Ever Get Tired of Seeing Doctors?
Ever get to the point you get tired of seeing doctors and having to constantly get tested for one thing or another? If this describes you, you are not alone. I can tell you that it certainly describes me too.
Diagnosis: Doctor fatigue a.k.a. white coat fatigue and appointment fatigue.
Symptom: Frustration, irritation, overwhelmed, invaded, or feeling overwhelmed. Feeling like you want to step back and avoid doctors for a while. Feeling like you want to take a break from getting tested. Sometimes you just don’t care.
Unwanted Effects: May result in you not getting the treatment you deserve and need. Might prevent you from getting the diagnosis you need. Could cause you to not seek help when you observe your early warning signs. May result in a worsening of your chronic health conditions.
What is the etiology?
Aging or lifelong
In truth, the exact cause is unknown. For some, it may be aging. As you get older, more and more chronic ailments creep into your body. For people like me, it’s a lifelong thing. As a kid, I had severe asthma. By the time I was 15 I probably saw more doctors than most people will see in a lifetime. To get the best treatment, you are required to see more and more doctors. You see your regular doctor, but then you start getting referrals to specialists.
In our case, specialists may include pulmonologists (lung doctors), otolaryngologists (ear-nose-and-throat doctors), immunologists (allergists), nephrologists (kidney doctors), cardiologists (heart doctors), etc. They go along with optometrists, ophthalmologists, and dentists.
Of course, they also order tests. You have laboratory tests, pulmonary function tests, allergy tests, EKGs, stress tests, x-rays, cat scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, etc. It all depends on the symptoms you are experiencing, and the diagnosis you are given. It gets to the point when you are in doctors' offices often and getting regular testing. This ultimately leads to our fake diagnosis of doctor fatigue.
Have you ever experienced doctor fatigue?
What is the treatment?
Well, there are only three treatments I can think of.
- Avoid doctors and quit getting tested. Go about life like you are just fine. Pretend you are normal. It’s that easy. As a bonus, if you quit seeing doctors you won’t get any new diagnoses and you most certainly won’t have to have anymore annoying tests. You can enjoy your life as best you can despite the symptoms you feel. Of course, this solution may result in those unwanted effects as described above.
- Be a good patient. Easier said than done, I know. But this is probably the best solution. You see your doctor or doctors. You go get those tests done that your doctor recommends. The goal is to keep you feeling good or as good as possible and keep you at home and out of hospitals. Of course, if you choose this solution, you will feel the satisfaction that you did your best.
- Take a break for a while. I think this is the most reasonable solution. It seems to work well for me. Here you just take a vacation from seeing doctors and from other similar appointments. You do have to be careful because you have to make sure you take care of yourself. But, so long as your doctor says it's okay, sometimes it's nice to take a break. Sometimes it may only be for a week or two. But, sometimes I'm able to escape from appointments for up to six months. That's a nice break.
Being a good patient
I have friends who love seeing doctors. I don’t know how they do it. They feel no anxiety whatsoever about seeing doctors. They love getting tested. I asked one of my friends: How can you love to see doctors? She said, “I just believe that this is how I am going to live forever.”
I wish it was that easy for me. The reality is I have this self-diagnosis of doctor fatigue. At times I have chosen solution #1 above, but I have learned that the best choice is solution #2. You bite the bullet and be a good patient. Sometimes, as I’m grumbling on the way to an appointment I think of what my friend said: "This is what's going to help me live forever."
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Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?