An Expertise or Advocate?
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a medical expert or doctor. These are just my opinions about the situation and if you feel you have an actual real medical emergency or have concerns, talk to a professional.
How many people grew up going to the doctor, trusting them to say “yes, your’e sick” and “here take this to feel better.” I know I did. I trusted that all doctors had my best health interests in mind and were there to guide me. However, after spending the last several years in & out of doctors related to myself, my husband and my son, I wanted to talk about something I find interesting when it comes to your health: expertise and advocacy. Today doctors (at least here in the United States) seem to place generalizes over specialities, drugs handouts versus reviewing pros/cons and just trying to push thru their patients’ problems. I feel it is relevant to self-discovery of my autistic journey and my struggles with PCOS. but this does have application across all forms of chronic illness or standard health practice.
So above is a link to one of the several clips the show “Adam Ruins Everything.” And while it is not an end all be all of the health industry, it does give an interesting insight into Western Medicine and its approach to health care. For me, I wish I had watched this show going into college. I think I would have made a greater effort to take serious my own health and also my own advocacy. I went thru several doctors for several medical situations (an ear issue/my PCOS issues/My inquiries about my autistic self) before figuring out that they didn’t always know the right answer or that they were not utilizing their medical knowledge to apply the best treatment. I read a lot of material on my polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS) only when I brought up not only my own “hey what is this” but also source material from experts in the field, I had both my gynecologist and my endocrinologist say “oh, no, you don’t need or don’t have that, here’s some birth control and move along.” I felt like I had to become the expert-not so I could prove my doctor wrong, but so I could show them that I wasn’t “stupid” in asking the questions I did or that I had “legitimate” concerns. Personally I believe this SHOULD NOT be happening when it comes down to a person’s health. However, in continued discussions with my therapist–it is true that doctors see hundreds of patients and it is not plausible for them to remember everything about them even with the file records they keep. So when a chronic illness (my PCOS) or someone comes along who has done some reading, doctors may or may not know everything there is to know about your problems. The same is said over and over about autism-something the American community knows very little about and the knowledge they do know is either extremely stereotypical with a history that begins with placing autistic people in mental institutions blaming mothers for their behavior.
Now, I am not going to claim I know everything or more than my doctors. But I wish they would think of themselves too highly and that their patient may find the information they can review or consider in their medical expertise instead of pushing people aside.
In the autism world–a lot of adults, especially women, non-white ethnicities and those of the LGTBQ+ community are ostracized for bringing up legitimate facts, concerns about a diagnosis, and sensory stressors in life surroundings their neurological genetic difference. A good doctor will listen to a patient, work with their strengths and support their weaknesses to find a treatment that works best for them. I use the term “treatment’ loosely as I do not think is the autistic person nature is something that needs to treat. We need more help with sensory needs, speech, etc. Not let politics, social-economical status or another topic get in the way. Sadly–it is just not true for many. I know several self-identified autistics because they don’t have the time/the resources/money to get something official and having issues of talking to a doctor make it more difficult.
My advice? Don’t give up. If you have spent weeks and months researching your health problems and made notes and spent time talking to those with similar problems, then maybe you have done all you can do and it is about finding the right care and right doctor for your situation. Keep at it.