When I was about 15 years of age my family physician retired. I saw Dr. Live-with-it during a follow up exam following one of my surgeries. He was new in my town, hailing from South Africa. He was young and handsome and during my first appointment it seemed he was very thorough too. He prescribed some pain relievers and mentioned that I could also use them when I suffered menstrual cramps. I can’t recall which of us brought up the term Cerebral Palsy, but he quickly shrugged it off and said that was not what I had. When asked what he thought it was he chuckled and said that was simply the go-to diagnosis when Doctors didn’t have solid answers. Basically he stated that my diagnosis was bullshit.
Over the years he became more and more popular and his office visits seemed shorter and shorter. Reviews online were mixed. Most people complained of his abruptness and brutal truth. His supporters were adamant that he was an amazing Doctor and those complaining of his attitude were looking for emotional support not medicine.
“I can’t help you”
He no longer believed that the Cerebral Palsy diagnosis was bullshit. On the contrary, he attributed my every complaint to Cerebral Palsy. When I went to him with back pain he would shrug and say “it’s the CP I can’t help you, live with it”. If I had a headache it was the same response. When, as an adult, I asked him to refer me to an Orthopaedic Surgeon he said “I don’t think they can do anything” (but he made the referral and the surgeon did in fact help me).
There is no defining moment where my feelings about him changed. But I became more and more nervous of my appointments with him. A crippling type of anxiety where even the thought of sitting in his office telling him my problems would make me cry. After all what was the point of my seeking his help? He had told me time and again that there was nothing he could do to help me. 10 years ago I was rear-ended at a stop sign. When I went to him his first question was regarding the monetary damage to my vehicle. I responded that the officer believed it wold be under two thousand dollars and his response was that “that was nothing” and I would be fine.
I finally broke down in his office at some point shortly after this. I let him know that I expected more from him than just saying “it’s the CP”. There would often be a year or more between my office visits so when I did see him it was due to significant pain and discomfort.
Fantastic New Technology – Medeo
The damage was irreversible. I couldn’t continue with him as my primary physician. I still struggle immensely before visiting my current Doctor. This year I discovered “Medeo” which has allowed me to discuss my medical issues with a real Doctor via FaceTime. It has reduced my anxiety in asking for help and given me the opportunity to request referrals to specialists that may be able to help me as I age.