I’ve been anemic several times in my life. I noticed that I was having the symptoms so I told my acupuncturist. My acupuncturist requested that I get a blood panel confirming and, like an idiot, I went to my doctor. They told me to step on the scale and I said “No thank you” which always gets us off to a rockin’ start. The nurse opened my folder and her eyes went wide (I assume that my previous doctor had made notes about the cholesterol test debacle (which you can read about in my blog post “A Tale of Two Cholesterol Tests”). Regardless, whatever she read shook her so much that she forgot to take my blood pressure. She left, the doctor entered and that’s where the fun starts.
Doctor: What seems to be the problem?
Me: I think I’m anemic, I’m having the following symptoms….
Doctor: At your weight, it’s diabetes. Lose 50 pounds and come back.
Me: (remaining calm) I’m happy to entertain that as a possibility, but I’m going to want a blood test to confirm.
Doctor: (handing me a diet and exercise sheet) It’s really not necessary, no matter what is wrong with you, you’ll feel a lot better if you lose 50 pounds.
Me: Be that as it may, I’m going to insist on a blood test. It’s not like I’m asking you to pay for it. Also, this exercise sheet says that I should start by walking 10 minutes a day. I currently work out about 20 hours a week so should I stop all that and substitute a brisk walk? It would certainly save me a lot of time, but I doubt it would have the intended results.
Doctor: (sighing heavily and looking at me as if I’m definitely a liar) Fine, I’ll do the test.
I wait, he comes back.
Doctor: Your glucose is 72.
Me: Isn’t that basically perfect?
Doctor: Yes, but you probably still have diabetes, we just need to test you at different times.
Me: (now beginning to lose patience) In the meantime, could we perhaps do a test for, oh – I don’t know…anemia?
Doctor: I suppose.
I wait, he comes back
Doctor: Well, you have anemia.
Me: (positively dripping with sarcasm) That’s so WEIRD, that’s what I thought I had!
Now, out of curiosity, if I had followed your diet and exercise sheet as you requested and managed to lose the two pounds per week that you want me to lose, unlike the 95% of people who fail, it would have taken me 25 weeks. What would have happened if I had dieted while my anemia went untreated for 25 weeks? And since you seemed to be stumped with that one, let me ask you another… How many other people have you done this too? How any people have become sick or died at your hand because you looked at them and diagnosed them as “fat”?
Doctor: I think we would have noticed if things didn’t improve once you had lost 25lbs.
Me: Really? I doubt it. It seems to me that you pulled 50 pounds out of your ass, since you don’t have my weight or height. So I doubt that 25 pounds would have been a magic number that made you pay attention to my actual symptoms. Also, you didn’t answer my question, what would have happened?
Doctor: I guess you could have technically died…
Me: I’m leaving, and I’m not paying for this.
Doctor: Of course.
What about you? Do you have doctor stories – good, bad, funny, interesting? Please feel free to put them in the comments below.
-Ragen Chastain, from So My Doctor Tried To Kill Me