Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sorry, no cape

I mentioned having a migraine this past weekend, and was somewhat surprised by how many people commented and wrote to me, surprised that a DOCTOR, let alone a NEUROLOGIST, would actually get migraines.

What's up with that?

I know this may be hard to believe, but WE GET HEALTH PROBLEMS, TOO.

I see this odd view surprisingly often. People who somehow expect us to be beyond the health concerns of non-doctors.

We may be doctors, but we're also humans. Prone to the same illnesses, bad luck, and erroneous judgments the rest of mortals are.

When I have to take a sick day (rare), and Mary starts frantically canceling people, most of them are fine with it. But we get the occasional person who gets angry because I'm sick. In their minds, apparently, that's impossible. So I must be making it up to go golfing.*

In 12 years I've had 3 patients change neurologists because I was sick and had to reschedule their appointments.

As a neurologist, I also take care of (gasp) other doctors! I have patients, who are also doctors, with epilepsy, MS, Parkinson's disease, and more routine stuff. I've seen young doctor's die with brain cancer.

Being a doctor doesn't protect you from the things that ail others. Including bad karma.

On the flip side, sometimes we're surprised when something serious happens to us. At times there seems to be an unspoken belief that by devoting ourselves to caring for others, it should magically protect us from those same diseases we fight. Nope.

If anything, the high stress nature of our work makes us MORE likely to have shit happen. We often ignore our own issues because of the time needed to care for others. Most of us live sleep deprived, caffeine-overdosed, and on food that we'd never endorse to you.

I chew out patients for not exercising, or a poor diet, or forgetting to pick up their prescriptions. But I likely do the same stuff as much as, if not more often, than they do. After a long day at the office and hospital rounds, and picking up kids, and Mrs. Grumpy having an after-work meeting, when the hell do I have time to pick up my Lipitor and get something decent for dinner? So I put the pharmacy off for another day and grab a pizza. And hope that over the weekend I'll find time to exercise. My average work week is about 60-70 hours. I doubt that's conducive to longevity.

So yes, I get migraines. And if you think your doctor is superhuman, they aren't. Even if they try their best to make you think they are.

*For the record, I've never golfed on anything other than a miniature course.

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

medical professionals, unfortunately practice a "do as I say, not as I do" approach to health care...40 hour work weeks, healthy diet, TIME OFF for lunch....HUH !! Nice idea though.

Joann said...

I realized all that when I took my (young) son to the ER for an asthma attack, and saw several drs outside having a CIGARETTE break.... I was in SHOCK!! "DON'T THEY KNOW BETTER!!" LOL!! Guess the stress gets to them too!

Anonymous said...

I was more surprised, that you have migraines because you are a guy.

Everyone acts like only women get migraines. My male cousin gets horrific ones, and finally after 10 years found a combination of drugs (all non narcotic) that help him finally live pain free.

He said if he got $100 dollars from everyone who told him, "Migraines, that's a chick disease.", he'd be wealthy.

Mike also ignores the "cut out caffeine" treatment part for his migraines, too.

SkullCandy

SR said...

Med students DEFINITELY don't get sick. Because that would mean missing class, possibly delaying an exam, or missing a day of your rotation, jeopardizing your grade, and your future career. My roommate, an intern, was sick for about a month without any days off. We take care of patients, but not ourselves (or each other)

Anonymous said...

@Joan

When dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and one could chain smoke with impunity at the nurse's station, our head oncologist could be found by following the haze of Camel unfiltered cigarette smoke. Physicians make less than stellar life choices too.

SkullCandy

D. said...

Hey, at least you don't smoke.

You don't, right?

(Yeah, the 'do as I say, not as I do' thing gets mighty old and particularly annoying. And doctors are not our parents, from whom we've already had that. By and large. Although I have noticed [non-scientifically] that people go into specialized medicine for whatever ails them, so maybe it shouldn't surprise anyone that you have migraines.)

WV: gotions. I got ions...I got atoms...i got isotopes, who could ask for anything more...

Grumpy, M.D. said...

No, I don't smoke. Diet Coke and crappy eating habits are my only vices.

Anonymous said...

when i saw those migraine comments, i thought they were not serious, they were just teasing you.

Turing said...

I've found that it's better if your doctor suffers from the same ailment as you. That way they know exactly what you're talking about. Empathy and all that.

Anonymous said...

Out sick three times (two of them being half-days) in twenty-five years, and I can recall the name of every patient (all discharged from the practice) who chewed out my receptionists for having to reschedule non-urgent appointments.

Anonymous said...

