The last four months for me weren't the greatest ever. I spent three and a half of those months sick as a dog, returning to the doctor on three separate occasions because I hadn't seen any results. Now, each time I went to the doctor's office, they had given me a different kind of medication to try and alleviate both the pain I was feeling, and to get rid of the illness I had. The illness I had actually seemed like a mix of strep throat and pneumonia(both of which I've had prior, hence the comparison), but tests for both came up as negative.
The first time I went, the doctor stated that I probably had allergies to something in the area, and gave me allergy medication. The medication they gave me ended up closing my sinuses, and built pressure in my head so strong, that it felt like even my teeth were being ripped out of my head. I stopped taking the allergy medication, and took a few pills to relieve the pressure, which helped. It was decided that I had some type of respiratory infection, and so they gave me antibiotics, which had no long-lasting effects. They made me feel better while I was taking them, but as soon as I ran out of medication, I went back to feeling terrible again. It was getting quite depressing. School was getting harder, finals were coming up, I needed to pass the final or I'd fail the class, my grandmother's cancer tests were coming up, and the pain I was feeling in my body was getting worse-needless to say, the pressure was on. Finally, the third time I went, they gave me a blood test, which I was curious why they hadn't done this to begin with, and did all kinds of tests on it. It was decided I had a major infection, and that the light antibiotics I was given before would have little effect. So I was given antibiotics strong enough to essentially kill all bacteria in my colon and lungs, which I was also given medication to help create more of the good bacteria in those areas so I wouldn't get worse. Eventually, the pain subsided, and after the medication was gone, I felt loads better.
I tell you that story to tell you this one: A few years ago, I went through a two month period where breathing was so painful, that it felt like my lungs were a balloon being inflated slowly in a needle factory; every breath I took was a piercing pain, and every time I exhaled, it felt like a boa constrictor was squeezing in on my lungs. My fever would also spike at random times for hours, and randomly fall back down. I told the doctor at the time all of this, and they passed it off as an allergic reaction to something, and gave me allergy medication then, as well. After only a few days of taking that, I was coughing up blood, and had horrible bowel movements that left me nearly in tears. We went back to the doctor's office, and they finally did tests to show that I had been walking around with what they explained seemed like a kind of pneumonia. They gave me some very potent medication to rid myself of the ailment, and within two to three weeks, I was feeling myself again.
Now I tell you both of those stories to make a point: Doctors don't always want to put the work in for their patients, and will sometimes take shortcuts in their work. While they are usually right, even when they take the shortcuts, there are times when they will be wrong because they weren't more thorough. In my situations, because neither doctor had decided to do any tests on me earlier, I had to suffer for a longer period of time with my illnesses. In both instances, because it was around Spring time, both doctors assumed that it was completely allergy-related, and passed it off as a simple allergic reaction. Both doctors ended up being wrong, though I later found out that infections can be an effect of Spring time allergies; however, I had been sick in both instances since the Winter. I know these aren't very serious instances where the doctor wasn't right the first time, and I was lucky that these weren't as serious, but what if they had been, and the doctors didn't catch it in time?
About ten years ago, my uncle had a quadruple bypass to prevent any future heart attacks(he had already had one a few years before that). At the end of the surgery, one of the doctors accidentally closed an artery into my uncle's heart. The next year saw my uncle's health improve slightly from what it had been before, but it wasn't much longer until his health was getting worse. Curious, the doctors did different tests on his to try and figure out what could be the cause of his problems. It was assumed that he had lupus, a disorder where the body's immune system will attack itself, and so he was given medication to treat it. The problem here is simple: If you don't have lupus, and you're taking drugs that are supposed to treat it, the body isn't going to react very well to it. The next few years saw my uncle getting worse; a once healthy man was now turning into a feeble one that couldn't sleep without a breathing apparatus. The doctors realized that years earlier, they had closed one of the arteries to the heart, and he went under the knife to get it fixed. Though the artery was fixed, his health didn't improve, and only got worse. Ironically enough, he developed a disorder where his immune system would attack him, and is right now targeting his lungs....sound familiar? He is still alive today, though there isn't a single day that goes by where he doesn't feel pain.
Sometimes a doctor's mistake is small and doesn't really seem all that relevant. However, sometimes their mistakes can cause irreversible damage to the body. My uncle didn't sue the doctor's office, my family isn't the type to sue for a quick buck, but many times patients will. Most doctors are insured for malpractice lawsuits, and they should be. Sometimes they don't make mistakes, and a patient still suffers, which can be very sad. Of course, sometimes they just make mistakes like the rest of us- they ARE human, after all. My advice to all of you is this: If you are feeling sick, ask for a blood test if you can afford it, or if you have insurance. Blood tests saved me a potential fourth visit to the doctor's office: I don't have insurance, so you can only imagine how much I would have had to pay. If you get any type of surgery done, always get at least three or four follow-up appointments, scheduled a few months apart. These appointments can be free, though sometimes they will charge you, but are completely worth it. Pay now, live better later, or don't pay, and suffer later. Not a hard choice to make in my mind.
Doctors are very intelligent people that went through at least eight years of college and medical school, and anywhere from three to eight years of residency and specialized training, though not all choose to go through with specialized training. They have put in a lot of blood and tears to get where they are, and should be respected. The majority of the time, they know exactly what they are doing. However, they, like everyone else, will make a mistake from time to time,and may not realize it. It is completely fine to correct them, if need be, so don't be afraid to speak out. From what I've seen, any physician will gladly answer any questions you may have, and usually take your concerns into consideration, so there is no need to be silent. Any physician can make a mistake on any given day, sometimes its harmless, but sometimes its deadly. For most of us, if we make a mistake, the worst thing that will happen is the computer dies, or we get fired. If they make a mistake, someone can die. Always see a certified doctor, and look up reviews and reports for the physician if you are worried. It is estimated that 90% of patients will leave the doctor's office feeling better than before- don't be the 10%, and try to correct any mistakes you think the doctors have made. If you have any comments, concerns, or opinions, please feel free to share, and as always, thanks for reading.