Finding the Right Physician
From childhood to being an adult, you have considered suffering with any sickness as a temporary situation. You believed that you would recover from your bout with the illness once it ran its course. There never seemed to be much emphasis placed on how long you would have to cope with the discomfort of being sick as long as you had your family doctor standing by your side who could help aid your body with its natural healing process. It seemed to be that your physician was the only person who could offer you a kind of unpretentious reassurance when you were ill. He or she would reassure you, tell you that what you suffered with wasn't serious or terminal, that you were going to be all right, and what you had would eventually go away. You never questioned his or her authority because you thought this family doctor knew about all types of diseases and he or she was the authority when it came to illness not you. You were the ignorant person who happened to get sick and required his or her services. You had often wondered if your physician had the inside track on staying well since it seemed that he or she never got sick not even with a cold. It was as if you had some kind of unconditional trust and acceptance in what and how your family doctor would diagnose as the problem. You truly believed that this physician was the only person who could diagnose, treat, and cure just about any sickness that you could have ever endured. You confided your hesitancies, doubts, and concerns to him or her with a blind faith that he or she would remedy any health problem that you contracted. Sometimes, your family doctor even went beyond dispensing medical advice and shared personal opinions that influenced your viewpoint and directly affected the way you discerned your sickness.
Nevertheless, the reality is that any physician is a human being who has elected to study medicine as his career choice. He is no different than someone who chooses to study to be a teacher, lawyer, or police person. This individual has committed a majority of his life to help in healing others of their ills. It really doesn't matter if he receives a degree of M.D., D.O., N.D., or H.D. from a school of medicine for his many years of commitment and concentration. When it comes to addressing the true philosophy of what medicine is really about, no particular approach of practicing medicine can be judged as more significant than another. As part of the oaths that were taken once this individual decided to practice medicine, he has made a pledge to assist with respect and dignity in aiding any and all people who were and are ill with any disease. There was no clause interjected into his promise to play the Supreme Being at any time, to be able to diagnose every disease he came into contact with, or to cure all sicknesses from the face of the planet. He would probably acknowledge that it was his love of medicine, the commitment that was made to it, and the desire to help others who are ill that were the three most important motivaters for this person to enter into the medical arena.
Your rendezvous with this illusive syndrome called chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome means that you will encounter many various types of doctors in your quest to be diagnosed, find a workable individualized treatment plan, and a permanent cure. Your previous beliefs in a physician and what you gave credence to as the power and authority that this person had in the medical field may evolve into nothing more than distrust and disbelief. You will discover early into your CFIDS journey that what you perceive your doctor's role to be in aiding you so that you can recover from this syndrome may not be what you directly experience. Your physician is an educated person in the medical community who formulates opinions and summations as an integral part of his profession. Once you have had your initial examination from him, it is from these assumptions and estimations that he concludes a diagnosis. Your doctor will be influenced by a number of factors in the process of making a decision or hypothesis on what may be wrong with you. After reviewing all of the necessary test data and analyzing his conclusions from the direct examination, you may sense some frustration emanating from him. You have variance of symptoms that range from headaches to heart murmurs to extreme fatigue. These manifestations can be indicators for a large melange of many diseases, so he may be baffled with what is going on with your health. This individual can't explain to you what is going on inside of your body except for the definitive fact that you have some kind of infection. There is no true rationalization for some type of verification of all of the symptoms that you endure so he is at a loss.
Your physician may react in one of two different ways to this puzzling situation that she finds herself in with being your primary caretaker. The first is that your doctor may not believe that you are sick at all. She doesn't find it actually possible that you could be suffering from as many manifestations as you are stating. Your doctor may only have faith in diagnosing scientifically proven diseases that she may have learned about in medical school and what she had contact with in her internship. Another justification to her way of thinking is that if you were as sick as you claim to be, you would look a lot more ill and your behavior would be more subdued. You wouldn't be sitting in her office demanding some kind of answers as to what is wrong with you. She would think that you should be quieter and unassuming if you have such low energy and fatigue similar to other people who suffer with serious, terminal diseases.
As a defense mechanism for not truly knowing what is going on with you, your physician will begin to display an "I don't believe you are really sick" attitude. Your doctor of medicine who is supposed to listen to you and help you find out what is really wrong instead becomes inattentive, indifferent, and unconcerned. This individual will stress the fact that your examination shows nothing is truly wrong. The tests that he has performed on you have resulted in nothing abnormal by proven scientific standards. He could begin to make lots of inquiries to the amount of stress in your life and your mental history. This doctor's conclusions will be based, not on the entire picture of what you have offered to him, but on what your doctor wishes to believe about your situation. Since he has never experienced any disease like this before and there appears to be no way to diagnose what is truly wrong with you, then the sickness must not exist and you have some type of mental illness that is causing you to imagine it for extra attention or to fulfill some emotional issue that you are not dealing with or ignoring.