With my third child my ob popped from my room and who knows what other patients to his wife's room. She was giving birth to their twins, children numbers 4 and 5 in his family. My labor and delivery lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes, otherwise he was preparing to hand me off to a colleague.

Old MD Girl said...

I was told by a neurologist that having a neurologic disease was a prerequisite to being a neurologist. Nerdy glasses help too.

I guess it's ok that you get migraines then. Thank goodness you're not a neurosurgeon, in which case I'd have thought you were a total sissy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a pharmacist and recently had a bad reaction to a new drug. I found it a little embarrassing.

emmy said...

Sorry, I did not mean to upset you. It's just that when I get a migraine, I often wish that I just had the medication with me and didn't have to endure a visit to my primary care doctor or the emergency room to get a shot of toradol and promethazine. (There are a lot of medications that I can't take and the most effective migraine medications are on the list.) But in a way you are right. I don't expect my doctors to get sick. If my oncologist got cancer or my cardiologist had a heart attack, I'd probably be shocked and saddened by it.

Still, I'm glad that you seem to be feeling better.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

You didn't upset me at all. Just got me thinking.

Which is good.

PaleMother said...

My kids' pediatrician is very overweight, but that doesn't stop him from going right after the childhood obesity epidemic (my youngest two are chubby cherub babies ... I think they will thin out like their older sibs, although my husband's family are literally 'big boned' ;) I've often wondered if anyone is ever cheeky enough to give it back to him. I know my grandmother would have.

I have really appreciated being cared for by some talented female OB's who've BTDT (they are about five years older than I am). Their male partners are very nice, clearly know their stuff. But the BTDT is huge.

Carol said...

I found it wonderful to talk to my NP about our shared hip problems and what she was doing for hers.

Look! A health care provider who is human. Oh noes....

Anonymous said...

I think that we migraineurs, expect our neuro's to have found a 'magic' med. or combination of meds to help themselves from having migraines.

Having migraines, managing your practice, three kids, three dogs, one fish, keeping your diet coke coffers stocked, and keeping Mrs Grumpy supplied with tomatoes must be tough.

Moose said...

I didn't comment about it, but I suspect many that did thought the same thing I did, "How completely ironic, the neurologist gets migraines."

My other thought, that maybe I *should* have commented at the time, is that this hopefully makes you a better Dr for it. It's one thing to have sympathy for someone's ails, but being able to understand what the disease/condition/royal-pain-in-the-rump is like on your own is another.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I'd mentioned it in passing once in the past, too, but didn't have anyone write to me about it, then.

I mentioned it in passing this time, as part of the story, and was surprised by the emails I got.

perishedcore said...

Two things from a nursing perspective:

"Chewing out" as a patient motivation strategy doesn't have evidence to support it (grin). In other words, FAIL.

From animal behavior training and applied to humans, identifying (helping your patient to identify) as many incremental intermediate steps to achieving the desired end point behavior (ex. permanent choice and ingestion of whole foods with minimal/absent processed/refined food-like products as the primary diet) and then rewarding/recognizing those behaviors as a means to establishing the new habit as permanent works. Since the vast majority of docs don't have the time/expertise/inclination/reimbursement mechanisms to provide this type of behavioral intervention, referral to qualified professionals who do would be extremely helpful. Intermediate and endpoint objectives could then be monitored.

One strategy that made a huge difference in my own ability to lose the junk food was to shop only the perimeter of the grocery (makes shopping much faster, more efficient, less distracting, less costly and less painful), not allow myself to venture into the middle IED aisles where hyper-palatable food-like products entice me with very slick stealth marketing.

I invested in crockpots of various sizes. I buy multicolored fruits and vegetables once each week - as much as I can carry from an outdoor market venue, and one day a week, I throw the various ingredients with lots of herbs and spices into the crockpots and make a hearty soup or stew, a protein heavy dish again featuring vegetables, and a no added sugar, fruit/starch dessert.

I also learned how to make yogurt in a crockpot (dump milk in, turn on crockpot, later, turn it off, much later add yogurt starter to it and a few hours after that hours later, it's yogurt). When you finally taste homemade yogurt, you will never EVER again buy commercial yogurt or sour cream - it's that good and it's 4x cheaper - it costs whatever you pay for milk. I eat yogurt every day for breakfast with berries and shredded coconut meat and pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on top for extra taste goodness - high quality protein, medium chain triglyceride fat and low glycemic, high antioxidant carbs with prep time exactly the same as dumping cold cereal into a bowl and pouring milk on it (grin).

