Ah, the Internet. As my favorite android once said, “Thank the Maker!” – C3PO.
This fantastic tool has enabled us regular folk to determine for ourselves the course of our care. Think it hard to believe that a little research can mean the difference between a correct diagnosis and being handed Prozac?
I’ll never forget the time I met with the ‘best’ cardiologist in Thousand Oaks. I was determined to finally get to the bottom of my chest pain. I arrived with all of my research in hand. Even though I was to undergo the same battery of tests I had taken before, this time it would be different. This time I had questions for the doctor.
He gave me all of 3 minutes of his time asking vague questions about my chest pain. Generic questions, like, does my pain go away with rest; and, does it hurt when I bend over. Um, duh!
Anyway, the testing began. After several hours enduring an EKG, Chest X-Ray, blood tests, etc., I was told that there is nothing wrong with my heart.
Here is where the research I did came into play.
I asked the doctor if there is a chance that my problem was microvascular in nature. He looked at me incredulously; his expression indicating the gall I must have to question him. Undeterred by his arrogance, I asked a more specific question.
“Do you think it possible that I suffer from Syndrome X?”
“No; you most certainly do not. You are too young for that”.
Therein lies my point. All cardiologists cannot possibly be familiar with all aspects of heart disease. How could he have known that Syndrome X (microvascular disease) falls to those of a younger age? How could I expect him to know that the tests just completed were originally designed with male patients in mind and are specific in locating problems in the large vessels?
That, my friends, is why you never walk into a doctor’s office without doing your own research.