Sunday, January 22, 2012
I've heard some of my friends proclaim, "I'm never going to take a medicine that they can't tell me how it works!" I'm very happy for them if this turns out to be the case. But I'm a bit more realistic. Medicine has been around a heck of a lot longer than our understanding of how these things worked. We don't understand half the things our bodies do normally let alone when they malfunction. We don't understand how one medication can work for one person, and not for another person. We don't understand why one antibiotic would work on an infection and not on another. A lot of times it's a just a crap shoot.
What disappointed me the worst about all of this, however, was the song and dance the doctor gave me about how he'd never heard of this causing pain and that I was possibly imagining things. And yet, when I go online to do research, I see time and time again that this is a condition that causes severe pain, and that I am completely valid in my experience. I'm not getting this information from daytime TV. I'm getting this information from reputable, scientific sources like Cedars-Sini, the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health. And when all of them say my pain is valid... it destroys my faith in the medical community one more time.
Doctors: You want me to trust you. You want me to treat your learning and knowledge with respect. You want me to put MY LIFE into your hands with a surgery. And then you go an lie to me... Why? What is so awful that you can't tell me the truth? What is so important to hide that you would throw away your professional integrity? What is worth risking our doctor-patient relationship? And what the hell has happened to the medical community that PAIN is denied treatment and blamed on the patient's imagination? Are all doctors supposed to be torturers now? What is going on??? In a profession where trust is paramount, where we patients are coming to you in good faith seeking treatment by your hands... why lie?
But the lies aren't the saddest part. The worst part is just how common it is. I expect my doctors to lie to me. I double-check everything online, I'll talk to other patients, and I always get a second/third/fourth opinion from the other doctors I'm seeing. It's such a breath of fresh air when a doctor really tells me the truth. It immediately wins my loyalty and I'm able to relax. Here is a doctor who is going to give it to me straight. They're not try and put on some flim-flam show about how godlike they are for just studying medicine. They know the world isn't perfect, that medicine isn't perfect, and that imperfection is no reason to give up, cover up, or lie. Like the Jesuits, they didn't let the flaws and shortcoming of medicine sway their faith. As a result, they were able to hold on to mine.