds to NOT LISTEN TO A DAMN THING I SAID.  He kept focusing on the tension headaches at first, and I kept saying I didn't worry about those, they were just annoying.  Then as soon as I said I had a family history of migraines, he just jumped to "Oh then you're getting migraines".  No, I'm not.  I've never had problems with migraines or even gotten a migraine.  I have localized headaches that cause pressure in my skull and sensitivity in the area that the headaches appear.  That's not a migraine.  But he didn't listen.  Then he informed me that he is a "professional drug dealer" so he could put me on a variety of drugs to solve the issue, but never one talked to me about what might be causing them.  When I said I didn't want pills, I wanted to figure out why I was getting these sort of headaches all of the sudden, he got weird and asked if I had expectations that he would just send me for a CAT Scan.  I said I expected that someone more educated on the subject than I am would tell me if it was necessary to get any sort of scan.  I wanted him to tell me if I should even be worried in the first place.  I said I wanted to figure out why this started happening so suddenly, and so frequently.  He said "Well why does your mom get migraines?  We don't know.  We can't know those kinds of things".  Thanks a ton, doctor asshat.  He then offered to prescribe for me the following:
  • Anti-Depressants
  • Beta Blockers
  • Blood thinners
  • Imitrex
  • Muscle relaxers
All because I said I get headaches more often than I think I should.  I'm not sure why I needed to walk around with that list of drugs in my system for a headache problem that I only came in to ask whether I should be worried.  I have no idea why he was so quick to just pull out the prescription pad and pump me full of enough chemicals to keep Pfizer in business for years.  Beyond that, why can't we talk through finding the root cause of something like this instead of just jumping on the pharmaceutical bandwagon?  He seemed annoyed that I refused all of the medications, as if I wasn't allowing him to do his job.  I don't want to have a "quick fix".  I wanted someone to listen to what I had to say, tell me if it was worth any measure of concern, and then allow me to decide how I wanted to combat the problem.  This guy just wanted to make some pharmaceutical rep really happy.

In the end I accepted the muscle relaxers, since they were on an "as needed" schedule for medication, and I know I have muscle tension problems, but I refused everything else.  I have taken one pill so far, and have decided I don't think I want to take more since they left me feeling groggy and light headed.  I also woke up with a headache.  Funny how it wasn't solved simply by popping a pill.  Shocking.