A Rant about Doctors

Apologies in advance to all the nice medical professionals out there, the doctors who listen, show empathy, respect their patients but  really, I've had enough of the other kind.

I've unfortunately had WAY too much contact with doctors in the last while, starting with the time my Dad was in hospital.

My Carotid Artery Dissection has meant endless visits, monitors, checks and more and a recurring theme has been lack of understanding, lack of interest in learning, and above all, arrogance.

I'm unlucky in that I have a condition which isn't very common so knowledge is thin on the ground - my GP admitted that he had never come across it before and the hospital locums (although they like to pretend otherwise) know little more.

What I would like above all, is to be heard and to have my symptoms taken seriously. A recent unpleasant experience was the final straw for me. I sat and described many of my ongoing symptoms - burning scalp, droopy sore eye, pressure behind and around my eye socket, unbelievable fatigue that makes the smallest of tasks an ordeal and the response??

 'Well, there's nothing to treat here.'


Perhaps in the truest sense, it was a logical and correct response because it's possible (probable even) that nothing can be done.

However, the casual dismissal of symptoms that have made my life pretty miserable seemed intensely callous at the time and not only that but I had the strongest sense that I was being pegged as a neurotic who had nothing better to do than obsess and possibly make up symptoms.

That was the thing that annoyed me most, enforced inactivity has been the hardest part of this whole experience - I'm a person who hates to sit still for any length, I'm always doing things and have done my utmost to remain busy and keep positive. The reality of my physical ailments is undeniable though, no matter what I do, they are slowing me down and making me feel vulnerable.

Even now, writing this, my head feels sore, my scalp incredibly sensitive, my left eye is really bothered by the light and I've had to pause numerous times to close my eyes because looking at the screen is making me feel horrible.
And yes, I could step away but blogging has been incredibly therapeutic for me so the benefit outweighs the pain right now :)

I was told in the hospital that my initial taste issues had nothing to do with the tear in my artery. I had to research myself to find out that it was very much connected and was due to damage to cranial nerves.

I don't expect the doctors to know everything, that would be impossible - what I do expect is that they would show a willingness to learn and inform themselves of a condition that they may come across again.

To not pretend that they know everything.

And finally, to maybe once in a while actually read my file before I come into the room so that I don't have to repeat the same story again and again.

Is it too much to ask?

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Dream Designs
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  • Lauren
    Lauren 1 October 2015 at 08:56

    Sorry to hear about your doctor issues but let me assure after what you've been through what you are experiencing is normal. Hopefully some of the symptoms will lessen as you go through this. Time and patience are needed here.
    Enforced rest sucks but you'll come to appreciate it. You're injury is new and it's about finding a new way of being.
    Keep on keeping on, you're doing awesome.
    Great blog!

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 2 October 2015 at 21:05

      Thanks Lauren, appreciate it! And great to chat with people who 'get it' :)

  • Yorkshire Tots to Teens
    Yorkshire Tots to Teens 3 October 2015 at 18:31

    I'm sorry to hear that you've had such bad experiences with doctors lately! It's so hard to have something that affects you physically that people can't easily see. I hope you get some answers soon!

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 4 October 2015 at 10:06

      Thanks Erin :)

  • Linda
    Linda 3 October 2015 at 22:53

    Unfortunately in my experience, good doctors who are open minded and have good people skills do seem the minority. I wonder how much is a combination of trying to live up to the status and the expectation that they should know about everything. On the other hand though I've known of a Doctor who did a Google Image Search on a rash in front of the patient! Whatever happened to a second opinion?!!

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 4 October 2015 at 10:07

      Wow, google image search! That's funny but a bit worrying all the same!

  • LadyNicci
    LadyNicci 4 October 2015 at 07:23

    I don't have your long experience with doctors and generally I've received very good care, but it must be so frustrating to not feel listened to and have things dismissed like that. Just this weekend I had confirmed that some medication I am on was causing a raft of very uncomfortable symtoms and despite being for invasive scans and costly doc visits, nothing was diagnosed. Till I put a few things togehter, took to google and came off the medication. Sometimes you really do know your own body best.

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 4 October 2015 at 10:09

      I so agree, docs are quick to prescribe medication without really explaining side effects, it should be very clear before you even start taking anything.

  • Admin
    Admin 4 October 2015 at 14:41

    So sorry to hear that you and going through this and the issues with your doctor. Sometimes it is best to stamp your feet, be loud and demand that they listen, instead of fobbing you off x

  • Emma
    Emma 4 October 2015 at 19:32

    I'm sorry that this has happened, my youngest daughter has medical conditions that others dismiss as little is known and understood. It breaks my heart to see her suffer.

  • Unknown
    Unknown 4 October 2015 at 22:00

    I totally hear you. Been in a similar position although not as serious. Glad to hear you researched yourself and now know that it is connected. POM also for you!!

  • Janine
    Janine 4 October 2015 at 22:13

    The least doctors I like are the GP registrars which are only there for a few months in the practice. They think they seem to know everything. There's only one doctor I always like to see and believe.

  • Unknown
    Unknown 12 September 2018 at 19:07

    I am too recently diagnosed with carotid dissection and find comfort in your post. I can identify very much with your post. Just curious about how your are now and the recovery period since this is such a rare condition. Thank you in advance.

    • Cliona Kelliher
      Cliona Kelliher 3 October 2018 at 10:31

      I am now over 3 years out from my dissection. I'm doing well overall but still suffer from bouts of fatigue and droopy eye/sensory issues. I have found the Facebook groups to be enormously helpful because people understand all the different symptoms that doctors don't seem to know about.

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