I enjoy my weekly dishes freshly prepared and place the remainder in single serving containers for freezer or refrigeration. Then I simply pull desired dishes from the frig/freezer each day - these are fully microwavable so can travel to school, office, work, etc. and take much less time than standing in the cafe or fast food lines. I add a piece of fresh fruit or crunchy raw vegetables with homemade yogurt mixed with dried onion and canned clams or other seafood as a dip. No more having to figure out/shop for/prepare something to eat after a long day of work/errands/other grueling stuff.

Bonus points: these whole foods and dishes are cheaper, have the biggest nutrient bang for the buck taste loads better than any commercially available "food-like products" and can be the basis for family eating enculturation - taking the kiddos food shopping, encouraging their palates, trying out culturally diverse foods, encouraging the offspring to learn how to cook, present & enjoy appealing food, building a food repertoire, naturally reducing obesigenic factors and often reversing uncomfortable health symptoms such as hypoglycemia, insomnia, headaches (grin), GERD, and joint pain. /soapbox rant

Your mileage will vary on the strategies you choose, but that's what you consult the experts for - to help you choose and use those which will work for you instead of a one size fits none approach and sermons from on high. As for picking up Lipitor - you got me. Points well taken.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I don't "chew out" patients. I talk to them. I was using that as a figure of speech.

jimbo26 said...

I suffered with migraines until I stopped eating potatoes .

Annie said...

My first thought was that maybe you went in to Neurology because of your migraines.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Nope. Just coincidence. I didn't have them back then.

Anonymous said...

I had migraines until I stopped eating cantaloupe.

Vivian said...

Nice post.

I remember once when I wasn't married yet (so lived alone and could only count on myself)and both my dogs woke up vomiting and with diarrhea and I had to leave them at the vet before I went to the office. Of course I was incredibly late. Most of the patients weren't happy about the wait but understood it happens. One of them was totally pissed off at me -- insteresting fact: she had dogs.

I used to have horrible migraines too. Now I take topiramate and they're gone, thankfully.

Anonymous said...

I had so much fun reading the comments that I forgot what the original post was about.

axl

MS Ramona said...

I would probably appreciate knowing my neurologist had migraines too. I may not get the "Shut up and get over it" look that I have gotten from 2 of mine. I really felt like I was wasting their time and that they would rather see patients with 'real' issues. FYI; one I left because I moved out of state the other I fired because her office staff was incompetent. My third one, she's okay.

Packer said...

Dr. Grumnpy--self employed professionals--Drs. Dentist, Lawyers, CPAs all have a tendency to work too many hours, it is the only way to eke out a living-with overhead, rent, phone, etc. etc. Every year at this time CPAs keel over at their desk-heart attack season from non stop work. I like to say to people when they say oh, you get to work for yourself-- Yeah and I get to pick which 70 hours of the week I get to work. Sat. I worked, was in decent mood, came home sat down and was literally overwhelmed with a sense of awful depression, asense that my life was for naught, probably triggered by the stesses of the last month. Sunday I got up , took dog and hiked miles in the snow--mood lifted. I walk everyday at 6 AM with dog for 2 miles without that therapy I would be shot. Be kinder to yourself and be sure to take the walk.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe patients have left your practice for taking a sick day. There are not many neurologists around to begin with, and then to find a good one is even harder. I am lumping you with the few good ones based on what I have read. My neuro has canceled at least a dozen times since I have been seein him (many years). A few times I have already been on my way there and he was just too sick to continue his day. I am sick enough by myself and don't need to "catch" whatever my doctor might have. So, if he needs to take a day or ten or a six week leave (which he had to do in the middle of a crisis time for me) there is not a whole lot I can do. And as long as there is someone to take care of me in his/her absense take whatever time you need. Just like as a teacher having to take a sick day and another teacher taking over for me. It happens and you don't have to explain yourself. I hope today finds you feeling better. I know your days must be long. I know my PCP takes work home, has dinner with his family and then hides away to finish patient call backs. I have gotten call backs as late as 9:45 PM. Have a great rest of the week, Grumpy.

Anonymous said...

My neurologist suffers from migraine attacks. He's the 4th one I've seen since moving to Florida 11 years ago. I believe his having migraine makes him a good doctor for my migraine condition.
He respects the pain part of the disorder when other doctors refused to do so. That's just flat out cruel in my opinion.
While I am on a personal note here, thank you for this blog. It is one of the bright spots in my day. I hope you don't suffer from the big M too often.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is the bright spot in my day too. The first blog I look at every day, plus I check it all day long to see if you have put something else on. I also love the comments

Anonymous said...

Hey, there are a lot of diseases that can lay dormant until a period of prolonged stress (medical school?) opens the door and they go active.

