Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why lie?

I'm not Catholic, but I have a ton of respect for the Jesuits. Not only will these guys admit the contradictions in the Bible, but they'll happily point them out. They'll let you in on all the dirty secrets of Christianity. They'll take all the skeletons out of the closet and put them proudly on display. It was in a Jesuit class that I heard: "I don't care if you bring in your Bible from home, one translation is just as bad as the next." What I find so amazing and what I respect about this is that all those flaws and shortcomings don't shake their faith. They don't get defensive about their religion having flaws. They're not ashamed and they don't try to be perfect. They leave perfection up to God.

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.

Right now, there is some sort of obstruction in my ureter causing urine to back up into my kidney. I've already got two large stones (7mm) that they're going to need to break up with ultrasound. But that can't happen until we figure out why my kidney isn't draining properly. It could be a type a kidney stone that doesn't show up on Xray or CT scan. It could be something outside pressing on the tube and not letting things flow properly. It could be something else inside the tube causing blockage. This could be scarring from passing previous kidney stones. I'm going to have a scan with contrast on Wednesday to find out more. I'm praying and hoping it's the other kind of stone. In that case, all I would need is lots of fluids, pain killers, antibiotics and time. If it's another type of blockage it's going to require at least two surgeries to repair the ureter. Leave it alone and it will cause eventual kidney failure and possibly death. Fun.

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.


  1. Is this the doc who is going to perform the surgery? I am not sure I would undergo surgery with him if this is the case. Two reasons: how much does he really know about what he is doing and what type of pain treatment will he meter out after surgery if he thinks it doesn't involve pain? Nope, I would be searching for another surgeon and ASAP. I hope it is the problem you are wishing for. Geeezzz...we are both nuts...wishing anymore problems on you but I suppose in this case, I am throwing the pixie dust up in the air to hope for the right outcome.

  2. I sure hope he's not, for the second reason alone. I'm going to stop by my GP's office on Monday (going to be in the neighborhood anyway) and raise my concerns.

    I was able to talk to an urgent clinic doctor tonight, and she said not to worry. She had a friend who had the stint procedure back in 94, and didn't need anything further done for 12 years. It's common to get some sort of scarring like this because of my previous kidney stones. They're spikey little things! Mine is a little bigger than the largest one (upper left) pictured here:

    They're going to be painful once they break them up to have me pass them. I don't want to be left on my own for that!

    I just have to wonder if this is the result of a bad experience I had with a nurse at a hospital in this network. She treated me like a drug seeker, so badly that I complained afterwards to hospital staff. When I went in to see my GP about this problem? I didn't even /ask/ him for pain pills and he gave me a prescription for them, because that's what two 7mm kidney stones calls for. (I wanted more Flomax. He didn't think it was safe and wanted to hear from the urologist.)

    This is what appalls me about the War on Drugs. This doctor may be an excellent guy! This may be *exactly* the surgeon I want for this procedure. But since he has lied to me... he'll never get the opportunity. He cold have told me he leave the prescribing of pain pills up to my GP. He could have been honest that he's not comfortable giving them to me. I'm sure he could have thought of SOMETHING, doctor that he is, other than a lie. But he *chose* to lie. So it's only right for me not to trust him, no matter how medically skillful he may be.

  3. On the other hand, he may have done me a favor breaking trust now. If he's willing to do that, what other harm may he be willing to cause later on down the line?