I know I’ve had a good old whinge about doctors in the past, but here’s another one:
The end joint on my second finger on my dominant hand has been giving me trouble for a while, mainly small sharp shooting pains that afflict me occasionally but over the last 3-4 months, it’s been getting steadily worse. I suspected that I had a very small foreign body in there so I initially tried poultices and all manner of drawing salves, but nothing appeared so I eventually decided that maybe I’d have a word with my doctor. The first one was the one I had trouble with last year who seems to believe that I’m a uneducated hypochondriac. Needless to say, it didn’t go well.
“You’ve probably got something in there – it’ll work its way out in its own time” he says. I sighed, realising he couldn’t be arsed to listen and I left.
The pain got steadily worse and the end third of my finger started to look slightly swollen. No heat or anything obvious but I thought I’d better go and see one of the other doctors. He suggested antibiotics. Um – no. I’ve had two courses in the last six months for a recurrent parotid infection so I don’t want any more. He finally agreed to send me to get an x-ray to see if they could see anything in there. I went back 2 weeks later (the first appointment I could get).
No foreign body. Nothing wrong with the finger. Oh, so that’s why it’s f***ing painful is it? He seemed surprised when I winced as he palpated the joint.
“Really?” he asks as I wince in pain.
“Really!” I reply
This visit he’s changed his mind and doesn’t think there’s any point in antibiotics as there’s no obvious infection. He wonders if the hospital would do an ultrasound if he asks (funny how I suggested that at the last appointment and was dismissed). Maybe he’d have to refer me a hand surgeon. Finally he thinks let’s try the antibiotics and if they don’t work, give him a ring and he’ll see about referring me.
Antibiotics don’t work. No surprise there. I finally get an appointment in 3 weeks’ time and ask if the doctor can call me as they haven’t worked.
Today he called me. Suggested I take painkillers and strap the finger to the one adjacent to it and, basically, accept the fact that I have a painful finger. There’s nothing more he can suggest.
What about referring me to the hand surgeon? I ask. “I don’t see how he’d have any more idea than me” he said. I think, but don’t say, “I thought he was a specialist – aren’t you just a “General Practitioner”?” How arrogant. How dismissive. How f***ing stupid of him.
Why on earth would anyone choose to “put up” with pain just because their GP doesn’t know what’s wrong? Oh right, yeah, I’ll just wince every time I try and pick anything up in that hand. And yelp any time I poke anything with that finger. Yeah, that’s normal.
I did the same as on previous appointments: allowed a pregnant enough pause that he thought maybe he’d refer me on to see what the surgeon said. At last. Oh – but he thought I should still keep the appointment with him in two weeks’ time. No thanks. Idiot.