Being your own doctor may be your best bet

Christian Rodriguez

Christian Rodriguez

Feeling sick? In today’s world you have to become a medical researcher just to get the right help.  At least that is how many of us feel.   Pressure is on doctors to see more and more patients, which means that they have less and less time to spend thoroughly diagnosing our conditions and considering possible treatments.

All my life, I have struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder.  I managed to make it to age 20 without taking prescription medication.  But now that I am juggling work and school, I can no longer do it on my own.

In November 2012, I decided to address my problem with my family doctor.  She barely listened to me, and gave me a three-month prescription after a 5-minute consultation.  She then referred me to a specialist. I had to pay a $50 co-pay for a 10-minute visit.

It was almost two months before I could get an appointment with the specialist.  During that time I was taking the anti-anxiety medication prescribed by the first doctor.   I started losing weight and having muscle pains.  Both, I discovered through Internet research, were common side effects of the medication.

Finally the time came for my appointment with the specialist.  This would be an easy fix, I thought.  I was wrong.  I was allowed a few minutes of appointment time to describe my side effects.  Then I was given yet another prescription to help counteract the side effects from the first.   I had to spend $50 for that office visit, and $25 on an additional medication.

Since I knew little about my condition, I just did what the specialist told me and started taking both medications.  I soon developed breathing problems. I often felt like I was going to have a heart attack.  So I called up the specialist for an explanation.  She said that they were common side effects.  So I scheduled another appointment.

This time she expressed concern for my health because I had lost 35 pounds in two months.  She listened to my problems and took me off all medications.  She then gave me a new prescription, and I was charged an additional $50 bill for my 10-minute visit.  After yet another $25 visit to the pharmacist, I become discouraged.

I started to feel like a lab rat.  I was on my fourth medication.  The doctors who should have been concerned for me were not.  They seemed uncaring and would not give me the time I needed.

After two days of taking the fourth med, I developed insomnia.  I stayed awake for 56 hours straight and had no appetite.

It was then that I realized that I would have to become knowledgeable about my condition and stop relying on doctors.

I started to do online research and decided on a drug that might not cause me to develop side effects.

The only problem is that my insurance plan will not pay for it.  Turns out my insurance carrier only covers the medication until the patient reaches 18 years of age.  Unfortunately my ADHD did not just magically disappear on my 18th birthday.

I decided to pay the $90 cost to try it anyway.  Fortunately for me it worked great! No side effects, no attention deficit problems.

This ordeal taught me that it is a do-it yourself world.  More and more we are on our own to self-diagnose.  It is up to us to suggest what medications we may need.  If we don’t, our suffering may be increase and be prolonged.  We have to be informed, and be proactive to work with our doctors for our own benefits.