It's OK If Doctors Aren't Familiar With Your Illness


When we go to our doctors, we expect them to know the answer. This is their job, and they should know what they’re doing, right? And the vast majority of the time, they do. They have a suggestion, you try it, it works and that’s great. However, with a chronic illness or a rare condition, that’s often not the case.

My GP didn’t know what POTS was. My consultant cardiologist doesn’t have a fix. My physio doesn’t know which exercises are safe. And that’s OK.

If you’re a chef, you don’t know how to cook every meal. If you’re a translator, you don’t know every word. Doctors cannot know everything.
What’s important, however, is how they respond to not knowing. All too often, the response can be that since they don’t know, you must be lying, or they just can’t help you. That is not OK.

I’ve been lucky. My GP Googled (yes, even doctors can Google!) POTS, and was happy to refer me to a specialist based on the research I’ve done. My cardiologist has referred me to a specialist. And my physio is going to speak to my medical team to understand better.

We don’t need to be annoyed at doctors for not knowing – for the most part they’re (hopefully) doing their best. What matters is how they respond to not knowing and whether they seek out help to make sure next time, they do know.

This post originally appeared on POTS and Spoons.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Jochen Sands.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

woman sitting on her rollator walker with her two younger siblings before going out trick or treating

How I Overcame My Self-Consciousness About Using a Mobility Aid

I’ve had POTS for over three years now and for over three years it’s been winning. And when I say winning, I mean really winning. It’s stopped me going to my best friend’s birthday parties, stopped me going to my own birthday parties and a million things in between. It’s even stopped me going to [...]
doctor and nurse talking and looking at a chart

Doctors Need to Be More Aware of Chronic Illnesses Like POTS

Over the course of my illness, I’ve seen a variety of different doctors – GPs, emergency doctors and numerous specialists. Before my diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), I was branded a “medical mystery.” Even now, after my diagnosis, I have to fight to receive the standard of care I deserve. The sad fact [...]
people boarding a train at a station in london

Why I'm Raising Awareness of Dysautonomia After My Experiences on the Tube

So originally the idea for this blog article was born from frustration and I was unsure really even of the point other than to publicly rant about life as me. However, that all changed when I realized October, being Dysautonomia Awareness Month, was actually the perfect time to use both my experiences and the material I [...]
illustration of a woman blowing purple flower petals

The Incredible Everyday Acts of Kindness I've Been Shown While Battling POTS

It’s always the simple things. The smallest moments bring the greatest kindness to me. For the past nine years, I’ve been living with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Some years are better than others. Some months and some days are better than others. Evenings are always better than mornings. Right now, I hope I’m in [...]