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We like to think that the professionals to whom we entrust our health are worthy of that trust, but that may not always be the case.
Now, let me be clear. I’m not saying don’t go to doctors. I’m not even saying all doctors are evil.
Usually, very good doctors (although there are some bad ones out there) have their hands tied by the insurance companies. The health insurance companies are the ones who are really calling the shots when it comes to medical treatment in the United States.
Don’t believe me? Let me share my story with you.
After the birth of my second daughter (my second c-section), I was having a great deal of abdominal pain. Now, I have a high pain tolerance (I barely felt the labor contractions with my first child, and the nurses didn’t believe I was having a baby until they looked at the contractions on the monitor), so when I say I was in a great deal of pain I mean I was in PAIN.
It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to lie down. It just HURT — all the time, to the point my OB/GYN thought she was going to have to go back in and see if she’d hit a nerve during the procedure or something.
But first we had a treatment course we had to follow, per the insurance company’s rules.
First up, Neurontin (gabapentin), an anti-seizure medication that’s also used to relieve nerve pain. The doctor reasoned that if she’d struck a nerve, the Neurontin should help, and it was covered by my insurance. Not really knowing any better, I agreed to take the drug.
I wish I never had.
The Neurontin took care of the pain … maybe. I was so high, I didn’t care about the pain. And I started to not care about a lot of things that I used to. I was just that high.
But there was one thing I DID still care about … my then two-year-old daughter, who I noticed was looking at me with a confused look on her face, like, Where is my mommy?
I quit taking the Neurontin that day and called my doctor to tell her so.
So, THEN my OB/GYN referred me to a pain specialist (also covered by the insurance), read QUACK. He’s the guy, according to my mom’s cousin (who is also a doctor), who they all send their “crazy” patients to … the ones they just can’t seem to help any other way. Crazy patients, crazy doctor. Makes sense in a strange sort of way. Except, I wasn’t crazy; I was really in pain.
That doctor prescribed Lyrica (pregabalin) – also something that’s supposed to help with nerve pain.
You know what the Lyrica did? It put me to sleep … all the time. Fortunately, my oldest was still in daycare, and the youngest slept most of the time too, anyway. But I didn’t stay on that medicine past two days. I’d rather deal with the pain than not be able to function at all.
FINALLY (and by this time I’d lost my job AND my short-term disability benefits), the OB/GYN said the insurance company would cover physical therapy … and THAT is what helped me. No more pain. No more drugs. Just good, healthy strength-building and stretching exercises.
I was pain-free within a couple of weeks and wishing I’d been able to start the PT sooner!
I learned a valuable lesson through that experience. Doctors, even if they genuinely WANT to help you, may not be able to give you the help you really need if the insurance company says that’s not what should be done.
So now I try to avoid going to doctors at all costs — not because I distrust doctors, necessarily, but because I know who’s really in charge of my health care decisions, and I don’t trust them. I know they’re just in it for the money.
Want to know how you can get healthier and avoid going to the doctor too?