Doctors Aren’t Always Right!

Article by Wendy McCance

About 10 years ago, I got sick.  It began with a feeling like I was overheating.  I would get so hot that I felt like I would throw up or faint.  As time went on, I began to notice my hand shake.  I thought I just needed to eat something or maybe get more sleep.  At the time, I had a child in elementary school and two babies.  It made sense that I felt so off.  The strange thing was I had a feeling of endless energy.  I had trouble sleeping and could run around without a feeling of exhaustion.

Over a month, I got worse, fast.  My feet began to feel as though I was wearing cement shoes.  There were times where I could only drag my feet.  It seemed impossible at times to lift a foot.  It became obvious that things weren’t right and so I made an appointment to visit a doctor.

The doctor I saw was brand new.  My insurance had changed and it had been years since I saw any doctor other than my gynecologist.  I went in to see the doctor and talked about my concerns.  At the appointment I felt rundown and shaky.

After asking a bunch of questions and checking me out, the doctor came to the conclusion that I was just a stressed out mom who felt overwhelmed with 3 kids, 2 of which were under 3 years old.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed and said as much.  I tried to explain that I felt something else must be going on, that the symptoms I had were not normal, even for a mom with a few young children.

The doctor decided to do a blood test just in case, but I felt like he ordered the test just to placate me.  I had tears in my eyes as I left the appointment.  I thought I was losing my mind.  How could a doctor think that having  a problem walking had anything to do with being stressed out?  Honestly, the only thing stressing me out was the fact that I felt ill all the time and didn’t know why.

Before my blood test came back, I was at home and began having problems walking again.  It was worse this time.  I was clumsy and banging into the walls as I walked down the hall.  I was shaky and felt like I would faint at any moment.  My heart was racing and I was scared out of my mind.

I called my dad and told him I needed help.  He rushed over and basically carried me out to the car. By the time he got to my house, I was shaking horribly and couldn’t walk anymore.

We went right to the hospital.  The whole way there, I was apprehensive, terrified that the doctors there would think I was just crazy.  I went over that thought a million times asking myself if I could bring on such horrible symptoms by myself.  Was I just losing my mind?

At the hospital, I was diagnosed.  I was going through thyroid storm.  It turned out that what I was experience was a life threatening event.  Thank god I went to the hospital.  When I had entered the hospital, I was sick to my stomach, felt dizzy, couldn’t communicate or process what was going on, my heart was beating rapidly, I couldn’t walk , I had breathing problems and I was having trouble staying awake.

The doctors were able to get me stabilized.  Thankfully, they didn’t pass off my symptoms as a panic attack or as being an overly stressed mom.  What I was experience, I later found out could have caused me to go into a coma or led to a heart attack.

Over the next few weeks, I was diagnosed with Graves disease.  I had gotten a recommendation from the hospital to see an endocrinologist.  This doctor said my thyroid was so overactive that medicine wouldn’t help get the hormones produced back to a normal level.  I ended up having radioactive iodine treatment.  Basically you take a pill that kills your thyroid gland so it no longer works.  You then take a pill to replace the hormones that your thyroid no longer produces.  One pill a day for the rest of your life.

A few weeks later, I was back at the original doctor for a check-up.  The doctor walked around with a superior stance as though he knew all along that I had a thyroid problem.  There was no admitting he was wrong, or apologizing for making me feel as though my condition was all in my head.  It was the last time I would see that doctor.

Overall, I was crushed.  I had always held a doctor at such a high level.  I had always felt that a doctor would take your symptoms seriously and would be proactive in finding a solution.  It was degrading to see a doctor who without much thought put the reason for my symptoms on me as though I was out of my mind.

Sadly, I have heard of many people who have gone through situations like the one I described.  No one knows your body better than you do.  My advice to anyone who ever experiences a situation like this is to get a different doctor if you feel that the one you have is not taking your symptoms seriously.


About wmccance

Freelance writer and social media consultant. learn more at:
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8 Responses to Doctors Aren’t Always Right!

  1. It doesn’t bother me that doctors are only human and make mistakes, but it bothers me a lot that some of them don’t think they could ever be wrong. I’ve been on the wrong side of their arrogance a number of times. Thankfully, I’ve also experienced some wonderfully supportive, helpful doctors too.
    Thank you for an interesting post.

  2. Doctors are only human. They make mistakes.

    You’re right. If you believe your doctor isn’t proactive, you need a new one. Plus sometimes you need to be your own advocate and push for answers.

  3. joshuaanandaclayton says:

    I also agree, Doctors dress the wounds, but God/Existence/Nature does all the healing. Sometimes Doctors play too much of the “take the credit game” when the healing works, but when it does not work, they blame God/Existence/Nature. When I was diagnosed with autism/sensory integration problems or Asperger’s syndrome around 1979-1980 as a child although they knew how to treat it in its early stages, the “authorities” and deified Doctors did not originally want to spend ANYthe money from their system to help me live a normal life. Originally, to my Mom and Dad, they had the “throw him in an institution and forget him!” attitude. My parents did not listen, and they got some things done in a sober, businesslike manner that worked, especially in regard to the Doctors and all that. So, I definitely know where you are coming from, Wendy. Through swift action by my parents and lots of genuine luck and money used on the problem as well as the fact that there was an innate intelligence and persistence underneath all the problems that helped me “bootstrap” myself.

    • wmccance says:

      I’m so sorry you went through such a bad experience. I just can’t imagine what you had to deal with. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure your story will help others who have dealt with or are currently dealing with these same issues.

      • joshuaanandaclayton says:

        Thanks, Wendy. It’s a funny thing, but I genuinely feel that everything has made me a better, more understanding and patient person. What I am trying to say is, sure it was a bad experience, but it had and has its good points and lessons to it too… 🙂

      • wmccance says:

        I get it. I can see how each bad experience I went through got me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change my present state for the world. 🙂

  4. I absolutely agree with your conclusion. This was so even before reading the book How Doctors Think, and all the more so since reading. The vast majority of errors made by doctors are not knowledge based but based on a doctor’s subjective assessment of a patient’s personality and general health. It’s thus imperative to find one who fully addresses concerns rather than shuffling a patient off based on his perceptions about what’s likeliest.

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