Sometimes Doctors Don’t Know And Take Stabs In The Dark

Sometimes you present to your doctor with a complaint. You are experiencing symptoms. And you tell your doctor these symptoms. And the doctor has no clue what’s wrong with you. This sometimes happens. It’s frustrating.

This post is in response to community concerns. The following is an actual comment. I responded to it in the thread. But, I feel it deserves a longer answer than what can be said in a Facebook comment. It deserves its own post. So, here is my response.

An example of community concern:

“There are nerve bundle controlling the diaphragm and lungs. If we’re all complaining of pain then how are we not feeling it? I think sometimes doctors do not have all of the answers and are just taking stabs in the dark.”

My response to this concern about doctors:

“I think, in many cases, you are right. Sometimes it's difficult to know exactly the cause of a patient's symptoms. And that's exactly why researchers are working so hard to learn and to educate.”

It can be frustrating when a doctor doesn't have answers

But, sometimes doctors simply do not know. They cannot see inside your body. Well, they can do tests like X-Rays, Cat Scans, and MRIs. These tests can help. But, when you're just sitting in the office, doctors do not know what’s going on inside your body. So, they make guesses based on their education and experience. Many times they guess correctly. And this solves the problem.

But, sometimes they do not know. And then they have to guess. And, so, sure, it can sometimes seem as though they are just making stabs in the dark.

It can happen when your symptoms are vague. Or, it can happen when you have certain pains. There are so many things that can cause pain. It’s sometimes difficult for doctors to know the cause.

An example of a personal experience

I was having bloating and stomach pain. I was only 23 years old. But, I was also on lots of asthma medicines. The side effects are stomach trouble. My doctor did a scope of my stomach. He found an ulcer. He treated me for that. This remedy worked.

Complaints of bloating and stomach pain again

Now, fast forward seven years. I’m complaining of bloating and stomach pain. So, what does my doctor think is the cause? An ulcer. So, he treats me for an ulcer. But, my trouble doesn't go away this time. It persists and persists.

During various appointments, I complained of this. And each time he told me just to take the prescribed medicine. In this case, it was Prilosec or some generic version of it. But, it failed to work.

So, what did I do? I just brushed it off to aging. It got to the point that even eating a small meal made me feel bloated. I went on an all you can eat cruise. My wife was eating all she wanted. But, I wasn't able to eat hardly anything. Because doing so just made me feel miserable.

So, I just brushed it off to aging. I brushed it off to, perhaps (and a guess in my own right), to a side effect to all the medicines I took for asthma as a kid.

My doctor could have ordered lots of tests

He could have done that. Some doctors like to order lots of tests just to be on the safe side. Personally, I don't want a doctor like that. I prefer a doctor who is a minimalist. One who will only order tests when they are absolutely needed. As an adult, you get to choose your doctor type. I prefer minimalist.

So, I chose my doctor. He’s a doctor who doesn’t like to order a bunch of tests. I’m a patient whose fine with that. In most cases, this relationship works out just fine. I complained of stomach trouble. He said I'm fine. So, this works out great until 2013. Here it came to a culmination. My symptoms got worse. Finally, he caved: “What the heck. Let’s order a scope of your stomach.”

So I get this procedure done. And, lo and behold, I did not have an ulcer. So, he said, “Well, you’re fine. Go home!”

My wife said, “Wait! He’s been complaining of this a long time. He’s not making it up. There has to be something wrong.”

My great doctor sat there thinking. Then he said, “Well, let’s order an ultrasound of your gallbladder.”

Three weeks later the test was done. The results were in. I sat in my doctor’s office and he said, “Well, John, you have stones in your gallbladder.”

Voila. Got it removed. Problem solved.

Sometimes it's difficult to know what's wrong

My point of this story

My point is that sometimes it difficult to know what’s wrong. Sometimes doctor’s just don’t know. So, they have you try some medicine. That medicine works, great! If not, your doctor will have you try something else. Sometimes, that’s just how medicine works.

They don’t have this magic device like Dr. Bones does in Star Trek. They don’t have the ability to see inside you. So, they make guesses based on their experience and common sense. It also depends on you and your doctor and how many tests you want to be ordered.

So, there’s my long answer to a community concern. I hope this helps. There is just so much doctors have yet to learn. This is why we do this. This is why researchers work so hard to learn more about this disease.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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