This is a complicated topic, but here goes. There is a concept called “Cultural Authority”. What this means is that most of us (I’m 57 yrs old) were brought up to believe that Doctors know everything. In our parents generation, this idea is even stronger. I see this with my mother who will do whatever the doctor says without blinking an eye.
Doctors are taught this from day one of Medical School. They are wined and dined by not only pharmaceutical companies, but offered credit cards with high limits and low interest among other things. True, we work hard through school, but there is the constant pressure of being correct, knowing what is right etc. Unfortunately a few doctors start believing their superiority and thus the ego kicks in.
Now I want to be clear that probably the majority of Doctors are hard working and really do want what’s best for their patients, but there are some whose egos are very large and who have been totally conditioned to believe that they are always right.
Fortunately this is changing as we learn more and more, being a doctor is humbling at best because the one thing we really know deep down is how little we really know. Hard for some to admit but true.
Fibromyalgia is an illness (there is no doubt about this), however there are no blood tests, nothing that can be seen in the urine, nothing on x-rays or MRI’s and the tender point test is questionable at best. Doctors are trained to use all tests available to find specific things and than come up with a diagnosis. This just doesn’t work with Fibro. Doctors who tell you it is in your head are egocentric and uninformed and my advice is to find another doctor.
Another factor is that with managed care dictating treatment and testing, Doctors (believe it or not) are underpaid and over worked. The days of the huge salaries (with some exceptions) are over. They are under time constraints set up by managed care companies and many times just aren’t available to sit down and really listen to the patient. A Fibro History involves a large amount of time as there are so many symptoms involved (in fact my history form is 14 pages), and many docs just don’t have the time.
Than there are those docs who for whatever reason actually believe that Fibro does not exist. They are simply misinformed and uneducated.
My advice is that you must start thinking about your Doctor as an employee who you are hiring to perform a service (same as if you were hiring a Lawyer or Accountant). If your doctor is rude or not willing to spend the right amount of time discussing your issues or if he or she is plain dismissive or you feel that the doc is not really listening to you, fire the doctor. This means change docs and let the doc know why. This is the only way things will change.
Saying “I don’t believe in Fibro” is no longer acceptable and don’t allow it. Don’t be afraid to open your mouth. It’s your life and your health!
I welcome your thoughts!