Once your doctor has clarified her conclusions at the end of your office visit, it won't take long before you will realize and deduce from her inferences and analogies that she doesn't believe that you are sick at all. Your physician may have insinuated that you are imagining all of your symptoms or that you are psychosomatic. You can't help but be frustrated and angry as a result of hearing her opinions. You know you aren't crazy or imagining what is happening to you. All you can help but think is why would she suppose such things about you and why you would you dream up such a painful, long-term, all encompassing illness. Her attitude and summations don't make any logical sense. All this person has to do is look at you to see that you are as sick as you claim to be and more. What is this doctor's problem in treating your sickness? Your medical doctor may also suggest, as part of her treatment for your psychosomatic aches and pains and the "imagined" illness, to go and see a psychiatrist. This individual will definitely try to convince you through many different presumed justifications that she has concluded from your conversation that you are mentally ill. There will be an obvious emphasis placed on this diagnosis so much so that you will feel pressured into not believing in yourself or following your own intuition any longer. You are probably going to be in a state of temporary shock trying to accept that maybe all that you are going through could be caused by some kind of mental illness.
Your physician ends up feeling satisfied with his or her diagnosis of your problem. Your doctor then insists that you go to the psychiatrist and will refer you to one that he knows. As your doctor is guiding you out of the office, he will ask for you to call the office to let him know how your visit went and what the treatment plan will be with the psychiatrist. You stumble out of the office door in a kind of daze. By the time you get to the parking lot, you realize that you came to your doctor to find out what is wrong with you and instead received nothing but paying for an office visit which ended up costing a phenomenal amount of money for expensive tests and reeked of close-mouthed ridicule about possibly being mentally ill. You sense that nothing was resolved and all you got from this visit was more exhausted, angrier, and frustrated. Why is it that your primary caretaker didn't believe you when you are so ill? Why couldn't this individual find out what was really wrong with you? Why did your doctor have such a crass attitude about maybe admitting that he or she didn't know what is happening in your body?
The more preferred scenario to this situation is that your physician could have as a result of having you come into the office to find out what is wrong with you is more positive. She has sat and talked in detail with you about all symptomatic aches and pains, has done a thorough job of reviewing your health history and knows it in detail, talked about the changes in your life style since you have been ill, and is truly concerned about your health condition. Your doctor immediately notes that you wouldn't be wasting your time, and hers, if you weren't really sick. There are many other enjoyable things that you could be doing with your time besides sitting in her office complaining about being ill. She begins to pay close attention to your behavior and the way that you are coping with the disease in her presence. You can sense that she truly cares about what you are going through in suffering with this strange disease. Your physician is definitely taking what you are telling her very seriously. Her attentive body language and intense eye-to-eye contact are ways to let you know she is intently listening. This person keeps asking you various questions while taking lots of notes while you are speaking to keep a running list of all of your past and current manifestations. Your doctor doesn't want to forget or overlook anything in trying to conclude what could be wrong with you. Since your primary caregiver keeps an open mind and constantly studies medical journals and reports, she is aware of how many new kinds of virally-based diseases are detected in the world daily. She has already determined that this is possibly a unique breed of viral disease that she may not have had any contact with to this point in time. Because there is a distinct likelihood that this could be the case with you, your doctor may suggest that you go to an infectious disease specialist who has a concentrated knowledge of all types of infectious diseases. Your physician would admit that she hasn't the appropriate knowledge to comfortably diagnosis this situation, so going to a specialist is the right thing to do to find out what is wrong with you. She may offer to stay on as your primary caretaker and treat your individual symptoms for you whenever you need her to address any specific aches and pains. Your doctor makes it clear that she will be in constant contact with the specialist to coincide and coordinate your treatment plans to best suit your needs in helping you get over this disease. She will then give you the infectious disease specialist's name who has the best overall reputation from patients and physicians alike and commence a vast array of tests to be sure to rule out any other physiological causes for the illness that you have. The list of tests she may use is fairly routine for determining most causes to serious and specific organic diseases. She will request a complete blood count or CBC, sedimentation rate in your blood, routine blood chemistries, a thyroid screen to see if you have an over or under active thyroid, HIV antibody to see if you have AIDS, rheumatoid factor or RF to determine if rheumatoid arthritis could be the culprit, antinuclear antibody or ANA, lyme disease antibodies, a chest x-ray, and urinalysis. There could be a possibility that your doctor could request even further tests which are more detailed in giving results to specific physiological conditions that she may suspect more than other diseases to be the cause for your discomfort. However, these examinations can be very painful, time consuming, and expensive. Some of these tests could include be a lumbar puncture where some of your spinal fluid is removed and examined for any irregularities, upper and/or lower GI series, liver and spleen scans (which will usually show a slight swelling in chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers), bone marrow aspirate, lymph node biopsy from one of your swollen lymph nodes in your underarms or neck, and a CT scan of the brain (which will show small lesions that are indicative of suffering with CFS). After the results of all of your tests are in, your primary caregiver will review the results which for the most part will end up being negative. She will then forward the test results to the infectious disease specialist so that he or she can proceed with any further necessary testing.