Three months ago a young surgeon friend was stricken with sudden MS during one of her first solo procedures. They had to call another surgeon in.

That was it - the last time she stood without assistance. $300K down the drain.

My story is similar. It happens.

PirateJenny said...

Maybe this is sadistic, but I prefer my neurologist to have migraines. Well, not at the time he sees me, but if he's a fellow migraineur, he knows the pain I get. (And I don't understand why people find this surprising. People should study what they suffer from--it makes sense.Way back in high school when I thought I might study medicine, I wanted to specialize in scoliosis because I knew that kids would be more at ease with someone who went through the ringer with it and came out okay. But then I decided that was too much school for me.)

Anonymous said...

Why don't you cut down your working hours?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I like having a house and food. Believe me, we don't live large. Most doctors don't make as much as people think.

Amy said...

I guess a neurologist having migraines speaks to the fact that this disorder isn't completely figured out yet. Which is somewhat reassuring because I'm still struggling with it. Medications help, a lot, but I haven't found a magic bullet.

It's funny though, I do sort of expect a doctor never to be sick.

Nurse Sarah said...

Before I became a nurse and worked with doctors I had that type of thinking. I guess it is one of those sterotype things. However, some of the most unhealthy people out there are us nurses and doctors. I suppose the reason why is like you said because we are too busy taking care of others. I expect my patients to keep their follow-up appointments and take their medication but I'm VERY reluctant to ever go to the doctor myself haha. I would be a bad patient! Thanks for sharing with us!

Sarah RN

ERP said...

So I have your diagnosis. Caffeine withdrawl headache/migraine.
Now, don't tell me you went drug seeking to Dr Pissy.

Watercolor said...

Amen! A doctor friend of mine currently has a patient's family mad at her because she wasn't available last week. Because she was on her honeymoon! Geez. She was supposed to come back because they had an issue??? LOL.

My neuro is awesome and frequently schedules me as her last patient of the day. 1. so if she's running way behind I only have had to take a little bit off from work instead of all afternoon. 2. so she can come in and kick off her shoes and sit on the bench and say "what's been going on?" before we get into the medical stuff. And sometimes she decides to take the friday afternoon off with her kids and I get rescheduled. No. Big. Deal.

Docs are people, too. I find they are more likable if I treat them as humans with patience and understanding. They seem to like me better, too. haha

Taking Heart said...

hehe... i oftentimes poke fun at migraneurs... you know the ones allergic to toradol and zofran. But I can spot a tride and true migrane walk into my ED any day... swollen eyes... pukey... towel over their head as someone guides them to their cot.

Sorry if you had a real one.

a.generic doc said...

A neurologist with migraines...

Fits with the theory I came up with in my premed years when I worked as a scrub tech:

Doctors become like what they work with.

(The doctor who caused that thought was a proctologist.)

___________________________________

As far as doctors getting sick, we're exposed to lots of sick people. In residency and early practice, we get sick a lot. As time goes by, we've usually had a large percentage of the viruses that are going around. Same is true for teachers (and I assume Mrs. Grumpy will say for school nurses.)

Jonquil said...

As one migraineur to another, I sympathize.

I had heard or read that neurologists were actually more likely to be migraineurs than the general population, just as psychiatrists were more likely to have depression. For some people, *having* the problem encourages you to *fix* it. I've certainly seen a couple of neuros who were fellow-sufferers.

Alison said...

@SR,

Nothing says "generous" and "selfless" like sharing germs from a possibly serious illness with patients who are already struggling. I hate presenteeism.

@Dr Grumpy
I've noticed that docs with various conditions can go two ways towards their patients with the same conditions: (1) more understanding to their patients because they get it or (2) horrible jerks because "well, I have xyz and still walked to my 72 hour shift uphill both ways in the snow, so why can't you (even though you have a more severe case or something)." One female OB (mother of 2) is notorious in our area for being a rather heartless person to her patients who want epidurals during labor or even need more local that usual during repairs afterwards because "I did it unmedicated, so you must just be a wimp." She's not very popular with anyone other than people new in town or Medicaid recipients who have very few options.

I hope you are Type 1!

Anonymous said...

Back in the days when a pre-op came in the hight before, a child was scheduled for some sort of urinary rewiring and his surgeon had to cancel at 5:30 AM day of surgery. The mother was p----- but when I saw the dr. the next day I thought how lucky she was that he was smart enuf to cancel. He was white as a sheet from, of all things, a bleeding hemorrhoid. I wouldn't have wanted him anywhere near me. My husband has migraines too but when he went to take an imitrex last week for his first migraine in I don't know how long, he discovered they were expired. Much improvement from the weekly ones he had when we met. Hope that you are on the mend.

