Are you there doc?

It’s me, Dyspatient.

Called the GI doctor’s office today.  Got the cranky staff member – excellent!  She’s a pip this one.  Yes, leaving another message.  “I didn’t take the last one” she tells me.  Um, ok.  I didn’t think you did.  Jeez.  Get over your bad self.

While I was cleaning up bits of debris from my desk I found an  appointment reminder card telling me that I have a follow up appointment with GI doc for May 31, so I guess even GI doc thought we should follow up.  Ah, so at this follow up I wonder if she planned to listen to me discuss the continuing (because the problem is CHRONIC, you know?), then tell me how she did everything she can and there’s nothing else to do.  Why do they schedule these things?  I mean, I’m not planning on letting the appointment go that way, but based on how she’s reacted to my calls, that is likely the script she’s working off.

I do wonder what these people think “follow up” means.  I also wonder what they think their chronically ill patients who they have been unable to help are doing in the times between call, visits, and follow up appointments.  I.e., do they think if they don’t hear from us that everything has resolved?  A trip through some doctors’ notes in my medical records suggest that some do.  I know I’ve read in at least one place where a doctor wrote something like “patient was asymptomatic….until one week ago” or something like that when introducing my presentation in the note on the visit.  It’s unfathomable to me that someone other than a complete idiot would be silly enough to assume that.  It’s distressing to me that someone would adhere to the assumption despite direct statements and/or evidence to the contrary – like “well the diarrhea has been continuing since I saw you in November.  It was reasonably treatable for a few months but since January it’s been getting worse, and this past month it really picked up” or say, that plus weight loss in your patient.

What are they thinking?  Seriously.  It’s basic object permanence.  Just because the stimulus is hidden from your view doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist.  Good lord, even my cat shows better mastery of this basic cognitive skill, at least when it comes to treats, nip, and toys.  Maybe I need doctor nip.  Or a toy (yes, I am now imagining using a laser pointer with my GI doctor).

I think that maybe I need to adopt of a policy of making it clear to my doctors that just because they haven’t seen me in x many months does not mean that I’ve been all better and symptom free for that time.

For my chronic friends out there:  has this issue come up with you?  The “out of sight out of mind” thing where your doctor assumes that not hearing from you means you’ve been healthy/symptom free/cured?  If so, how have you dealt with it?

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  1. Ba ha!! Well put

    I’ve unfortunately written off much of the medical community given my near death experiences and only plan to use it when near death or when dealing with a known, knowledgeable and patient expert…there are rare gems out there, just hard to find.

    Also I don’t understand why ppl take out frustrations on others eg on the phone for reception. I know we all have hardships but is it ever worth taking it out on someone especially strangers. I think such tendencies should be recognized and fired from positions where patient interaction in required. …

    • I’m getting better at not reacting in kind when I get someone who gives me attitude on the phone. For the ones at hospital clinics, I’ve called patient relations before and ratted them out, because I agree with you, that sort of behavior means the person is ill-suited to the position.


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