Medical Fatigue and Being the Perfect Patient

Medical Fatigue and Being the Perfect Patient

I’ve been doing my part as the perfect patient, going on six years. What do I have to show for it? There’s medical debt, a scar from repeated sticks for blood draws, and a decent relationship with each treating specialist to show for it. But here’s the thing. Y’all, I’m tired.

I’m tired

I’m tired of sitting on the phone with the insurance company and specialty pharmacy to argue. I’m tired of having to call my doctor’s office to let them know that lab orders are missing. And of spending an hour at the lab for nothing. I’m so very tired of feeling like an inconvenience when I speak to a medical assistant at the assortment of doctor offices I attend. I’m especially wary for friends who essentially have been fired by their doctors because they were the squeaky wheel.

I used to tell people, “In order to make a change, we have to be that squeaky wheel!” And now I find myself telling them to swallow their pride and make nice with the office staff. Front office staff members are the gatekeepers; we need them on our side. And it feels like more often than not, our livelihoods are sitting in the hands of these people and their egos. That in itself is exhausting.

A needed break

I’ve taken a six-month hiatus from labs and canceled a physical with my primary care physician (PCP) three times. I’m not proud of that, nor do I completely condone my actions. But this break was needed. However, I’ve kept up with my other specialist appointments from dental to GI to rheumatology and gynecology. It’s interesting that the one person I’ve taken space from is the person who holds all the data from all the other specialists. My primary is the keeper of all the things in terms of my medical records.

I didn’t organically come up with taking a break from my doctor and labs. I found myself calling to reschedule appointments more than once. Plus, my schedule between moving two homes into one new home and wedding planning, and just life, in general, became overwhelming. Somewhere in that mix, I decided now would be the perfect time to take care of my teeth and skin issues.

If anything, I diverted attention from my Crohn’s disease and arthritis issues and focused a little more on the issues I neglected over the past several years.

Breaks can be good

I think breaks are good. I think acknowledging that a break was needed is important, too. That being said, as I write this, I’m mentally noting that I need to reach out to my PCP’s office to let them know why I was away and that I’ll be picking back up with my labs.

It also dawned on me as I typed this piece out — if I wasn’t doing as well as I am with my current Crohn’s treatment, this break wouldn’t be possible. Perhaps, I am the perfect patient after all?

Nah!

Have you ever taken a break from being seen by your specialists? What was your experience like?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (3)
  • #purpleproject moderator
    1 month ago

    I FEEL this article, Jaime.

    I took a “medication vacation” for 6 months at one time, and then was forced to take a break from ALL medical supervision after I lost my insurance. Both very different situations from yours, but I can relate on some level.

    It’s terrifying to be a patient, waiting (while symptoms worsen & do damage) on others all the time.

    Great read!
    Kelly

  • Holland moderator author
    3 weeks ago

    I actually thought of your situation while I tapped this out. I felt the privilege dripping from my fingers, there was A LOT of guilt.

    I wish I had a magic wand to make healthcare available to all of us.

    Also, I think something we could all work on (Editorial Team are you looking?) is the guilt we feel when we start to feel or do better while watching our counterparts struggle.

    Love ya, Kells

  • #purpleproject moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Oh Jaime, you magical unicorn. I wish there was a wand as well to help my friends feel better. I live with that guilt too. (I just recorded a video about advocate burnout.. something I know you relate to).

    I think popping on here on days I feel well & replying to others helps me feel grounded, knowing how good I really have it.

    Kelly

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