Just an ER doc said...

I had my first and only aura experience as a 3rd year medical student - on my neurology rotation, of all things. Scared the crap out of me, because all of a sudden, I couldn't see, and the field defect kept getting bigger and bigger. Then my arm went numb and the ziggly lines appeared, and I was *this* close to going to the ER sure I was having optic neuritis/MS. I put 2 and 2 together when the headache showed up (which was a totally weird contralateral not-severe headache.) Anyway, I'd like to think it makes me more empathetic to my real migraneurs.

Anonymous said...

taking heart: there are people that really can't take toradol. I was inpatient for three weeks at a migraine clinic in Ann Arbor Michigan and their specialists pulled my off of the medication due to an adverse reaction (different than allergy, I know). I always make sure that MD's know that it is an adverse reaction and not an allery. Needless to say, the damage from the Toradol is permanant. Thank you to the doctors and nurses out there how will listen and understand when I tell them that.

Anonymous said...

As a pharmacist I get comments from people all the time if I have a cough..."Why are you sick, you have all that medication back there to take!" Fyi-we need a prescription just like everyone else, and like all other busy professionals, don't take time off to see MD & take care of ourselves.

Cartoon Characters said...

I was sick for the last month. Really sick. Luckily my job entails contacting patients by phone. NOT ONE (even though I sounded deathly ill and talked to more than 100 people) made any mention that I was sick, or was sympathetic in the least - it was all about them and that was it as far as they were concerned.
Most patients don't like to know that their caregivers are sick never mind care about it. Most people are like that when focussed on themselves...they can't see beyond what is going on with THEM.

ER's Mom said...

Yeah, I've had patients PISSED at me for taking time off so I could have surgery myself.

Pissed when I canceled office due to passing out on L&D (turned out I had pneumonia).

Can't please them. So I don't even try anymore.

Dude'sDoctorMom said...

I am a geriatrician, and I am reasonably certain I'll still be getting old with everyone else.

I also get migraines and have never golfed except for mini-putt - coincidence?

terri c said...

Take care of yourself Dr. G. Believe it or not there are people who think that I am holy and good because I am a chaplain. Makes me spew Diet Whatever out my nostrils.

Kat's Kats said...

::head:laptop:: It's bad enough when I've heard other patients b*tching about having to wait for their appointment.

Me - S/he may have had an emergency to take care of.
Idjet - Oh no! S/he only has *office* visits today! or It's always like this!
Me - You can't plan for emergencies or Really? I haven't noticed that to be the case.

And then there are the ones who get ticked because they are going to have to SHOCK! HORROR!! be seen by someone else because the Doctor Is Sick/Out!!

Idjet - How dare they!
Me - There was probably an emergency of some type (if I don't know) or S/he is sick/on trip (honeymoon, adopting child from overseas, on vacation; all of which they told you duh!) or S/he is sick.
Idjet - They can't do that!!
Me - Why not?
Idjet - ::affronted:: Because they're a doctor!!!
Me - ::over the glasses look using dry teacher's voice:: Yes, and they are also human.

This may account for one reason why my various doctors & their staff like me. I notice when their day is... interesting. Take yesterday, my children were having physicals at our pcp's office. We walked in at 1000 and the receptionist was about ready to explode. She snapped at me, which is not her usual demeanor. I waited until a break to say, "Bad day?" "You would not believe!" "I hope it calms down!" "Thank you!!"

My hardest problem is teaching new offices that yes, I really am a good patient and I really do know you're all just human!

Polly said...

I'm always amazed at what people think doctors don't do. My dad was a physician, and every once in a while there would be some big scandal at the hospital. I'd mention it to my friends and invariably there would be someone in the group who would be like, "What!?! A DOCTOR [had a drug problem, had sex with someone they shouldn't have, was dishonest, whatever]!?!?!" I think some people really are raised to put doctors on pedestals--they are these magical people who have no frailties.

Mike said...

I can't believe people would change doctors because theirs happened to get sick... You probably don't want those people for patients anyway :)

My wife & I are grateful for our doctor - he's friendly, professional, and overall can be described as "wonderful". We cringe to think of the day he retires... having a family doctor is a rare privilege here in Victoria BC, as demand is very high.

Take care of yourself, Dr G!

BTW, golf is highly overrated :)

thecoolestwifeever said...

