After mulling it over for quite some time, I wanted to comment on something we all encounter much too frequently in our floxed lives. That is, specifically, the negative experiences we are often forced to endure with our doctors. As patients, harmed by a widely over prescribed drug, we are often dismissed whenever we propose a connection between fluoroquinolones and the adverse side effects we experience as their patients.
I cannot even begin to quantify the level of frustration and anger I feel whenever I’ve been confronted with this in my doctors visits. It’s demeaning and demoralizing to be treated as if I am a complete moron for broaching the subject whenever they come up empty on their diagnosis.
At first I chalked it up to ego because after all, THEY are the “experts” and I am just one of the great uneducated with the audacity to question their expertise and search for answers beyond their own. I know what it feels like to be sneeringly, denigrated for my research. To be called a GOOGLE doctor for simply not accepting their non-diagnosis as a diagnosis.
Oh, the times I felt like screaming and pulling my hair out in my doctor’s office. The times I became so frustrated I wanted to overturn the tables and rip those stupid charts from the walls are just too innumerable to count on my flox journey.
Laying the blame on ego alone was the simplistic answer but something always niggled at me every time I left the office, depressed and defeated.
Why was I always making excuses for what was so obviously a rude and demeaning attitude towards my quest for answers? Why were all my doctors so hostile to my input and so dismissive of my efforts at educating myself? What lay beneath this dismissal of my pain and the destruction of my body that even they could not deny?
Today it happened again and it sparked me into writing this post.
The Heresy of Questioning a Doctor
I have come to learn that a few of the common tactics used by doctors can be identified. Many of them are being used to work against us when confronting a doctor’s assessment of our specific issues.
The first one is utilizing our lack of a formal medical education to minimize our efforts. It’s the most obvious use of the power dynamic they conjure to silence us. Questioning a doctor is an anarchistic act. It challenges the authority of the empirical medical model, the one we’ve been programmed from childhood to believe has all the answers. The one domain that is so sacrosanct in our society that questioning it is bordering on the heretical and places you squarely outside the acceptable behavior circle.
I have come to accept that I am now a heretic and so is anyone who steps outside the medical status quo in their search for answers. Like any heretic, I need to be prepared for the onslaught of disapproval and derision I might receive for questioning the medical gods. I need to remember to arm myself psychically and mentally for every visit. The fact that I must do this saddens me. It illustrates just how meaningless and hollow the Hippocratic Oath has become to our modern medicine men.
“Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so.”
Plausible Deniability in Medicine
Another tactic used by physicians to dismiss patient concerns is plausible deniability. Physicians now rely on plausible deniability to explain away their non actions or worse. It is the deliberate and destructive act they use against the very people they have sworn to heal. It’s also known as covering their asses. Knowing this and accepting that this is the norm rather than the exception has been a bitter pill for me to swallow but imperative to retaining my sanity.
And Then There is Gaslighting
Another thing I’ve come to recognize as a tactic is what I call medical gaslighting. Gaslighting is a very effective but abusive form of diversion. In this case, a physician utilizes an established (though questionable) psychological diagnosis as a convenient way of absolving their non actions in your case. It also serves to stopgap any further digging into causal links and diverts attention away from the physicians own culpability. How many times have I been told that my symptoms are all in my head? Too many times to count. And since my symptoms don’t fit any known disease model, I must be suffering from a psychological malady.
This has now become a part of the DSM-5 lexicon of psychiatric diagnosis and poses further harm to people like myself and anyone whose symptoms cannot be easily pinpointed to any one specific disease. If anyone, who like myself has been previously diagnosed with a mental illness (depression, PTSD) these diagnoses further serve to de-legitimize the patient’s experience.
We need to be aware that even when we have the hard evidence of medical research to back up our claims, we will be challenged and possibly labeled. If we refuse to accept this knee jerk assessment or the drugs they will inevitably prescribe to treat our “real” issues we might find ourselves tagged with the non-compliant stamp.
I write this as a warning to everyone who finds themselves on this page. You might hit some very daunting, brick walls along this journey but know that you are not alone. One day we will be vindicated, this crime will be exposed, and Big Pharma and all colluding physicians and corrupt governmental agencies will be brought low.
For those who have been blessed with that one special physician who listens and learns, I am grateful to see that ethics still exist. It’s heartening to know that there are doctors out there who can put ego and material gain aside and remain open to their patient’s body awareness and desire for healing. Sadly, those doctors risk becoming medical heretics too, banned and derided by the more conventional experts, the same experts that employ the tactics listed above.
In the end, I know we will win and a big part of that victory comes from the massive amount of support and experience we find on our support pages. Thank you to all my fellow floxies. You are the vanguards of this battle and close to my heart.
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This post was published originally on Hormones Matter on October, 2015.