To the Health Care Provider Who Doesn’t Know Me

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About 3 weeks after I had my 3rd baby last summer, I made a followup appointment. I had just had my 3rd c-section. Although I was recovering fairly well, it was my 3rd c-section, I had a mass removed from my ovary and a lot of scar tissue cut out. I was honestly still in a lot of pain and was having a hard time sleeping because of the pain. If you have a newborn, you know how important it is to sleep while they are sleeping. I also had two other kids to take of during the day.

 

Photo Credit:  Baby Bare Photography

Photo Credit: Baby Bare Photography

 

 

My OB was unavailable due to a family emergency so I made an appointment with a nurse practitioner. I had seen her one other time during my pregnancy and I found her to be somewhat abrasive, but everyone deserves a second chance, right? After waiting for 40 minutes in the waiting room and then another 30 minutes in the exam room, she came in.

 

She inspected my incision site and said it looked good. I proceeded to tell her I was still having a lot of pain at 3 weeks out. I was out of my stronger pain meds and told her I was having a hard time sleeping because of the pain. I asked if there was anything I could take besides ibuprofen and tylenol. She cut me off before I got the last part in. She proceeded to tell me that I was a mom, basically to tough it out and that she wasn’t going to give me a sleeping pill because I needed to get up with my baby at night. She told me being a mom was tough and I needed to work through the pain. Obviously I know that being a mom is tough, I have two other kids, but this pain was unlike the pain after my other c-sections. I wasn’t asking for a sleeping pill, I just asked if there was anything stronger I could take than ibuprofen, which I reiterated to her. She looked at me again and eluded to the fact that I could be drug seeking to get more narcotics. At this point, my hormones took over. I could have handled the situation with more grace, but I didn’t. I began to sob and told her she doesn’t know me, doesn’t know my home situation and that I wasn’t asking for a sleeping pills or even narcotics. I just needed some encouragement and a solution! She had been in the room with me for 3 minutes and had made assumptions about me and questioned my integrity which was insulting. She lashed back telling me she was just trying to get through her day. I was surprised she turned it to make it about her? She then left the room to find me another provider. I left, a sobbing mess and ran out. At this point I called my husband and told him I was going to switch Dr.’s. I was determined not to go back.

 

A few days later, I received a phone call from my OB. The man that I had seen my entire pregnancy. The one who knew my history and knew me as a person. He apologized profusely for her behavior and talked to me for over 15 minutes on the phone. He then called in a prescription to help with the pain and offered to see me the next week. He listened and was kind. It made all of the difference. I will never forget that act of kindness and going above and beyond.

 

I’d put this experience on the back burner and tried to forget about it, until heard from a friend today. She’d gone in for an IUD removal so that she and her husband can try for another baby. She’s had previous c-sections and a few complications with one of them. She’d talked this spring with her provider about having another baby and got the go ahead to get her IUD out. The provider she saw today was a nurse practitioner who she had never seen before. She started to tell my friend what a huge mistake it was to get her IUD out, made her feel awful and that it wasn’t wise to have another baby because she had previous c-sections. Of course this was conflicting what my friend’s OB had told her a few months earlier. She had never seen her, never delivered her babies and yet she made assumptions. Obviously my friend will not be seeing this provider again because of how she made her feel.

 

I’m a health care provider, I deal with patients on a regular basis so I get it. Most of the time when I see a patient, I don’t see them again. I’ve taken this experience and it’s made me more in tune to the fact that I may not know what someone is going through and that I can’t pass judgements based on 5-10 minutes with them. I’ve learned that you should be kind. Always.

 

To the health care provider that doesn’t know me – Please don’t make assumptions. Don’t label me or cut me off when I’m talking. Don’t make me feel dumb or inferior if there’s something that I don’t understand. Respect my views and ideas. Come in with an open mind and listen. That’s not too much to ask, right?

 

 

Comments

  1. 24
    Maryann D. says:

    I think it is horrible when we go to health care providers who are insensitive and sometimes nasty. I have been to a few myself and I definitely try to find another. When we are in pain or sick, the last thing we need is someone who is not treating us properly.

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  2. 25

    That is a terrible way for a patient to be treated, especially having having just given birth.
    Rebecca | Botox Toronto´s last blog post ..Botox Isn’t Just For Wrinkles

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  3. 26

    Wow. That is not ok.
    My experience is with WIC. The ladies there told me that because my daughter had gained 6 lbs in less then a year she was obese. I was annoyed as I had just seen the dr and my daughter was in the 95th percentile for everything. She was tall and had just gone through a growth spurt making her just right in weight for her size. Everyone said I should complain but I just stopped going. I may have needed what they offered at the time but I made due without because I and my ped knew what was right about my kids growth. Not someone who takes only weight and measurements.