Migraines suck.
Topamax rocks.
No insurance to afford Topamax sucks.
No migraines from the Topimax rocks.
Nasty tasting pop from the Topamax sucks.
Losing 85lbs from the Topamax rocks.
Losing insurance and gaining 80lbs back sucks.
Dreaming about having insurance again rocks.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I didn't comment but was a little surprised that you have migraines, only because I have them myself and have made professional decisions partly based on what effect my migraines will have on my ability to work (which is a nicer way to say I want to be able to take off without getting any shit from anyone about it). I'm a lawyer so I've ruled out quite a few things I wouldn't have wanted to do, and I'd imagine a medical residency would be nearly impossible.

And on a related note, they've *discontinued my midrin*. Can't take triptans; may look for heroin or Seconal or something benign like that. If you didn't already know this, expect some of your migraine patients to come to you in tears soon.

kc said...

Dr. G, sorry you suffer from migraines. I think people assume doctors have some sort of magic that either keeps them from getting sick, or they have special drugs that make it go away instantly. I think it's because our doctors seldom take off when they're sick. I've seen my rheumatologist reduce her hours due to pregnancy but still worked right up until delivery (or at least the day before). My primary told me her patients got mad at her because she cancelled clinic due to illness one the previous - she probably had the same thing I had gone to see her for, but there she was, taking care of me. I wanted to go home and make her a big pot of soup, but she told me to go home and go to bed.

It's kind of like when Mom gets sick...she keeps going, keeps being mom, is always there for us, even when she's violently ill. Why? Because her family needs her. Which I'm guessing is the same reason most docs do it...because your patients need you. Am I way off base?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

You are correct. There's a sense of duty, but in solo practice there is also a financial issue: if you aren't hunting, then you aren't eating.

Ladyk73 said...

ha! Top this. I have been diagnosised as having bipolar NOS..and I am a social worker working in the mental health field.... I am a therapist!!!!

RehabNurse said...

Grumpy:

Sorry your migraines suck...have you thought about ONBs (occipital nerve blocks) or other treatments (yes, I know golf balls to the back of the head may not be your thing, but...) through a pain specialist?

One of my friends recently developed migraines. She has more empathy for people now since she was very debilitated by them.

I cross my fingers daily hoping I never develop them...just horrible!

Anonymous said...

My parents were both doctors, and my mom breezed through five pregnancies and deliveries. As a result, my dad tended to think that childbirth is a breeze and my mom is full of contempt for her daughters who have all needed interventions (C-section or forceps) to deliver. I have had four kids, every one a malpresentation, and I can't shake the feeling that I am less of a woman because I can't pop 'em out like mom could. On the other hand, my kids love their mom and loathe their grandma.

Anonymous said...

Residents also joke that you will be infected by/die from your specialty, like the cardiologist who dies of a heart attack.

word verification: dermni. Luckily, I am not a dermatologist, and so will not die of a horribly pustular rash.

Anonymous said...

Do you at least wear a domino mask and a spandex unitard?

Anonymous said...

I got diagnosed with bilateral renal artery stenosis third year of med school. My doctor wanted me to have the stents put in right away. But once we got my BP under control (on 4 different meds…), I kept putting the procedure off – step 2, residency interviews, mom’s MI, grandfather’s cancer, etc.. A year later my creatinine has almost doubled…oops… I am getting the stenting done in a couple of weeks. I feel VERY stupid. Being a good patient is hard….

Anonymous said...

migraines suck... nothing good about them. Sorry you get them too. I feel your pain... I get them, but feel fortunate that I don't get the hemiplegic migraines like my younger brother and sister. The first time they both got one, they thought they were having a stroke....

Anyway... never thought your had Kryptonite coursing through your veins and were immune to getting sick, just garden variety Diet Coke. ;-)

And once again...migraines suck... hope they are far and few between for you.

Ellie said...

Dr G - Actually, I think I'd appreciate it if my neuro got a migraine now and then, because s/he'd know what they felt like. I have PCOS and you can immediately tell if the nurse/gyn (if she's a woman) has ever had an ovarian cyst because their face immediately gets sympathetic, because cysts HURT.

And honestly, I PREFER my doctors to be real people with real ailments and frailties. My beloved GP had really horrible hip problems and one day I watched him hobble in in obvious pain into the room, and I asked him about it, and if he was okay. He seemed really surprised that I asked, and even MORE surprised when I asked him how he was doing on my next visit. Ever since those visits, he seemed genuinely happy to see me and started giving me hell and letting his snarky smartass personality show, which I loved.

I don't want a marble statue treating me, I want a person. I actually will switch doctors if the doctor is too frosty. I understand that they don't want to be my BFF, but act like a real live human being, plz.