Your experience at the infectious disease specialist's office should be almost paralleled to what you have gone through with your doctor. He should proceed with your case in the same manner from listening to your list of symptoms to ordering only essential tests that can aid him in making a diagnosis. Once the specialist has received all of the test results, he should be able to base some conclusion on what has been learned from your office visits and tests. If he is not complacent about making a diagnosis, then this individual should recommend a preferred course of action. The specialist may suggest going to a large city clinic or hospital where there are various specialists in many areas of medical study on staff who have had contact with unorthodox diseases from around the world. They may have better access to getting appropriate information about what could be troubling you. These specialists can run further, more detailed tests that can be interpreted from various medical viewpoints. They would be your best bet in finally getting a specific diagnosis. He should have a list of qualified clinics or hospitals to give to you or may call and refer you directly to the clinic or hospital while you are still in his or her office. You should feel a little more anxious at not knowing what is wrong with you yet but also a little relieved after seeing someone who apprehends infectious diseases as a specialty.
There is no guarantee as to what you can expect when you go to your physician's office. Any pessimistic or skeptical reaction to you and/or your bout with CFIDS means you will end up frustrated, exhausted, worried, and distressed. It will be difficult for you to endure all of the inquiries, talking for hours on end, the poking, the prodding, and the examinations. Nevertheless, there are some precautions that you can take to ensure that your experiences with any doctor are not necessarily negative, upsetting occurrences.
First of all, you have to acknowledge that medical science does not have all the answers to every single disease that is out there in the world. There are too many bacteria and viruses to even count, let alone categorize and research in detail. It would take generations of research and experimentation to completely understand, comprehend, and document each and every sickness. The idea that you may have one of these "unknown" illnesses as compared to one that is already widely known is very probable with the vast amount of viral and bacterial mutations and divergence occurring in nature. There are minimal ways that scientists can monitor all of these causes for disease. The reality is that there are limits to what the medical community can know and do. There are too many sicknesses and not enough medical specialists to regulate and oversee all of these maladies.
Next, you have to accept that your particular primary care taker may not have the background or experiences to tackle taking on your case. She should be honest with you out of consideration for all of the suffering that you are going through and not to burden you with unnecessary worry or to offer you false hope. However, most doctors aren't that obliging. It is important for you to seek out a good doctor who knows about infectious diseases-especially chronic fatigue syndrome. There aren't a lot of physicians who do acknowledge some kind of specialty in researching and/or treating sufferers of this syndrome. Most still have a disbelieving perspective about the disease and some doctors have no qualms about loudly averring their stance as such. Do you think that they would they say the same things about not believing in CFS if they were the ones who were ill? Probably not!
It will be a difficult chore to find someone who can help you in coping with all aspects of this syndrome especially since you are already so exhausted. If you keep inquiring at different physician's offices, specialist's offices, or even to a local hospital, you should be able to get some kind of aid in searching for the right kind of doctor to diagnose your condition. You, a family member, or friend can seek out various agencies around the world through internet access who can advise you on where else you can turn to discover more information about where to find a good physician. The key is to not give up. Your search will not be fruitless. There is someone out there who can help you find the doctor of medicine that you need. All you have to do is reach out and find that connection. You may have to seek out a diagnosis for yourself from a large clinic or hospital in another area if you cannot find any reliable medical doctor in your location.
There are a few signs that you can watch for that will indicate an excellent choice in a primary care physician for you while you are tolerating this disease. The individual should be ready to listen to anything that you say or wish to share about your battle with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. Listening is one of the best qualities that can be found in any genuine and caring physician. The doctor should likewise make the appropriate amount of time to see you. He should have available information about any kinds of other services that you may need such as where to get home-based health care to free transportation to and from his office to appropriate medical insurance information to pay for your medical costs. If your doctor is not capable of providing specific information, he should be able to steer you in the correct direction so that you can get the help you require.
