Visa GP, Dr. Meg and Dr. Death

The last few months I’ve spent trying to find out what was wrong with me. I went to the local GP who, I’m told by many locals, is mainly here to get his visa by working in a rural area. This first visit to Visa GP consisted of an attempt to prescribe me steroids (I refused), an attempt to prescribe me birth control (refused again) and eventually $200 worth of blood screening. No worries.

The second visit consisted of looking at the results, finding everything is in normal ranges and an attempt to prescribe me steroids and birth control because it would make me feel better (refused again). It ended with the GP giving me a prescription for birth control ‘just to think about it’ even though I repeatedly refused due to past bad experiences and an overall aversion to putting anything synthetic in or on my body without good reason. It took him half of the visit to type out this prescription. He’s not a very fast typer.

He also referred me to a gynaecologist, with the words ‘she’ll give you some medication to make you feel better’. Little did he know that I didn’t want to feel better but wanted to BE better. I generally don’t believe in medication to make me feel better when no diagnosis has even been attempted.

Off  I went to see the gynaecologist, who spoke to me about combination pills and anti-depressants. She also mentioned that the medication that Visa GP wanted to prescribe would have probably made it worse. She eventually diagnosed me with severe PMS due to hormonal imbalance and presenting some auto-immune like symptoms. She did no tests on what kind of hormonal imbalance I had (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and although she suspected something was wrong with my thyroid, the fact that my blood tests came back ‘normal’ meant it wasn’t really treatable anyway.

I left the hospital with my new found knowledge, which mostly consisted of herbal remedies for PMS. Now I’m a big fan of herbal remedies, but again I felt no diagnosis was really reached.  I’d spent about $600 at this point and still had nothing but a little more experience with hospital furniture and the advice to get primrose oil capsules to make me feel better.

Last week I went to Visa GP again because I was worried. Everything was just slowly getting worse, and my sore throat had lingered for months now. I asked him to look at it, he shone a light into my mouth and said ‘yeah, it’s a bit red, you seem to just have a sore throat’. He then pressed an area I presume he thought my lymph nodes were at and asked if it hurt. I said ‘no’. My lymph nodes hurt, but they’re about half a cm to the left…

After this we had a chat. He attempted to give me steroids again because he said I probably have some infection or inflammation, to which I raised the point that I was under the impression that steroids can mask or worsen infections. I also asked him where the inflammation was and how the steroids would cure it. He didn’t answer either question. And didn’t try again. Success.

He then turned around on his desk chair to look at me for the first time and asked ‘when was the last time you’ve had a holiday?’. Which I thought was funny, since I’m on a working holiday. He then said he thought I’m working too much, to which I replied that I hadn’t worked such a small amount of hours in over 5 years. He then called me ‘stressed’, ‘worn out’ and ‘in need of a rest, a holiday’. And eventually he said he thought I had post viral syndrome. I’ve got lots wrong with me it seems but all I need is a holiday. *sigh*

It made me think of the women of centuries ago who were advised by their physician when dealing with hysteria, to go home and please themselves or their husbands. Yeah, cause that’s exactly what’s wrong… not enough naughty time.

Yesterday I did a cheeky thing, I got a second opinion. This GP is about 80 years old (without exaggeration) and lovingly called ‘dr. Meg’ by most of my clients. She’s old school, sometimes looks stuff up in old text books, but it was either her, or the other GP in town,  lovingly referred to as dr. Death…

Dr. Meg listened to me, did a blood test and urine test on the spot, took my blood pressure and listened to my heart. Things visa GP hadn’t done. She also didn’t stare at her computer screen, writing out my prescription before even asking. She didn’t even have a computer. I don’t necessarily think this is good or bad, but for some reason this time it was kind of comforting. I asked her about something that had started to worry me more and more; the sore throat. She stood up behind me, put her fingers right on the sore spot and said ‘ah yes, your thyroid is enlarged’. Now I’m fully aware this is not a good thing but I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself ‘yay! I’m not nuts!’.

Steve and I will be flying back to the UK in a month’s time but Dr. Meg scheduled me in for an ultrasound of Mr. Thyroid next week. Where Visa GP didn’t want to touch my throat and wasn’t really interested in a diagnosis, Dr. Meg actually touched me (I know, yuck!) and in 2 seconds started diagnosing. In the end I told her ‘I know this sounds weird, but I’m really grateful that you’ve actually looked at me’. She smiled and said in her Oxford accent ‘well, I’ve been a doctor for a long long time and I still know that that is important’. She also did not say ‘we’ll give you some medication to make you feel better’ but instead said; ‘what we need to do is get you a proper diagnosis’. Now I really appreciated that. Because that’s why I go to a doctor and not to the pub.

Oh and yay, I’m not nuts 🙂

 

Jude

 

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