@Thecoolestwifeever - Ah, topamax. I cried bitter tears when it ruined soda for me. Soda is my WORST vice, and i was devastated that it made the carbonation taste so horrible. I've heard a LOT of people that take topamax have the carbonation/taste issue.

Moose said...

Wow, you certainly stirred up your bees nest here, Doc. But I'll leave you with one last thought on this:

I cured my migraines [and a host of other problems] by giving up listening to people who told me what worked for *them*. :-P

And to Anonymous at 8:31pm: My grandfather, who was in his time one of the best [if not the best] cardiologist in the big NorthEastern city in which he lived, did in fact die of a heart attack. Then again, he was a diabetic during the days when testing your urine was the only option, and as diabetics know today, by the time you're peeing sugar the damage is being done. Likely he had cardiac neuropathy and, blessedly, never felt it.

RxKerBer said...

I had a patient this weeend ask me if it was ILLEGAL for her MD to work bc he was sick (cold stuff). Yes, illegal. Ad I cannot tell you how any pts don't want me to fill their rxs when I'm sniffling and coughing. I had one lady tell me I should go home. DUH! If I only had a replacement rph.

Anonymous said...

Migraines suck. Period.
Mine all disappeared after I had children. But then so did a myriad of other faculties...and you're obviously not just moonlighting as a mandoc so that methods out.
What a lot of comments...don't we all love to share our stories of being poorly and all our cures?!Facinating reading
Hope you're back to your usual self...(-:

Anonymous said...

I know docs are human. I've got a chronic illness and have been contemplating medical school for a while. I think why it surprises me when docs have these things isn't because I don't think docs can get sick, but that people who have issues are less likely to make it through the training to become docs in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to add that if you are a doctor to please SEE a doctor if you have symptoms. In my area of practice, we've had a lot people diagnosed with late stage cancers because they thought they knew why their symptoms were happening. Turns out the anemia wasn't heavy periods or the coughing wasn't bronchitis. We help no one if we don't make sure to help ourselves.
Do what I say...Not what I do. But I do now make sure to do a PE from another doctor who I'm not friends with : ) They're less inclined to "buy" my health stories.

TracyKM said...

My favourite family doctor died of a rare lung cancer (he was a non smoker) at age 33. The new doctor I have now has the same thyroid condition I've just been diagnosed with. But surprisingly, despite her troubles to get diagnosed, she's not too eager to actually do anything about my condition.
It's like being a teacher and having kids that are in remedial programs. We're human too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:58

If you do your homework you can still find Midrin. I just find 145of them (ex. 2013) in the state north of mine, and one of my BFF's picked it up and mailed it to me. This is the second time I have done this. Think of who you know in other states, call all the pharmacies near their zip code and you may just get lucky. Otherwise, I know that some compounding pharmacies will prepare it for you though it's expensive. The one near me will do it when I can't get the capsules anymore. Since I am limited on useage becasue of rebound headaches this batch should last a while.

Anonymous said...

I think this, is one of your best posts yet and that's saying a lot because you've had some really good ones. I am also a healthcare professional with a chronic condition right up your alley but thankfully I work hours that don't aggravate it too much. I.e. no night shifts for me. I'm pretty sure you know what I have by what I said. But I'm sure there's people in the medical field everywhere who feel the same way as I can see from the comments.

B. Perky said...

Having fibromyalgia, I am rather happy that my doc does also even if it means I can't always see her when I want. I feel like I have a more sympathetic practitioner.

Esther said...

I understand that doctors have health problems too. I do, however, try to avoid doctors who have asthma. As an asthmatic and having been treated by several nurses and doctors who were also asthmatics I have noticed that from one asthmatic to the next, well, there just isn't much grace. We seem to feel that since we can deal with the mental anguish of breathing issues so should everyone else. So, I like to check to make sure my doctor doesn't have asthma.

Anonymous said...

My neurologist has migraine too :). Poor guy.

RxKerBer said...

You must be contagious. Had a BAD migraine start 30 minutes into my shift at Busier than Hell Pharmacy today. Those fluorescent light REALLY help. 2 fioricets only made it bearable. Ugh. It's still here at 2:13 am.

Should all migraine pts see a neuro? I don't have one and was wondering if I should.

lovinmyjob said...

