Daily Archives: April 19, 2013

What Bedside Manner?

I’ve been fuming all week after an incident earlier this week.

I can admit (entirely) that I am rather overly sensitive to one particular issue; and that is when people try to use the fact that I have bipolar disorder to discredit me in some way.

This happens most often with doctors (surprise!), and happened this time with a doctor and nurse in the dermatology department.

I was having side effects from the medication I had been given by them a month earlier (definitely not a surprise there) and as I had left the initial appointment, the doctor had looked at me and said,

now, if you have any side effects, please call my office!

This seemed like the smart thing to do when I started having wild amounts of stomach pain while taking the medication. I called the office and left my doctor a message.

Somehow, and I am not really sure about the details here, my message was twisted into something else entirely. I don’t know if the nurse who took my message was distracted, or if I was, unbeknownst to me at the time, running a little on the manic side and did not fully express what I wanted to say, but the conclusion was still the same.

The doctor called me back to say he had no idea what I was talking about, and that there was no possible way I could be having the side effects I listed.

When I asked what the note had said, it said things about insomnia and side effects I hadn’t said anything about. When I claimed I hadn’t said any of those things, the nurse yelled at me.

Ok, ok. Deep breaths, right? So I cleared my mind and gritted my teeth, explaining slowly with baited breath what it was I was trying to say.

The nurse simply repeated the information from before, and said that my doctor said there was no possible way I could be having those symptoms as side effects from the medication I was on.

The nurse wasn’t listening to me.

The doctor wasn’t listening to me.

And above almost all else, I cannot stand being called a liar. Even when it is by someone who doesn’t have any idea what they are talking about.

I have one doctor who is just about the greatest doctor ever. He is a human being, he tells it like it is, and he gives the greatest advice after truly listening to what I have to say.

I dumped my last dermatologist for not listening to me in exchange for the one that I called this week. Though I realize I am oversensitive about the issue of being called (or even suggested to be) a liar, that is ultimately not the issue that leaves me not wanting to see that doctor ever again. The real problem is the lack of listening between doctor and patient.

Even if I am totally and completely wrong about the side effects I’m having (I’m not, because I’ve stopped taking the medication for my skin and have already seen an improvement in my stomach pain) I don’t want to work with a doctor who looks through my chart, glossy eyed, and then turns to me and says I don’t know what I’m talking about.

The immediate reaction have, is that they’ve just skimmed the part about me having a mental illness, and that is why they are so quick to dismiss me.

I don’t know that that is what really happens, but it feels that way. And I don’t see doctors who make me feel bad about myself or my situation.

Maybe being unwilling to put up with the terrible bedside manner of most doctors makes me a difficult patient, but I am more than willing to give anyone my time who will treat me better than a piece of cheese.