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  4. 27
    michael merrill says:

    I recently had a triple bypass and I still struggle with congestive heart failure. I was in constant pain and I had run out of pain medication. I also could not sleep at night because of the pain. When I went to my primary care doctor she was on vacation so I met with her physician’s assistant. Actually, he was a young man and fresh out of school. I told him I needed either more pain medication, or sleeping pills or an antidepressant because if felt that if I had to live like this from now on I didn’t want to live. He told me that I should make my final arrangements and request doctor assisted suicide. I guess that is what they are teaching them in medical school now. If you are over 60 the best thing you can do to make room for the people who are still productive that you should just die with dignity. Well I have worked and paid taxes since I was 14. I was 62 when I could no longer work If anything he made me more defiant and decided I deserved what I have earned for the last 50 years. No amount of pain or depression is going to make me throw in the towel just because some pseudo-intellectual, snot-nosed brat thinks I have overstayed my welcome.

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    Tiffany Reply:

    Michael,
    I am really horrified that a provider would say that to you. I hope that you said something to your primary physician. The thing is – they aren’t with you in the middle of the night when you are suffering, feel depressed, etc. It’s not like they have to prescribe you something for a year, they could give you something for a week, see if it helps and troubleshoot from there. It’s just so close minded to say what he said. I hope that you are recovering ok and that your pain is not too bad. I also hope they took your primary care doc took you seriously when you said you were depressed. That’s not something that should just be shrugged off. It’s sad how many people have these experiences and a lot of times it seems to be with nurse practitioners or physician assistants who think they know everything when they’ve just met you. I’m not sure if that’s coincidence or just how they are. I don’t want to put a label on all because I know some fabulous PA’s. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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  5. 28

    This broke my heart and was really NOT okay. I come from a family who works in the medical field and this shoudl NEVER be acceptable.

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    Tiffany Reply:

    It’s so true. There are so many amazing providers out there and my OB showed me that. It’s the ones that belittle and treat you like you know nothing. Those are the ones that shouldn’t even be allowed to practice.

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  6. 29

    I can totally relate — and I’m sorry you had to deal with this pain as well as with this traumatic experience. I’ve had this happen a few times myself and it is so difficult. It makes you feel like dirt. I had emergency gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, the surgeon (who I’d never met) had to make multiple incisions (I had staples all over me), told me I had the largest gall stone he’d ever heard of (the size of a jumbo marshmallow), and that my gall bladder was badly inflamed and that my liver was bleeding. He told me the next day that I’d “probably be there for several days” because the surgery wasn’t “run of the mill.” I felt like I was dying. Already nurses were trying to discourage pain meds, which I ignored, and on Day 2, the doctor came in and told me I’d have to get it through my head that I needed to leave and that I couldn’t just continue taking pain meds indefinitely. He treated me like a junkie. I was mortified and embarrassed and angry, which caused my blood pressure to spike, and a migraine, and the pain went through the roof. I went home shortly after regardless, because I didn’t want anyone to think I was just hanging out for pain meds. I could barely move, but who cares? Let’s not forget the unexplained liver bleeding that they might have wanted to keep an eye on. Nah, kick me out (in conflict to what you’d said the day before) because you think I’m a drug seeker. As if I somehow inflamed my own gall bladder and stuffed a gall stone in there. I mean, really! I’ve learned that if you’re seeking treatment that involves pain, you’re already asking for trouble.
    Kristin´s last blog post ..Best of the 80s: 80s Movies

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  7. 30

    I had an awful experience with a nurse practitioner as well when my OB/GYN was unavailable. She basically told me I would never be able to have a baby based on our 5 minute talk. I cried in the car the entire way home. I made an another appointment with my OB the following week and she put me at ease, and had no idea why that nurse would say that.
    Lauren´s last blog post ..25 Yummy and Refreshing Summer Desserts

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  8. 31

    As a health care provider myself, it makes me incredibly angry and sad when I hear about the way some patients are treated by some providers. Shortly after I started working midnights in a hospital job, I started having shooting pain that started in my hip and radiated down my leg, and felt like my foot was on fire. I ended up going through the ER that night. The ERP basically called me a drug seeker and told me because my hip x ray was normal, he wouldn’t prescribe any narcotics. I had a bottle of vicodin at home on my dresser, I wasn’t after narcotics, I was after answers and told him as much. A few months later, after an MRI showed damage to three discs in my back and a trapped nerve at L5, and after I’d retained a pain specialist and had three procedures for pain, the same ERP acted like he’d hand me the moon on a silver platter when I went through ER for something else. He knew if he had listened in the first place, things could have been a lot easier for me.
    Virginia @thatbaldchick´s last blog post ..3 Apps Essential for Traveling

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  9. 32

    It is hard to find medical providers who are willing to spend the time to really get to know their patients.
    Anne´s last blog post ..Seeking Real Guardians of the Galaxy

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  10. 33

    Wow. Hugs. Yes. I wish they would spend a bit more time getting to know their clients.
    Rachel @RunningRachel´s last blog post ..Summer Smoothies with Almond Milk

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  11. 34

    Wow. It’s reasons like these that most people hate getting checked when they know they should, even at their regular doctor. I’m sure doctors and nurses have seen and heard it all, but they’re supposed to have a little compassion.
    Crystal´s last blog post ..More Than Easy Salad Recipes: Chicken Ranch Nachos #FoodDeservesDelicious #shop

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    Tiffany Reply:

    It’s so true. There are providers out there that are amazing, but then there are some that are so/so. You would think that they would get that compassion over the years but she obviously hasn’t.