As a pharmacist I have run up against the same attitude....from doctors. For some reason there are alot of docs out there that think pharmacists self-medicate. UHHH...No...we need an rx like everyone else and we have to pay for it like everyone else. Many times docs don't take me seriously for who knows what reason. Are they intimidated? Do they think its all in my head (not neurologically either)? I've actually had docs accuse me of being a drug seeker when I asked for toradol instead of lortab!!! That actually worried me more than a little and for more than one reason. I've had docs treat me with distain and outright contempt. I got to the point where I didn't tell them what I did for a living just so I could be assessed in a non-biased fashion. When they asked what I did for a living I just said that I worked at the drug store. Then on the other side of that I've also had patients who were stunned when I told them that I suffered from the same thing they did. It makes me more empathetic, I think. My favorite though is the employers who think pharmacists should never be sick, but that's for entirely different reasons.$$$$$

Val said...

Well, my dad who was a doctor and never had a migraine (or headache, that I know of)died from a brain tumour, so maybe a doctor who gets migraines will live a long and healthy life. Here's hoping, Dr. Grumpy!

I'm still mind-boggled that people with migraines in the USA go to a neurologist and don't just go to the chemist (pharmacy) for some over the counter meds! Maybe 'neurologist' in the USA and 'neurologist' in the UK have different job descriptions.

By the by, is there a word verification contest going on here or something? I have 'olcho'. I'd prefer 'olive' (with garlic), but oh well.

Kat's Kats said...

As to the first, I believe all of us try that. When it doesn't work, then we talk to our primary care physicians. They are the ones who send us to neurologists.

As to the second, it's not a contest but something we do for humor.

comerse - how those in comas converse

Anonymous said...

I recently changed doctors, not because my doctor was sick (she had been on sick leave for a year and a half before any of this), but the last few times I have seen her she has become less and less... nice. Always late, and then she gets snippy with you if you try to ask her for something medical other than just getting new prescription (which are only for allergy meds, so I am probably viewed as one of the "easy" patients of the day).
The funny thing is. She's been like this for years, but I didn't take notice until I was seeing the doctor filling in for her during her sick leave. But I wouldn't change doctors just because they were ill...


Bridget

Spook, RN said...

To paraphrase a quote: "I'm a Nurse, Jim. Not a fucking miracle worker".

Yes, there is a sense of duty - but I think part of it is also a "stop being a sissy. Grow a pair and get your ass to work".

I'm sure we all know (or are guilty of) the person who ended up with a raging pneumonia because "it's just a bad cold/cough" or the colleague who ended up with sepsis from a ruptured appendix because "it's just a stomach bug".

Anonymous said...

People *read functioning assets to society* that actually have work have an excuse for putting off things once and a while. Medicaid queens/kings/scumbags that scam the system so they dont have to work HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD! There is no excuse they shouldnt be getting their ish done on time, exercising, picking up rx's on time. So sayeth the former pharmacy intern.

Tzipora said...

Again, replying to a way old post (You know now I either live your blog or I'm nuts or a bit of both ;) but in terms of the docs with migraines discussion- I have an idiot PCP (seriously, the stories I can tell are unbelievable!) who will throw me at a specialist as often as possible and only tosses me a phone number list along with it. She's always circling numbers and has no idea that I get yelled at for fractured care... Anyway the one damn thing she insisted she actually could treat was my migraines. I actually have other rather complicated rare-ish neuro issues as it is, and she's either blown them off, denied them, or misses the connection but seriously when asked if I could see a neurologist for my migraines she decided she was ale to. I had an adverse reaction to Imitrex (the whole chest and jaw pain/ heaviness etc ironically if I took two they WORKED but I thought I was haing a heart attack instead) so I tell her this and she throws me on an expensive script for Maxalt because she's on and loves it and insists I will too. I pick up the script, pay the high copy, and then realize "WTF, I had an adverse reaction repeatedly to a triptan and she just gave me a more expensive triptan?!" so of course I took it once, had the same reaction and with no migraine relief and I gave up! I just suffer it out or use the pain meds (of the narcotic and not so grand for migraine variety that maybe take away the pain but leave me as noise and light sensitive as ever which in my mind is usually worse than the pain) Ugh, I imagine now that most doctors are smart enough to realize that your miracle migraine med might it work that way for your patient especially if it's an effing triptan and your patient had bad reactions to one.... And you know, maybe she should have just handed me a neurology number!

And as far as sick docs, slightly different thing but when I was younger my mom and I saw the same PCP (not the aforementioned nut job) who got pregnant and even came back to work after a fairly lengthy maternity leave, never warned anyone and suddenly decided to leave her practice to be with her kids and somewhere in there somehow my mother and I lost our medical records and never did find the,. Fabulous, right? So I don't care if my doctor takes a sick day or maternity leave but seriously don't go quitting your practice and running off with my medical records! And for once I'm thankful they're now all electronic anyway....

 
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