Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Really Tried

My dislike of doctors was temporarily lifted, but it's back in full now. I know not all doctors are created equal, but why am I plagued with the ones who don't listen to me? Their shiny, expensive education does not give them leave to ignore my concerns. At. All.

The reason for going in the first place was because there is a mass on the back of my neck. It's under the skin, very solid, and quite painful. It appeared almost five weeks ago, the first morning of the kayaking trip after I spent the evening being eaten alive by mosquitoes and flies. This made me believe that the painful lump was just an upset lymph node. In my experience, they go away in a few days and don't hurt like this one. My nurse-to-be roommate thought it may be a cyst. There is another just above it, but this one is behaving like a lymph node should, swelling up and going away as it does its thing without pain. It was almost four weeks since it showed up that I went to the doctor. She liked the lymph node theory and so ordered blood tests (to see if there's anything there that will tell me of an infection) and an ultrasound (to find out what the lump is actually made of).

The ultrasound indicated a plain old lymph node. The technician called in the on-site doctor during my scan who sounded very perplexed when I affirmed that I was not feeling unwell and had not had any recent cold or illnesses of any kind. She kept asking, as if the third or fourth time would yield a different answer from me. Blood work came back with nothing on pinpointing a cause of an overzealous lymph node. I've been ordered to wait and see how it is when six weeks from its appearance have gone by. If it hasn't changed, they'll do more tests.

Have you ever stayed at a hotel with a rock-hard bed and even harder pillow, and woken up feeling like someone breaking your neck would feel better than the soreness in your muscles? That's the kind of pain I've been in for four weeks and change. And I have to deal with for two more. Joy.

But, that's not even half of the issue.

The blood tests came back showing that I am anemic. This, they say, is related to a suspected iron deficiency and have ordered more test, which may result in the need to take an iron supplement of some sort. They also found that I am deficient in vitamin D, and said I need to take a prescription and over the counter supplement to correct that.

Now, when I spoke to the doctor a week ago, one of the first things I told her was that I am awful at taking pills. I don't even take a multivitamin. I'd sooner reach for a cold washcloth and take a nap when I have a headache than a bottle of painkillers. I really detest taking pills and do so only as a last resort. She told me then that I really should be taking a multi, and since I don't drink milk (intolerance, not choice) I should have a calcium supplement as well. I can almost guarantee that I'll be on this bandwagon for about a month. Then, I'll stop taking them again. So, with this knowledge in mind, the only thing she can recommend is more pills? So, now I go from taking none, to needing five or more? What the hell is this shit about?!

I didn't actually talk to the doctor about my tests and the recommendations from there, I only spoke with the nurse. I called her back and told her I needed alternatives to all these drugs. The response I got was "this is what we do in a case like this." If I were a case, that would be a fine argument, but since I am a person, they can tell me I need pills without offering alternatives all they want.

See, I know there are alternatives. If I'm iron deficient, I should eat more beef. If I'm vitamin D deficient, I can spend some more time in the sun. There is nothing that is wrong that can't be corrected by simple, natural changes. I'll even concede taking a multi and calcium supplement (for now), but the other things have other options and I'm not just going to start choking on pills until they've been attempted.

On the bright side, I'm not diabetic and my blood pressure and cholesterol are in pretty good places. Still, the initial reason for going to a doctor has to wait and I am not going to have unnecessary pills shoved down my throat.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I rarely tell people to take a multivitamin, though a lot of people want to do this. Natural foods are the best way to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals--but Americans don't want to give up their junk, and would prefer to supplement their poor diet with a multivitamin. I'm glad you are of the minority who want to just eat better!

Anyway, for those with a more severe deficiency who have to ingest above and beyond what they can naturally, there are chewable versions of vitamins out there...Viactiv chews have Vitamin D and calcium, and come in yummy flavors like chocolate. Iron is a bit more tricky, but sometimes you can take a few more chewable Flintstone vitamins to get enough iron--ask the pharmacist.

I'd consider treating your lymph node with a 10 day course of antibiotics such as keflex or augmentin to see if that would help it go down a little more quickly--if not, I would refer you to an ENT doctor to take a fine needle biopsy and see if there isn't anything else funky with it....Laurel