Scary Doctors - A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude

  • Migraine patients often end up with treatment from many doctors over the course of their life. I'm one of them. Maybe you are too!


    Today I'm thankful for the things I've learned from rotten, crazy, bad, awful doctors. You know the kind - the ones that make you think "Man, you shouldn't even be working with anything alive, let alone human!"


    There are lots of different kinds of bad doctors and lots of good lessons we can learn from them. Here is a short list of some of the types I've enjoyed visits with:

    • The assembly line doctors are people who don't listen and interrupt you within the first 30 seconds after you begin to speak. These self-absorbed docs have often diagnosed you before they entered the room. They know what they want to give you and your input is often not considered necessary. They may think Migraine is a waste of time or a great way for them to earn an easy dollar. Sometimes they were taught by other docs who were left 150 years in the past, and they still think this is a hysterical women's disease suffered by depressed, repressed females. They really just want you to leave so they can get on to the "real" patients.
    • The under-educated doctors are those who mean well, but are uneducated about Migraine and headache disorders but treating them anyway. These often hand out bad information and non-existent diagnoses along with harmful pain meds instead of abortives and preventives. When faced with a tough case, these give up and tell the patient "Pain never killed anyone, you'll have to learn to live with it."
    • The frustrated doctor. They don't really know how to treat you, but don't want you to know that, so they try to fake their way through. The fact you don't fit into a box can quickly drive them to do and say things that are quite unattractive. Sometimes they pretend to want to help you, but find many reasons not to treat you after putting you off with an "I'll call you next week." This, of course, never occurs.
    • The quiet doctor who doesn't talk to patients. They don't think it's necessary for patients to know about their disease. They just want you to do as they say and not question them. When questioned, they give short, inappropriate, or no answers.
    • The passive doctor who listens, then asks one question: What do you want a prescription for this time? These are often smiley, pleasant people who may or may not actually listen to what you're telling them. It often doesn't matter because they just want to please you, and so long as you don't ask for anything harmful, they're willing to do whatever you want so you'll leave a happy customer, despite the fact your Migraines are getting worse. These doctors often are quick to ask if you might like an anti-depressant when you end up in tears over the severe pain.
    • The bully is an awful doctor to end up with. They are the kind that confront, belittle and yell at you for reasons only they understand. They can seem to try to trigger anxiety and tears, then are angered when they appear. Throwing things, getting into your personal space while yelling, and acting like a two year old having a temper tantrum is their modus operandi. They often ask family members to leave the room so they can bully you, or ask you to leave so they can turn friends and family into their bully partners by making them think your pain is just your way to manipulate them. They withhold prescriptions and medicines so they can maintain control over their patients, and are sometimes bold enough to brag to others about this habit.

    I have learned some amazing things because of doctors like these. In fact, if it weren't for my experiences with every one of these types, I would likely not be a patient educator/advocate at all, and would never have gotten the opportunity to meet you. Instead, they taught me:

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    • How to smile while standing up for myself and those I love. This includes learning that I can be respectful under all circumstances, and if I don't have the guts to respectfully stand up for myself, nobody else will either.
    • Patience, whether it be the kind that has you waiting 6 months for a preventive to work, or making like a bag of cement in an office to get copies of your latest blood work.
    • Perseverance and standing my ground. This includes cheerfully and respectfully holding my bill hostage until my personal doctors are sent the results of an important visit to a prominent specialist... six months earlier.
    • Becoming a proactive patient instead of a dishrag that is so easily bullied and taken advantage of, or a patient left with zero progress because I don't have the guts to ask questions or find a better doctor.

    The fact is, the constant and severe pain of my chronic illnesses including Migraine, has made me a very stoic person. I have walked through fire and come out the other end. However, it was the rotten doctors that showed me the fires of hell, and turned me into a warrior.

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    So on day #16, I am thankful for the doctors and medical staff that has challenged me and made me a better person because I had no other choice. Without them I would still be stoic, but never would have been strong enough mentally, emotionally or physically, to become a true and mighty Migraine warrior. The strength I got from them is being passed on to the patients I work with every day, and my friends and family whose lives have been changed because of my illnesses.


    Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the ways I cope with being disabled by my Migraines. Teri and others find it helpful for them too, and they're sharing their thankfulness things with you here.


    Would you like to join us? It's easy to keep a gratitude journal, and you're always welcome to share any of it here in our community. Journals can be handwritten or kept on your computer. To share here, you can create a SharePost of your own, or you can post comments to our posts.


    For a listing of all of our 30 Days of Gratitude posts, see A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude - Introduction.


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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2013.
    Last updated November 16, 2013.

Published On: November 16, 2013