My husband and I were recently in the market for a new primary care provider. We saw an internal medicine doctor who was very convenient to our home with high hopes that he'd be who we needed.
We were allowed to have a "joint" appointment, and the doctor did great with my husband. He went over his medications and his complaints, made suggestions on a few things and tweaked his meds a bit. I was impressed with his knowledge and competency - until he got to me.
I handed him my symptom list and journal which my neurologist has me keep so she can monitor any progression of whatever it is that I have. (I haven't been diagnosed yet.) He took one look and said that I needed to lighten up and that I was obsessive. (I'm probably the least obsessive person on the planet! ) He then went through and dismissed most (but not all) of my symptoms as being caused by anxiety. (At that time I was taking an antidepressant my neurologist prescribed to help give me a bit of energy and Valium for dizziness. How the heck could any anxiety symptoms get through those two meds?!) He also changed my antidepressant without consulting my neurologist. Needless to say, I was very upset at this appointment and we didn't go back to him.
We just found a new doctor yesterday who is wonderful! He's very down-to-earth, easy to talk to, and has a great sense of humor, as does his whole staff. As he was reviewing my medical history, I told him I had an undiagnosed neurological problem. He laughed and told me that was typical with neurological problems. When I told him I'd been dealing with these symptoms for about a year, he said that even after a year, I was still early into the diagnostic process and that it could take several years before I found out what was going on. He also said my symptoms do sound like MS.
As it turns out, his wife, who's name is Lisa too, has MS and sees the same neurologist (who is an MS specialist) that I do. Since he lives with MS on a daily basis, hopefully this will give him more empathy for my situation, along with a unique understanding of the symptoms I have and the medications I take or need.
For instance, he prescribed Provigil for me. I told him that our other family doctor had prescribed it before, but my insurance company wouldn't pay for it because they said that it wasn't approved for MS-related fatigue. I've done some research on it though, and it IS approved for sleep apnea, which I was just diagnosed with a few weeks ago. So, we're going to try to get it for me to combat this horrible fatigue I have on a daily basis. He was telling me that his wife takes it, and it really helps her without giving her the jitters that other meds of this type can do.
Anyway, to answer your original question, yes, I feel that some doctors, though not all (thank goodness!), are quick to dismiss women's symptoms more quickly. It's sad that in this day and age that this still happens. That's why I'm glad my neurologist (an MS specialist) is female. She's never made me feel that my problems weren't important.
Living in Limboland!
I may not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.
Post Edited (Shashi) : 7/21/2007 7:43:16 AM (GMT-6)