Doctors are NOT always right….. period.
I will be the first to say that I would be LOST without some of the medical team that I have. I have seen some really amazing specialists in my past, and if it weren’t for a few of them, I don’t think I’d be sitting on my couch right now with my laptop in hand, while my little dude sits beside me munching on a bedtime snack. So I am GRATEFUL for the help that I have, and continue to receive. YES, I have fallen through the cracks of our poor medical system here in Western Canada…. but YES I have had Doctors that have come in to my life and have made a difference. Either way, I think people need to know how to stand up and be their OWN advocate!
About 11 or 12 years ago now I was suffering from a heart condition known as vasovagal syncope. I know it sounds complicated, but the layman’s definition of this is simply I couldn’t keep a regulated amount of blood going through my heart. In a heart beat (no pun intended) my blood pressure would plummet. My heart would start pumping too hard, and as a defense mechanism my body would just shut down. This would cause me to faint, and when I hit the floor I would seize. My blood would pool back into my upper extremities, and I would recover. Sounds scary I am sure to someone who has never heard of it, or experienced it before. I went years like that, and it became old hat to me. It was a common phone call I’d make to my parents regularly… “Mom, I passed out again!”
One particular week I was having a rough go of it, and I was so dizzy I wasn’t able to even get out of bed. Every time I’d lift my head I’d start to see stars, and I knew I would surely faint if I stood up. I called in sick to work a few days in a row, and tried to get a grip of myself. FORTUNATELY I cannot hide much from either my Mom or Dad, and if they go a few days without hearing from me they KNOW it is because I am not feeling well. I am SO thankful for both of them, but that is another post entirely. All it took was one phone call with my Mom and she was on her way to pick me up to take me to the hospital.
To make a LONG story short, my cardiologist was away that week, and I was admitted into the hospital under the care of a VERY well-known cardiologist. They had me on heart monitors, did repeated EKG’s, had me receiving large amounts of fluid by IV, and sent me off to the cardiac care unit. I was terrified! I was in an ICU setting for the first time as an adult, AS THE PATIENT!
Plain and simple, this Doctor wanted to schedule me for surgery right away. He thought that the only way to get my heart rhythm under control and cure my fainting spells was to put in a pacemaker! I was in my early 20’s! I didn’t want a pacemaker!! I refused to even discuss that option with him until he contacted my cardiologist… And he didn’t like that much, and I never saw him again, not even when I was discharged.
The following day I was feeling well enough to be on my feet, and I BEGGED to use the bathroom! But the Cardiac ICU is not known to have bathrooms for their patients as I soon found out. Their patients are usually sick enough that a bed pan is in order… I BEGGED AND BEGGED! My pride was getting in the way, and after a few bags of saline through my IV, my bladder was more than a bit FULL! Luckily one of the nurses on staff was familiar with me, and she let me get out of bed. By the time I had gotten my relief and some of my dignity back I realized that I was feeling NORMAL again… Spell over… crisis diverted!…. right?
Well my assigned doctor left instruction that I was to stay in that hospital bed until my specialist was contacted, and he didn’t care how many days I had to stay at the Chateau for Sickies! I told the nurse that I thought it was truly unfair, and I wanted to be discharged that day….. and after much paperwork, and a HUGE promise that I was going home to rest, and that I would see a Doctor first thing the following morning, I was allowed to go home…
(sheesh, but you can’t get a bed now if you walk in to the ER holding your whole head under one arm!)
I was a good girl and followed instruction. I went to see my cardiologist shortly after being discharged. He took one look at me and said ” What? A pacemaker?!?!? You are kidding me! YOU DO NOT NEED A PACEMAKER!!”. I cannot tell you the SURGE of relief I had in that moment! I was SO happy, yet I was really perplexed at how two very reputable Doctors could come to 2 very different conclusions.
Needless to say, I chose the latter option 🙂
I am many years away from that experience now, but I have never forgotten it. I do NOT have a pacemaker in the old ticker, and I have been seizure free since the MOMENT I got pregnant with my son. He is my little miracle in many ways… I always say that my love for my son cured me…. I don’t know if that is the whole truth… but I do know had I made a different decision in the hospital that day, my life could have been very different.
Please advocate for yourself when it comes to your health, and if you are UNSURE about something or UNCOMFORTABLE with what you are being instructed to do for you OWN health, get a SECOND opinion.
I did. I have never regretted it.