Since I write novels set in the medical field, I’ve realized for many years that doctors can be confusing. You can pull up medical studies online and read three or four totally opposing articles by as many very educated doctors. I know this because my husband is one, and I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to get two physicians to agree on everything about a patient’s care. The poor patients.
You might especially have a problem if you’ve seen your family doc, and then been sent to a specialist, and then returned to your family doctor who hasn’t received a report from the specialist and doesn’t agree with what the specialist has told you. People fall through the cracks far too often these days as the system changes in America. I’m not even taking into consideration the field of naturopathy, which is a viable alternative for many, many patients who haven’t found the answers they need in the traditional medical community. Even there, as I’ve been studying webinars by alternative medicine professionals, they cannot agree.
So what’s a patient to do? Practicality should be a part of the equation, and some docs are so indoctrinated with rules and protocols they don’t learn to use their common horse sense–I said some, not all. On one of our last vacations, Mel and I took a drive to the Colorado mountains from our low elevation home in Missouri. We’d done it several times before with no problem. This time, however, I came down with the influenza Mel had picked up from a patient in ER a week earlier. We were staying at 11,000 feet in the mountains. By the time we decided I needed to go to a clinic, I hadn’t kept anything down for three days. I was so week I passed out when I got there. Combined with elevation sickness, that reaction was not surprising to me.
Because I fainted, however, what followed was an unnecessary nightmare ambulance ride down the mountain into a Denver hospital, where I was poked, prodded, tested by a team of at least five doctors–different kinds of specialists–who couldn’t agree on a single thing about me. One told me I’d be in the clinic at least another week. Another told me I’d be released in two hours. My favorite one made sure I was given some food, since by this time I hadn’t eaten in four days. Another doctor told me to never come back to the mountains.
Half the doctors were sure I had a serious heart condition and that I’d die, the other half were more practical and realized I was a lowlander with the flu. I spent the night and, feeling much better after being given fluids and oxygen, I checked myself out of the hospital and escaped as quickly as possible while Mel was back up in the mountains collecting our luggage. I checked into a local hotel and rested.
The next day we walked around Denver–perhaps six or seven miles of exploration. I didn’t die and I felt good, ate well, felt strong and didn’t get tired. I was with a doctor who kept a close watch on me and had the common sense to know that the flu and elevation were the only culprits in my ill health. We could have taken a cab at any time, but there was no need.
Doctors aren’t God. Yes, if you choose a particular physician to be your family doc, it might be wise to do as he or she suggests. But you should also do some shopping around for one you feel has at least as much common sense as education. One without the other does not make a good doctor.
If you find yourself in a situation where two or more of your doctors disagree with one another, you need to do your own research. And don’t stop at the first article you read online. Internet does NOT take the place of a doctor, but there are some sites online, such as drugs.com and the freemedicaldictionary.com, that might help you make more informed decisions. Mel checks webMD from time to time but doesn’t always agree–Big Pharma holds too much sway over the medical profession. They don’t hold that much sway over Mel. I trust him before I trust anyone else.
You’re on a loop for Christians who read. My advice to several patients lately has been to pray for wisdom and seek second opinions, even if they’re opposing. It’ll give you more information from which to decide about your own health. Your body doesn’t belong to any doctor. It’s God’s body, actually. Remember that Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge to rule God’s people. Because of that, God opened the storehouse of riches for Solomon. We can do the same. Pray for wisdom and guidance, knowledge and insight. God IS, after all, the Great Physician. Don’t try to make a human doctor into a god.