The Craziest, Most Clueless Thing a Doctor Has Ever Told Me

Lene Andersen | Nov 15, 2017

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Almost all of us have been there: In a doctor’s office, trusting them to help us and then the doctor says something so idiotic about our problem, condition, or symptoms that it feels like our jaw hit the floor. We reached out to the chronic illness community on social media and asked for people to share their craziest stories with us. Sit back and prepare to be amazed!

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Valium can help!

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“While trying to get a diagnosis in 1981 I was told that I was experiencing mental health issues and was given a prescription for Valium.” — Linda

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27 years of stress

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“A Stanford neurologist told me my year-long headache was ‘just stress’ and I should ‘go home and relax.’ It’s now a 27-year-long headache.” — @DianaBaker

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Dream crusher

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“I was told to quit the piano. I was 16 years old and studying for my grade 10 exam with the Royal Conservatory of Music. I still played and successfully completed all of the requirements two years later. No doctor should take away a person’s hope!” — Laurie

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A matter of belief

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“The rheumatologist who told me to go to the front desk, get my copay back, and go home because he doesn’t believe in fibromyalgia.” — @sassnspice

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Sexist assumptions

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“From my first rheumy (rheumatologist) after being diagnosed with RA: ‘You should go on disability and let your husband take care of you.’ He didn’t know me at all, as I wasn’t even married. I told him that I would work until I could no longer work. That has now been over 26 years.” — Brenda. (Still working full-time.)

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Ignorance is bliss

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RA can affect your organs?” (this was not a rheumatologist) — @notoriouscmoney

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Flips and flippancy

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“She wouldn’t even say fibromyalgia. After looking at my chart she said: ‘RA, back pain, and … that other thing.’ With an eye roll and flip of the wrist.” — @SporadicallyFab

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Dr. Know-it-all

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“I was looking for a new rheumy. One of the ones I visited took one look at my hands and declared that I could not possibly have RA because my hands looked ‘too good.’ I assured him I had been diagnosed by a board certified rheumatologist, but he scoffed, said he’d run tests but was positive I was wrong. Imagine his surprise when he got the results. But he was a total jerk about it, misogynistic, speaking only to my husband, and refusing to acknowledge that he’d made a mistake.” — Christina

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Tired, schmired

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“When I asked about the crushing fatigue, they said: ‘Well that’s just life; we all get tired sometimes …’” — @EPrestonJ

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A patronizing pat

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“Before I was officially diagnosed with RA, I had been seeing an acupuncturist for at least a year for joint pain and some other health issues. She helped me more than any Western doctor. When I told the first rheumatologist I had ever seen about that, he patted me on the arm and told me that he didn’t believe in acupuncture and it would never work.” — Caryl

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Looks can be deceiving

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“Oh, you can’t be feeling that bad. Your hair is combed and you’re dressed!” — @alinnzy

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Partial treatment

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“A friend of mine with AS was recently told by a rheumatologist that she doesn’t treat pain!” — Laurie

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Obvious obliviousness

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“Mysteriously dropped to 98 lbs (I’m 5’7"). After normal gastroscopy, GI (gastroenterologist) doc said I should just eat more, then closed my file. Solved!” — @chronic_queer

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Got a magic wand?

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“Of course … we can cure that”. — @BadgleyDoctor

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Sexism redux

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“I was told women don’t get gout; only men do. Really?!” — Cheryl

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Assume makes an a** out of you and me (but especially you)

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“My then RA doctor said: ‘I can’t tell you that you won’t be crippled in the future.’ He has no idea I run 50-, 100-mile, and 24-hour ultramarathons.” — @ultramiriam

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Wishful thinking

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“I was told by my primary care physician that even though my mom had severe RA, I wouldn’t ever get it because my rheumatoid factor test was negative.” — Carole

NEXT: 11 Frequently Asked Questions about RA