Choose Your Own Adventure Doctoring

Signpost by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
Signpost by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

So last week I was sick. Okay, I’m still sick this week, too. But last week I was actually sick enough that I decided to go to the doctor.

I called my doctor’s office at about 1 pm on Thursday, trying to set up something for the next day. Booked solid, they told me. Do I know where the urgent care clinic is? Because I can go there at 6 and be seen.

Alright, why not? I really just wanted to make sure I didn’t have strep or any other truly nasty bug. I wanted confirmation that all I had was a cold, albeit a bad one, and then I could go home and eat soup and suffer. (Not that I’d suffer because I was eating soup – I like soup.)

Instead, I saw the doctor on duty who ran the strep test (negative) and told me she didn’t think it was really anything but did I want to go ahead and take a z-pack, just in case?

Well, I won’t bore you with what happens to me when I take a z-pack (hint: I don’t take them anymore) because that’s not the point. The point is, when did I become a doctor? Because, honestly, I would like to think I’d remember going through medical school and residency. That’s why I go to see a doctor – why I pay to see a doctor – because they are supposed to know more than me about the art of medicine.*

I don’t want to go see a doctor and have her ask me what I want. I want to know what’s wrong with me (if anything) and what I need to take/do (if anything).

I call it choose your own adventure doctoring.

Do you want to take antibiotics? Turn to page 5.

Do you want to avoid drugs unless they’ll actually do anything? Turn to page 46.

Do you want to second guess the doctor’s guess and request something completely different? Turn to page 70.

I’m not joking about the something completely different, either. I went to an ENT one time and mentioned my high stress level. She offered to prescribe me some Xanax. WTF?

Now, to be fair, I’m glad my doctors ask for my input. I want them to listen to me and let me have a say in my diagnosis. But offering medicine that I may or may not need? When there’s a good chance it will be nothing but extra antibiotics in my medical chart or anti-anxiety meds that no one will supervise? No thank you.

I prefer to go with page 99 – take only what you need, when you need it, and when your doctor agrees, not when she asks.

*Yes, it’s important to note that medicine is an art, not a science!

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