Feb 7, 2010

Fear (*a personal journal entry)

Today I am afraid that the fatigue will never go away.

I'm afraid that I will always be a heartbeat away from sleep. It comes on me and attacks and there is nothing I can do but succome to it's force.

I wonder if it's depression, but I really don't feel depressed. My mood is actually really good. I feel optimism and anticipation for the work I'm doing. But I am so tired.

Maybe the remains of my sinus infection?
Or a reaction to antibiotics?
Or perhaps my stupidly low ferritin level?

This cycle repeats itself every few months. I get a short while of energy and clarity, only to plummet back into this black hole of fatigue.

I'm afraid my husband, my school, my workplace aren't going to be as accepting this time as they were last year.

Feb 2, 2010

Patient consent and the surprise pelvic exam

I read this article in the Globe and Mail (one of Canada's two large national news papers) and was aghast. Medical students doing pelvic exams on unconscious women without consent?!

After contacting some friends who would know more than I do about this, I am feeling somewhat assured that Mr. Picard may have overstated the problem. Still, there is a problem.

This really shouldn't be happening at all. While some might argue that the consent implicit, I would certainly like to be explicitly informed if there is going to be a student prodding around in my parts. If it were explicitly stated, I would give consent - I suspect many women would.

There is one way to clear all of this up: just ask.

Feb 1, 2010

Open letter to the doctor I saw this morning

Dear Dr. Whatever,
I appreciate that you are filling in for my regular family physician. I understand that you probably do things a little differently than she does; but your practice leaves a few things to be desired.

Despite that you have all of my medical records electronically, I didn't make a big deal over filling out all of your paperwork, with medical history, medications and allergies. If I'm willing to go along with writing all of this down for you, the least you could do is read it. Especially the part where I wrote - "Allergies: I had a rash while taking Doxycyline." Yes, a rash. Some skin redness.

I made myself comfortable and was pleasant while your nurse took my blood pressure. Unfortunately, she refused to share it with me, saying, "the doctor doesn't allow us to share test results with patients." When I raised this with you, you told me that patients aren't sophisticated enough to understand these confusing numbers. (It's only blood pressure for Gawd's sake!) Or, worse, they might want to have a conversation about it!

You walked into the room and stated your name and stared at me. Was that an introduction? Next time you might want to try a greeting, such as "Good morning, my name is______".

I realize that you don't know my medical history, but could you please try take my word for it when I tell you that I use a saline nasal rinse every day. And yes, I do know what saline is.

And finally, when you asked me if anything seems to help my sinus pain, and I told you that a Tylenol-based decongestant seemed to improve symptoms, perhaps lecturing me about the lack of efficacy of these products ("No, that wouldn't have helped, studies have shown that these don't work) was a little uncalled for?

Thank you for your time, I hope not to see you again.

(am I being too harsh?)