Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Argument Clinic

Too Many Windbags

I was reading Stephanies post at Headwise about trying to go to a new neurologist, and it gave me flashbacks to some of my experiences while trying to get a diagnosis for The Headache.

It torques me when neurologists play amateur psychologist with patients. If they were any good as a psychologist, why were they practicing as a neurologist?

What they seem to find (when in my opinion they are piss poor diagnosticians) is "somatization disorder", where internal psychological conflicts are exhibited as imagined physical ailments. But to quote the Wikipedia entry on this disorder "There is a possibility in some cases that the condition is more a factor of the physicians lack of knowledge, or attitude to chronic illness, than any psychological factor in the patient."

No Duh! Being a patient of one of these jackasses is enough to give you a disorder called "Spent a lot of Money for a big lot of Nothing" or "Empty Pocket Syndrome." A clue is that instead of really interviewing you they start right in on the psychological bull hockey. Yet most of these dingleballs won't refer patients to psychologists because a real psychologist might wonder how they reached their conclusions.

Psychology and psychiatry have their place in healthcare, but these disciplines should be practiced by persons who spent years studying and working in these specialties, not the armchair quarterback neuros that are so used to seeing cognitively impaired patients that they can't handle it when they get one with critical thinking skills. I don't go into a physician's appointment expecting to have to argue with the doctor - after all I and my insurance company are putting out some bucks for an expert opinion - so why does the physician go into the appointment determined to argue with the patient or immediately disbelieve and invalidate the patient's story?

I guess this is enough of a rant and rave on this subject. I am sorry Stephanie in the vulnerable role of patient had to put up with some pompous windbag who probably didn't want a headache patient in the first place. And I have a rogues gallery of similar neuro's met along my headache journey dancing in my mind I'm determined to never see again. And then I find one like my current headache specialist who is open to communication and understands pain and the debilitating effect it can have on the body and the psyche...treat the source of the pain, and all else falls into place.


  1. LOL, I enjoyed the argument clinic very much. That's SO what it feels like.

    Thanks for the shout-out! :)

  2. Headache patients are like superheroes - battling ignorance one doctor at a time! You are on the front lines of the battle.

    Hope you have better luck the next time! This last one you saw definitely is a discard.

    I saw 7 neuros before I found the one I have. She's now out of network for me and in a town thats three hours to drive to, but I'm not about to switch after I found a sensible one! She gave me a real diagnosis, real medication, and a real solution (occipital stimulator) and never questioned a word I said.

    I think its the difference between a neurologist who treats headache patients as part of their general patient load, and one who specializes only in headache patients.

  3. Oh wow, does this ever strike close to home. Thanks for this post.

  4. I have to get up on my soapbox every once in a while and rant - thanks for reading and the comment!!

    I have only had this problem with neurologists.

    I imagine they take courses in med school like "Money Making 705: How To See More Patients in a Half Hour and Never Treat Anyone" or "Patient Relations 900: 75 Ways to Disrespect Your Patients in the First Five Minutes" or "Psychology for Neurologists 850: I'm not Lazy They're all Crazy" :)