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  12. 35

    I am glad you wrote about this. It is sad that people make assumptions before they know the facts and shame on the nurse for talking about HER day.. Shame on her! If she was having such a rough day then why the heck was she seeing patients? As for your friend.. she knows her body best and I’m sorry she has gone through a similar experience… I say keep shopping until you find an office that you LOVE!
    Avry´s last blog post ..The Best Feeling Wall Artwork

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  13. 36

    I am so sorry that happened to you. how HORRIBLe of that person to make you feel like that. I would have reported her! I had surgery a couple of weeks ago for a lump and they gave me tylenol with coedine for my pain. I used it ONE time and could not take it because it made me itch SO SO bad that I could not even sleep! I called the nurse the next morning and she was SO rude and told me those are NORMAL side effects and to continue taking them! I was so angry at her and the way she treated me! I told her I cannot continue taking them as they don’t touch my pain and make me ITCH horribly! She did not care at all. I ended up hanging up on her and my hubby found some old Vicodin we had from a toothache. I took those for a couple of days and now I am okay. When I go in for my follow up appointment friday, I will tell my surgeon how that person treated me. I wanted to throat punch that wicked human! Anyways, I feel your pain on rude people!! HUGS.
    Shop with Me Mama (Kim)´s last blog post ..Get Gorgeous, Glowing Skin For Summer! Review & Giveaway!

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    Tiffany Reply:

    I didn’t realize that was a normal effect of tylenol with codeine? That’s actually what my Dr. called in for me and I took for about a week until I was feeling better. I never had those side effects. You would think if you had those effects that they would troubleshoot with you to try something else. Where did you have the lump removed from? I’m so glad that you are feeling better and I would definitely take it up with the surgeon.

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  14. 37

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. I wish you could send this post into the nurse practitioner. Or maybe ever write her a letter. She probably has no idea that she’s doing this – which is really sad. No one deserves to be judged. I’m glad your doctor went above and beyond to make this right.
    Emily´s last blog post ..Happy Aromatherapy Day | How I Use My Oils

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    Tiffany Reply:

    You know what’s funny is that when I talked to the OB, it sounded like this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. In the end I felt like my OB shouldn’t lose me as a patient because he’s got an awful nurse practitioner. I would wait 3 hours to see my OB over seeing her.

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  15. 38

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Glad that your OB went the extra mile for you.
    I wound up in the ER in the middle of the night with a kidney stone while on vacation 2 hours from home and was left in the ER to suffer on the floor like an animal because I might be a drug seeker. They wanted proof there was a kidney stone before they’d give me so much as an Advil.
    Sad.
    To me it’s worth potential enabling an addict than to risk letting someone innocent suffer. The hospitals need to worry less about being “big brother” and more about helping people.
    Jenn´s last blog post ..Easy Lemongrass Soda Recipe {Young Living Essential Oil Giveaway – Ends 6/30}

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    Tiffany Reply:

    Oh wow. Kidney stones are absolutely awful, I cannot believe you were treated like that. Thankfully it’s not a hospital that you frequent. :(

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  16. 39

    I want to curse, because sh*t like this has happened to me before, too. And it’s really soured me on going to the doctor for ANYTHING anymore. I latch onto the good doctors we come across in the military like white on rice. We are mourning the fact we have to leave San Antonio for many reasons, which includes having FINALLY found a fantastic doctor who really listens to what we have to say. We’ve asked for his assurances that he’ll still be here in 2 years when we return.
    Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting´s last blog post ..What Happens When Your Puppy Wants to Help Sweep

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    Tiffany Reply:

    When are you leaving San Antonio? Yeah, I’m the same way with Dr.’s. I had some issues with the boys ped a few years back and we started seeing his partner. I’ve loved his partner and refuse to see the other ped now.

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    Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting Reply:

    We’re leaving mid-to-end of next month for NC for 2 years, then we’ll be back. We’ve battled through bad doctors to find the good at every post, but we’ve been away from Fort Bragg for 6 years, I’m scared, I’ve heard stories, least of which made national headlines recently. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/29/army-hospital-chief/9718053/
    Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting´s last blog post ..What Happens When Your Puppy Wants to Help Sweep

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