One would think that after 5 + years of experience and numerous dealings with me in this regard that my primary care physician, would get a clue when I tell her that..."I think I have an infection".
Over the last 5 years she takes an in office sample runs a ph test often with negtive results, or conflicting results with the hospital's more extensive culture, or trace positive, to which she has sometimes not given me medication and other times a quick course of Cipro, which has sometimes worked and other times not.
The latest is two weeks ago I called stating I think I have a UTI. Her office assistant said she will need you to come in so that she could run a test. As usual the test was inconclusive -- trace positive -- so she wanted it to be cultured. In the meantime, due to my history she gave me a short course of CIPRO. I took the CIPRO. I received a call from the office person who said that the culture was contaminated and that I should be ok with taking the CIPRO. One week later I was still alarmed and had worsening symptoms. I called her office to find out she was away. I was given a backup physician's phone number that I called. The nurse took my information and said the doctor would get back to me. The next day I received a call from the 2nd doctor's office stating that since they did not know me they needed me to go to the hospital and provide a sample. I dutifully went to the hospital, provided a sample, and waited to find out......
The next day I received a call, saying that there were findings, the test was not conclusive that it was sensitive to CIPRO so they were getting a further culture and that my doctor (doctor #1) would be getting the results on Monday and she would get back to me. So, after two + weeks, two + test, and a short course of antibotics I am still waiting to here what is happening to me. I certainly hope I do not get a kidney infection.
The whole thing strikes me as absurd. This is modern day medicine after all. How hard can it be to figure out what bacteria I have and how to treat it.
- How can a doctor that I have seen (much to my chagrin) for over 5 years not get a handle, a clue, an awareness of my unique symptoms and find a relatively straightforward solution?
- Why do I have to continually jump through hoops that seem to be so rote that they serve essentially no value in my case?
- How can doctor's after years of experience with a patient not modify diagnostic/treatment routines to reflect a particular patient's symptoms especially for something seemingly so simple. For Christ's sake this is only a f%$#@ng UTI. And, my doctor is supposed to be quite diagnostician.
It is not the case I want to be right, show her, or any other doctor up. I just want to be listened to and not treated like a bumbling idiot, with the attitude of you are not a doctor so how could you know your own body. After years of dealing with medical problems I think I have learned to pickup on my symptoms. So, today I sit and wait, shake my head, and jump through doctor's hoops. The end result is the process is
- More expensive than it needs to be (which I end up paying for)
- Takes an awful long time to resolve, and
- Smacks of futility. And, it really doesn't need to be that way.
The lessons for me are to find a new GP that will listen and continue to fight for my interests as a patient, and not give up. Sometimes I do throw in the towel and accept mediocrity. But that has to stop. As a patient, one cannot do that because the consequences can be significant.