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Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: Self-Diagnose, Then Doctor Shop

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With all the tools we have at our disposal through this awesome “Internet” thing, it seems pretty ridiculous that you’d ever go to a doctor’s appointment without at least having an idea about what your problem could be. If you do enough research, though, you can probably get a spot-on diagnosis! In fact, it’s sort of absurd that we even go to doctors at all these days. Google your symptoms, pick an illness, send it off to the pharmacy and get your drugs!

Unfortunately, we can’t do that. I mean, we can Google our symptoms, and there’s always WebMD, but there’s nothing out there that allows us to write our own prescriptions, so we have to go to the doctor anyway. That is fucking inconvenient.

So, to save time when you go to your doctor, make sure to do a quick search of your symptoms and go in with your diagnosis ready. Doctors love that.* It saves them time, and that will allow them to take a longer lunch break or see an extra patient (which means they get paid for an extra visit) or something. Awesome! And you don’t have to sit and talk to the doctor for 15 minutes when you already know you have ALS. (Note: I have no clue what ALS is.)

Go in. Tell your doctor what you have and how you know. You might encounter a problem here, though: your doctor might have some different ideas, and that ruins the whole time-saving thing. For example, when I went to my doctor a few months ago, I was absolutely sure that I had major sinus issues and probably jaw-arthritis. But he’s all going on about migraines! What the hell, doctor? I know what’s going on!** So if Doc’s got other ideas, you have a few options. You can follow your doctor’s advice and assume he’s right. You can demand to be tested for what you already know you have. You can also demand to be treated for what you already know you have–if necessary, alongside whatever the doctor’s giving you. And if your doctor is obstinate and refuses despite all the printouts you brought in that back you up, you still have an option: doctor-shop. Leave your PCP’s practice and find a new one. Tell them what you have, how your other doctor wouldn’t listen, and show this new doctor your printouts. Do this until you have a doctor who will give you whatever you want, and BAM! Cured.

In other news, Almost-Dr. Boyfriend has graduated and become Dr. Boyfriend, so he can officially back up the “Horrible” part of the title of this post. (I haven’t been around because we moved, and (a) moving is a long and involved process and (b) I am fucking exhausted. Regular updates will resume shortly. And if this isn’t funny at all, it’s because I’m fucking exhausted.)

*Actually, they really hate this. Hey–disclaimer, remember?

**Thankfully, the migraine medication he prescribed me works wonders for jaw-arthritis and sinus issues.


About Rachael

Hi. I'm Rachael. I realized one day that, even though I read a lot of books, I often have a hard time remembering them later on. I guess that happens when there's so much to try to remember! So I started The 50 Book Project, with the intention to read and blog about 50 new (to me) books in 2014. I read a lot of fantasy, but I'm trying to branch out and experience new stuff. Any questions? Suggestions? Let me know! Comment, or email me at

8 responses »

  1. i must confess that i do tend to do a fair bit of research on my symptoms before i go to the doctor for any reason. however, i assume that my doctor has done a lot more research than i have, what with the YEARS of education and experience. he’s a smart cookie. i usually end up saying something like “well, i found out that it could be X, Y, Z or cancer, so i figured i’d let you decide”.

    • See, you’re doing it wrong. Giving him options, letting him decide? No. Go in and tell your doctor, “I have LUPUS.” He’ll probably want to do a blood test or something but screw that! You know what you’re talking about! You know what your body is doing! You know your symptoms, you can FEEL them! He’s just some dude with a fancy piece of paper. What does HE know about YOUR body?

      Oh, and I don’t really care what your symptoms are. You should just say lupus. It has a lot of potential symptoms. OOH! Or paraneoplastic syndrome. Or sarcoidosis. Or anything else that, whenever someone says it, I hear it in Chase’s accent because I watch too much House.

  2. Mike (doctor boyfriend)

    No, you can’t have Percocet for your sniffles, no I will not write you a note saying you have to stay out of work for 2 weeks because you stubbed your toe, and no you cannot go on disability because you’re fat.

  3. i wonder if the doctors who do that stuff gave up after years of pestering, or if they never gave a crap to begin with and were just in it for the money.

    • I’m betting they gave up. The ones who are just in it for the money would probably go into a specialty, not primary care. It’s probably more a case of young, idealistic med student wants to help people and works hard and eventually graduates and goes through residency and then starts her own practice (I’m imagining the med student from House here) and slowly realizes that her patients don’t listen to her advice or care that she’s helping them and gives up and does whatever they want because, hey, at least that way they like her.

  4. I’m quite proud of myself for knowing the ALS is Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is a neurodegenerative disease that effects (affects?) the motor neurons, resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy. Hey look at that, I actually learned something last semester!

    Also, congratulations to Mike!!

    • I knew it was Lou Gehrig’s disease, but I wasn’t sure how to spell it so I left it at ALS, and I couldn’t remember at all what it was. I just remember that once my aunt’s legs felt weird and she clicked around WebMD until she was *convinced* that that was what she had. Turns out? Her memory foam mattress pad was causing her to sleep in the same weird position every night and cut off circulation and nerve stuff.


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