You will have many times in coping with this syndrome that you may have to call to ask specific questions about how your body is reacting to various stimuli. You should never be made to feel like you are a burden when you call or visit. He is there to help your body heal, and part of that responsibility is being available (within reason) when you are in need. Out of consideration, you should always try to make an appointment and only go into the office without an appointment if you have an emergency such as experiencing an allergic reaction to an allergen.
Also, when you do have a scheduled visit, she should not make you feel rushed or hurried. There should be a slightly relaxed, informative atmosphere to your appointed time. You made the appointment to set aside some of her time as well as your own to discuss your illness and symptoms. You are paying for the time that she spends with you. Moreover, don't be intimidated by the "rushed" sensation in her office. If she is running behind schedule and it is her desire to shorten your time or to be brief with you, this person is not the right physician for you. You will not find the appropriate type of care that you require being ill with CFIDS.
Another indicator that demonstrates an exceptional trait for being a great doctor for you is that this person is very liberal minded about acknowledging that he doesn't know about every illness in the world and that this sickness is something that he may have never come into contact with ever before. This good physician truly believes that you could be suffering with a malady that has some kind of physiological basis for affecting your body the way it does and that the changes happening within your body as a result of adapting to the disease are creating some of the mental and emotional attitude adjustments that you are feeling and sensing. In other words, you are not mentally or emotionally ill in this person's eyes.
If the physician you have selected is a great one, this individual will acknowledge that he doesn't really know what is wrong with you after the initial examinations and tests results are done. This person would be completely honest and straight forward about his ignorance about dealing with what is wrong with you. He would not demean or degrade you by insinuating that you are crazy or imagining what this disease is doing to you. As a result of doing some further research after your visit, he could suggest that you try another physician or specialist who may be more familiar in addressing similar illusive sicknesses. Your good doctor may advise that you go to a specific specialist to do a follow-up on his results and does not wish for you to go to another medical practitioner unless it is absolutely necessary for a second opinion or for a more detailed examination that he may not feel comfortable or qualified enough to do in his or her office. He would never propose to have you jump from one specialist to another in search of answers because all that you would gain from this predicament is a loss of precious energy, more frustration, and upset. This person would truly care about your mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well as your physical being. Also, this individual isn't ignorant about chronic fatigue syndrome either and does some of his own investigations into current research and therapies that other doctors are using to successfully treat this disease. He is current on all of the many kinds of medicines that are combined and utilized in unison to get your symptoms to slowly subside. These medicine therapies plus his open-minded attitude create one of the better treatment plans to helping you cope with this illness. A good doctor will not put you through the "doctor run around" because he will ratify that by the time you have gotten to his office, you have probably been seen by many other physicians first. You don't have the strength or energy to go through another wasted visit. You are going through enough in being ill without having to go from one doctor to another never getting a definite answer for what is actually wrong with you.
Keep in mind that some, not all, doctors are offended and insulted when you go into their office to search out a diagnosis and you ask a lot of questions about what you think is wrong with you. These individuals think that since they have spent the majority of their lives studying medicine and have been practicing it for years, that they have the qualifications and the expertise to address any health problem that comes their way. These doctors feel that they are invaluable to sick people, such as yourself, in assisting in making you well.
The truth is that these specific few physicians who feel this way are intimidated by the knowledge that you have about your own body. You know specifically how you feel and what manifestations of the sickness are bothering you the most. Even before you decided to go to the doctor's office to ask any questions, you did some research to see if you may indeed have this syndrome that you read about in many magazine and medical journal articles and heard about on television called CFS. He or she may find that many of your questions are overwhelming and somewhat embarrassing for her. This physician may not know anything about this disease and the idea that you would know more than she about it is appalling to her. It is very unpleasant for this type of person to experience the feeling of having a patient ask her certain, particular, detailed queries about this disease that she doesn't know anything about. Imagine a lay person knowing more than a doctor about an illusive medical syndrome! This doctor's attitude could offend you so much that you may feel that you no longer want to talk about your symptoms and may wish to avoid going to see her altogether. A great physician would not think this way at all. She would be encouraging and very impressed that even with being ill, you still used some of your cherished energy to initiate researching into what is wrong with you. Your medical practitioner would gain an enormous amount of respect for you because you are demonstrating that you are an active participant in trying to get well. There would be no sense of degradation or humiliation with this person. This good doctor would review with you in detail any of the data that you have collected and discuss any important issues that you have questions or concerns about while you are in her office. She could ask to keep the information to critique and analyze at her leisure and will get back to you as soon as possible on what other data that she can collect in the mean time. You may sense that the information that you presented to her is a catalyst that motivates this person to research the disease even more than you already have.
