I am a complicated patient and I know it. I have so many diagnoses and symptoms I couldn't name them of the top of my head even if I had all day. That being said, asking a doctor is wrap their head around everything I go through is a challenging feat.
You see, when the average person gets sick, they go to the doctor wondering what is wrong. They expect that the doctor will have an clear answer and a treatment that will make them feel better. When you are "normal people sick", with something like strep throat, bronchitis, or a nasty cold, a doctor can easily make the diagnosis. However, not all illnesses are common or present themselves in the manner described in medical school textbooks. This makes getting an answer even more difficult. However, the expectation is that doctors know everything, but they are in fact human and no human knows everything.
There is a tremendous amount of pressure on healthcare providers to have an answer, to have a treatment, and to have a cure. But what if they don't? As I've gone through my journey as an undiagnosed patient, I've come to recognize a few different kinds medical providers. There's the kind that actually know what your illness is and how to treat it, if such treatment is available, the providers that don't know what is wrong but insist that it is "all in your head", despite quantitative tests coming back abnormal, the providers that don't know and aren't willing to investigate further, and the providers that don't know, but want to find out.
Of course we all want answers and accurate answers at that. It is easy to say you know something, but it is not as easy to admit "I don't know, but I'm going to do everything I can to find out".
That being said, I have an enormous amount of respect for the doctor that can look their patient in the eye and say "I don't know what it is going on and I'm not going to claim to know, but I'm willing to try and find some answers".
That may rock some individuals' confidence in the physician. Doctors know everything, right? If they don't they are poor doctors. Not necessarily. Just because a doctor doesn't know what is wrong doesn't mean they are less intelligent, less skilled, etc. than another doctor who may claim that they know what's ailing you.
As Cicero once said, "Any man is liable to make mistakes, but only the fools persists in error". I think the same can be said for the doctors involved in the diagnostic process. Doctors are humans and humans make mistakes, but to claim that you know something when you don't is foolish and can be harmful to the patient. As an undiagnosed patient, if I can't have the doctor that knows exactly what is going on, I want that doctor that is confident and to do everything they can to help me.
I am a 20 year old junior at the college of my dreams. I am studying Emergency Medicine and Communication Rhetoric and minoring in the Administration of Justice and National Preparedness and Emergency Management certificate. At some point, I want to go and get my paramedic certification when my health allows. I have several chronic illnesses and this blog and website serves as a place for me to share my journey fighting CRPS and my other conditions. I hope that this blog can also serve as an outlet for raising awareness for rare diseases. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment; I'd love to know what you think!