What I Was Really Telling My GP When I Swore at Her in the Exam Room


I’m not proud of cursing out a former GP. On top of that, I think she may have been even shorter than me, a very petite and soft-spoken woman.

I had been going to her for over a year, and I was back for a routine follow-up.  I was feeling especially exhausted that day. I must have looked it. She was shocked when she came into the exam room. “You look so tired! Are you OK?” This was “normal” for me.

The doctor ordered blood tests immediately even though I hadn’t been fasting.  My sugar levels turned out to be a bit elevated. Later, I realized it was probably the banana I added to my cereal that morning. A fasting test later came back with normal sugar levels.

The doctor returned, ready to diagnose me as diabetic. That’s when I started swearing at her.

Really, I’ve never done anything like that before.

I’d already gone through the process of having conditions like diabetes eliminated, one part of diagnosing myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). MS, heart disease, thyroid disease — I’d been tested for all of those. Once my symptoms began to be taken seriously and my husband came with me to doctor appointments, the tests began. And the puzzled looks from doctors once the results came back. Nada.

At this point, I’d been on the condition-elimination-treadmill already. I’d been diagnosed by a ME/CFS specialist. The specialist I went to said I had a classic case. Yet, despite my diagnosis by a well-known specialist and researcher in the ME/CFS field, a gleam entered my doctor’s eye. I recognize it now — Aha!  They’ve figured out what I really have, what everyone else missed. Because ME/CFS isn’t real, after all.

Though not the least bit articulate or in line with my usual politeness (really, I can be polite), my swearing was saying, “Didn’t you read my medical records?  Haven’t you been listening to me? Haven’t you been believing me? Why are you making me re-do the condition-elimination round? Is this really the first time you noticed my fatigue is real?”

“Do no harm” is part of the oath a doctor takes. I was telling the doctor her ignorance was harming me. “Do no harm” would have been saying something like, “I wasn’t taught about ME/CFS, but you’ve shown it to me today. I’m going to find out more about it.”

Getty photo by Rawpixel


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