You may be asked by your physician to keep a health list, journal, or diary to track all of your symptoms and the triggers that cause these manifestations to occur in your body. The list should contain a section that notes any medications or therapies that he prescribes, your reactions to them, and any negative responses to these products. Another journal part should include notes about any time that you have encountered familiar toxins, chemicals, pollens, molds, or spores, and what your reactions were to them. Health notes-such as listing what symptoms you suffered with, the severity of these symptoms, and your activity level for the day should be kept in another division of your diary. Additional items to add to your list would be the weather, what you ingested and drank for the day, how much you slept the night before and during that day, the times you fell asleep and awoke, and how much actual time you sat or lie down and rested. Your activity level is also important to track in a supplementary section of your journal noting how much you did before you felt tired. Your diary should include mention of your household stresses and pressures, the amount and type of interaction with family and friends, and how much actual socializing you did outside of your home. All of this vital data is important to your medical practitioner in attempting to help you to heal yourself. He can gain a clearer insight into how complicated and interwoven your symptoms are to the reactions that you are tolerating daily. He may detect a pattern to specific behaviors or allergic reactions and could suggest alterations in diet, sleep, or your environment. Your list, journal, or diary will be your medical monitor when your doctor is not available. He will be able to observe your behaviors, thoughts, and moods by reading in between the lines of your writings.
So, you can be prepared in your search for finding a great physician as compared to a fair one just by being better informed and having a positive attitude. Know and believe that you will find the doctor who is right for you! There are a lot of extraordinary doctors who truly care about their patients' welfare. You just need to take some initiative to find one who is right for you.
To this day, there has been very slow progress made towards fully comprehending chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome by the medical cooperatives of the world. There is very little real concern for the vast millions of people, their families, and friends who suffer directly or indirectly as a result of coping with this sickness. The world's medical community's emphasis on addressing CFIDS is that the illness is a probable air-borne, non-fatal, possible contagious disease which may be a questionable threat or problem in the future to a large portion of the world's population. Because the illness is not lethal, concerns about it are minimal and most countries treat this sickness as an inconvenience for those who are affected by it. Researching this disease can pay off for some people in the medical community. Personal and/or professional recognition within the medical community itself as well as fiscal promotions seem to be the only motivations for the bulk of the medical society to scrutinize this syndrome. The true reason that most doctors go into medicine-to help sick people-has been tossed aside for the power and fame of having their names connected with discovering the cause of this sickness or to receive massive amounts of funding to spend time researching pet projects aside from solely examining this disease. Not all researchers and physicians have this mentality and sufferers world-wide are very grateful for the few who are still committed to finding a cause and cure for no other reason except to help aid world suffering. However, until there is a general consensus with everyone in the medical community that this disease should be taken seriously any future hope for seeing this illness be cured will be a slim reality.
Nevertheless, there has been an uprising of sorts in the CFS community itself. Since there appears to be minimal efforts from the governments and medical societies around the world in acknowledging this disease, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome patients, their families, friends, and supporters have not sat back and waited for the slow wheels of progress to creep forward. They have empowered themselves by self-educating and have begun to teach others in their world about this syndrome. Sufferers have brought educational materials to their physicians and spread the word through their support groups in connecting with specific members of the medical community who actually care about what they are going through and who do perceive this illness as a true disease not to be taken lightly. The sufferers, families, friends, and supporters are the ones who have started the onward momentum and no one else could still be as committed to educating everyone as these individuals. They have worked hard to get government officials and the world-wide medical community to take a second look at this disease and to see that it is truly an illness that is affecting too many people to be ignored. Hopefully, the message that these people put forth will be received and relayed throughout the world's medical societies. Every researcher, doctor, physician, and specialist alike will need to coordinate and work together to find the cause and cure to this disease. The cause of this sickness could be a combination of simple viruses and the cure could be an uncomplicated process but until there is some definite concentration of efforts from the medical community throughout the world, this syndrome will keep invading more and more people's lives until there is no one that has not been directly or indirectly affected by this illness.
Doctors really need to listen to their patients. . . they are truly sick. CFIDS sufferers are not crazy and they are not imagining their symptoms. These people need their physician's help-not condemnations and ignorance.