Medium Articles

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why Don’t Doctors Listen ?

 From my articles on Medium.

Why Can’t I Breathe?
I recently returned from seeing a specialist in asthma, sinus and allergy disorders, in hopes of getting some answers for my chronic sinusitis and constant shortness of breath, which I have been dealing with for over 11 years. For years I have been searching the internet for answers and have published my thoughts about my condition in articles such as, The Scourge of Chronic Sinusitis and GERD Combination and I Just Can’t Catch My Breath. I have been to many different specialists in hopes of defining my disease and finding an eventual cure or at least finding a way to help my breathing, including cardiologists, allergists, pulmonologists and ENT specialists. Unfortunately no one has been able to help. I have a very good primary care specialist who has encouraged me not to give up, but keep trying to find some medication or some specialist who may be able to help. With his help and support I have tried numerous inhalers and nasal sprays to no avail. Some of these not only did not help my symptoms, but on the contrary made them worse.
One Last Hope!
On the verge of defeat I doubled down and did an extensive Internet search for asthma specialists in my area. I wanted to find some place where instead of just calling for an appointment, I could contact someone and explain what I have been going through for 11 years. I was literally sick and tired of going to a doctor and spending most of the appointment explaining, over and over again, everything that I have done for years and seeing and feeling that they paid absolutely no attention. Finally I found the website of a allergy specialty clinic where I could actually write a lengthy description of my condition and request an appointment. I took my time and wrote a full explanation of my symptoms, what made them worse and the results of specialist visits I have had and then patiently waited for a response.
When I was just about ready to accept that my latest and perhaps my last attempt to find help may have gone unnoticed, I received a phone call from the clinic. A nurse called explaining that my request was reviewed and it was determined that I could be seen by a “nationally known” specialist in sinus related asthma conditions. Needless to say I was elated. At last I might be able to find out what was wrong with me and I might be be to breathe freely again. I didn’t even have to wait month for an appointment! I got one the very next week!
Finally the time came for my appointment and I walked into the doctor’s office, admittedly with low expectations, but with a hidden glimmer of hope. I once again had to describe my past 11 years of suffering, my treatment and my disappointments. I did emphasize that I was very upset that some of the doctors I had seen did not even listen to me when I explained my symptoms and what made them worse. After seeing the results of a pulmonary function test and after a nebulizer treatment the doctor formulated a treatment plan and explained it to me in detail. I felt that finally something useful would be done. The doctor gave me some drug samples and prescriptions for when the samples ran out. I was floored to find out how expensive one of them was going to be, but if it worked I would have no choice but to find a way to pay for it. When he described the ingredients of the medications I noticed that one of them, the expensive one, had an ingredient that I had tried a couple of times before and had severely worsened my symptoms. However, the doctor said it was worth another try and suggested I give it another try. I reluctantly agreed. I also pointed out that I could not take one of the nasal spray medications because it was contraindicated for men with BPH. He agreed saying he did not notice my BPH in my records!
Not So Fast!
I left the doctors office with a copy of my treatment plan in my hands and hopes for a somewhat better life, starting tomorrow. I faithfully began taking my medications according to my treatment plan the very next day and was anxiously expecting to see improvements. Not so fast! Within three days the prednisone had knocked me for a loop and the nasal spray that I had explained worsened my symptoms had indeed made my symptoms much worse! My head felt as though it would explode at any moment and I was struggling to take a deep breath. I was much worse than the the day I visited the doctor and had hoped for some help. I called the doctor and spoke to the nurse, telling her I can no longer take the medication which was worsening my condition. She agreed that I should stop immediately, but she also suggested that I go to the emergency room or urgent care to help with my breathing. I refused, explaining that every time I had done this in the past, they gave me the same damn medications that were either ineffective or made the symptoms worse! I thanked her for her help and told her I would keep my next appointment and hope for a new treatment plan.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Finally the offending drug is wearing off and I am feeling much better, physically. My once optimistic outlook for being able to breath better and looking forward to a more active lifestyle has all been destroyed. In three weeks I will return to this “nationally known” doctor and basically start all over again. I honestly feel at the next visit he will tell me that nothing can be done, even though I still harbor a sliver of hope. I sincerely hope that this time he will really listen to me!

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