Doctor in a white coat with arms crossed

Advocating for Yourself

My Frustrating Journey with a Negligent Doctor

Mysterious Weight Loss and Overwhelming Fatigue

Losing weight unexpectedly and feeling exhausted to the point where “tired” didn’t even begin to describe it, I decided to seek help. Concerned friends urged me to see a doctor. I walked into her office, hoping for answers, but what I got was a shocking display of negligence.

thin girl sleeping face down on a bed

I had unintentionally lost around 20 pounds and felt utterly drained. Instead of immediately addressing my concerns, she flatly refused to run any blood work and flippantly offered me anxiety meds. She pointed to my most recent blood work (from 6 months ago) and said everything looked fine. I knew something was wrong, but she insisted that I simply needed more help around the house and implied that my husband was slacking off (though not in those exact words).

A Shocking Display of Negligence

Two weeks later, I returned to her office, five pounds lighter, and still shedding weight. She brushed it off, suggesting the weight loss was just water weight that could fluctuate. Again, she offered me anxiety meds and smirked a little.

Thankfully, there was a silver lining. I was also experiencing pain that led me to suspect a urinary tract infection (UTI). While I was there, I asked her to check my urine. The lab called her urgently saying she had “a critical patient.” My urine showed remarkably high blood glucose levels. She finally decided it was time for the blood work I had been requesting all along.

To my dismay, my A1C was a staggering 14, and my blood glucose levels were soaring in the high 400s (at that time, I had no idea what any of that meant). She asked if I consumed a lot of sugar, to which I incredulously responded, “Last night, I licked the ice cream scoop after serving my kids. No, I don’t think I eat a lot of sugar.”

vintage scale

She prescribed me metformin, a medication typically used for Type 2 diabetes, which was utterly inappropriate for my situation. On top of that, she warned me not to cut carbs because I might experience low blood sugar. Looking back I now know that was an absurd and medically unsound recommendation.

I followed her advice for two days, but the side effects of metformin were so debilitating that I couldn’t function. I eventually decided to stop the medication and waited to see an endocrinologist.

The doctor’s final piece of misguided advice was not to cut carbs, which could have been life-threatening given my blood sugar levels were consistently above 400. I needed a low-carb diet urgently, but she failed to understand that.

She offered no educational materials on diabetes or guidance on how to monitor my blood sugar levels at home. It was an astonishing oversight, considering the gravity of my condition.

The Importance of Self-Advocacy

Now that I understand how high and low blood sugar feels, I can confidently say that my fatigue and exhaustion were symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes. Walking with blood sugar levels above 200 felt like trudging through quicksand. It was a tremendous effort, and I longed for sleep. Unfortunately, I had mistakenly considered this feeling “normal” before my diagnosis.

My journey through this ordeal led me to realize the importance of advocating for oneself. While anxiety medication may be a helpful solution for some, doctors should listen to their patients thoroughly before prescribing it. This experience also shed light on the gender disparities in healthcare, where women’s symptoms are often downplayed or dismissed. It’s a concerning issue that deserves more attention.

My best advice to anyone facing a similar situation is to stand up for yourself. While anxiety medication might be a necessary tool, your doctor should engage in a comprehensive dialogue with you before reaching that conclusion.

baby koala sleeping on a tree branch
How I felt after seeing this doctor.

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