We're starting this series of stories off with one of my personal favorites; the one where a doctor recommended to my 20 year old self to 'just get pregnant' so my (then suspected Endometriosis) symptoms would maybe disappear for nine months...
Let me set the stage here for you. While most college students were preparing their ski trips or Hawaiian vacations for Winter Break, I was set on getting in to see this "Endometriosis specialist" while I was home in Atlanta. I was on the waiting list for months when a spot finally opened up. Lucky for me, it was for the last day of my time in Georgia so I was really excited for the opportunity.
The doctor I was going to see was world-renowned for her treatment of Endo and her parents even more so for inventing the surgical robot used to diagnose and surgically remove Endometriosis. She seemed like the best of the best. She also charged knowing that she was viewed as such.
Anyway, I get to the waiting room and it was pretty typical: smelled sterile, there were photos of smiling women on the wall and a random poster of someone doubled over in pain with a cheesy - quite insensitive - line written below, "got Endo?"
I waited for over an hour with no update other than that the doctor is on call so she's having to take breaks from her appointments and speak with surgeons at the hospital. Ok, fair enough. But, after a hour and a half, I about lost it. I told the front desk person that if she's not available within 20 minutes, I have to leave. To myself I was thinking, I am losing time with my family by waiting here. This is silly. About 15 minutes later, I was brought back to the exam room.
But, joke's on me because I waited an extra 30 minutes in that exam room. I won't bore you with how many in-and-out trips the doctor made during our pre-exam conversation but I'll tell you that it was at least three separate occasions lasting 30-40 minutes each. Bedside manner was a zero out of five for me.
After speaking with me (for a whole 15 minutes when all was said and done) and briefly examining me, the doctor says that I have two options: surgery to remove the endometriosis or I can start trying to have children.
Doctor: You have a boyfriend, right?
D: And your family likes him?
D: Do you love him?
D: Then I would suggest sitting down with your parents and telling them you're going to need their help.
M: Wait, what are you talking about? I'm lost.
D: Well, you're at the age now where I'd recommend trying to get pregnant so you can be at least 9 months symptom-free. It might even last past post-partum.
To say I was in shock was an understatement.
She really pushed the issue and after a few minutes I just said, very plainly, "that is not happening, please stop suggesting that. It's off the table." I wanted to add, "bitch," in there but I held my tongue.
The doctor rolled her eyes - literally - and went back to talking about surgery. I said that I would prefer not to have surgery because I don't want there to be more risk than necessary that something happen and I wouldn't be able to carry a child. Another eye roll.
I'm in tears at this point and so beyond frustrated.
I finally said, "I think this appointment is over, can you just refill my birth control prescription?" She said no.
Her justification was that her professional recommendation was one of the two: give birth or have a surgery (with a low success rate). She was not going to write me a prescription of anything new or even just refill my current. I was fuming.
I told the doctor, "I will not leave this office unless you write me a prescription. I have time, I will wait."
You guessed it, another eye roll from our favorite doc. She chuckled and wrote me a script. I walked out of the doctor's office pissed off, defeated, sad and hopeless. She was supposed to help me but all she did was shame me.
Fast forward about two weeks from the appointment. I am at work in the University library and have a full-on panic attack. I couldn't breathe. I was doubled over. I couldn't stop crying. About what? Accidently putting a library book back in the wrong spot.
My sweet boss took one look and told me to take off for the day and the next to make sure I was okay. Seriously, such a nice guy.
I immediately started racking my brain as to what could have happened. Is there an underlying reason as to why I'm panicking? I was half way out of the library doors when it hit me: my birth control. That is the only new thing in my routine in the past two weeks.
I stood outside, trying to breathe in as much fresh air as possible, and called the pharmacy. A nice man answered and I just word vomited all over him. Something like, "I don't know what's happening. I think I need to go to the hospital. This is the same prescription I had last time, right?" He paused...
"No, ma'am. This prescription is a much, much lower dose than your last. In fact, it's almost like they just gave you placebo, that's how little hormones you're getting out of this."
There I am, sobbing outside of a lecture hall. The doctor tricked me in order to get me out of her exam room. What if I had gotten pregnant? Was that what she was trying to have happen? How dare she.
I called Casey (my now-fiancé, then boyfriend) and he helped talk me down. My next phone call - still pissed but no longer crying - was to the doctor's office.
I tried to remain calm as I spoke to the receptionist. After all, it wasn't her fault. The woman at the phone transferred me to the nurse practitioner (they can prescribe medicine) and when she picked up, I started to cry again.
The nurse was so kind and apologized profusely for the pain this had caused. It was actually the same nurse had helped me when I was in their office. Anway, she insisted that it must have been a computer glitch and she was sending a rush prescription to Walgreens so I could start to feel better as quickly as possible.
I'm not convinced it was an accident but appreciated her gentle and empathetic dominer.
I am sure it comes as no surprise that I never went back to that doctor in Atlanta. She might have been world-renowned and "the best of the best" but not to me. It was one of the worst, and now laughable, experiences I have had at a doctor's office. What a quack.
If you like this post, let me know and I can share more stories! Unfortunately, there's plenty more where this one came from.
This is a continuation of a series I started on my previous blogging platform, BeYouTifulMadeline. I have linked those posts below if you want to read more!
I will have to do a post connecting the dots on all of the above links, because so much has changed, but wanted to leave them as a reference point!