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Remembering To Take Certain Medical Opinions With a Grain of Salt: Part 2

If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1 of this article, I highly recommend doing so before continuing on.

We come across many healthcare providers on our chronic illness journey

If you have read part 1, I appreciate you being willing to read the second part of something that has been on my mind for quite a while. In my previous article, I discussed how many healthcare providers people with a chronic illness often come across throughout their health journey. I also spoke about how we often go through things that the majority of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists don’t know about or come across very often. Because of that, whenever anyone sees our medication list, it is possible that there might be some unsolicited advice or comments. Comments that understandably get in our head and in our heart.

After all, so many of us are already feeling confused and vulnerable. We often look to doctors and people like pharmacists who presumably know more about medication than we do for guidance and support. It isn’t uncommon for us to question if we are doing right by ourselves by taking certain medications, especially when you see a lot of websites claiming IBD patients can be cured by purchasing a certain product or switching our diet or living in the lotus position. I know from personal experience that it only takes one person in the medical profession to make a comment that fuels those doubts.

Examples of poor unsolicited opinions of medical professionals

Below are three personal examples of how the unsolicited opinions of medical professionals who did not know the patient {very important when it comes to this topic!} changed the course of that individual’s health journey in a negative way:

  1. As a teenager with IBD who had undergone four major operations by the time she was 16, I was struggling with anxiety and major insomnia. Lack of sleep was really impeding on not just my emotional health but my physical health as well. I had no energy so I could barely attend school. My body was doing enough fighting during this time so layering on not being able to sleep exacerbated things in a very major way. It was at this point when my doctor recommended I try sleeping pills because it was his belief (and mine) that not sleeping was worse than any potential downside of the medication. I began taking them and it was helping. However, when my dad went to pick up my script at the pharmacy, the pharmacist went into a long rant about how terrible these pills were for me. My parents were already not pro-medication. Neither was I. But I also had been through the mill, was finally able to sleep and function a little more “normally” and it made me feel good to do so. Since the day the pharmacist spoke to my dad, it became a constant topic of conversation which led to me feeling enormous guilt about medication in general.
  2. Someone close to me was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year. He never had any health issues beforehand and therefore, never really understood much about medication. He simply believed what his doctors were telling him, which is fine if you are at that point in your health journey. However, he ended up in urgent care for a gym related injury and while he was there, the doctor commented on his medications. The physician told him he was taking too much, how strong the meds were, and just really made it seem like there was no reason in the world why anyone should be on the treatment plan he was – which was working wonderfully for him! This doc also wasn’t aware of this person’s bipolar diagnosis, yet instead of asking why or even trying to understand, he just lashed out about how wrong he was for being on his current medication regimen. This then caused my friend to wean himself off of his medications, thinking he didn’t need them anymore because “that was what the doctor from urgent care said” and he really crashed.
  3. My dad was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, which is an autoimmune disease. The treatment for that is similar to that of IBD. However, when my dad saw a chiropractor, he was told he absolutely didn’t need to begin any type of medication but an NSAID. So, instead of knowing that it is important my dad’s disease does not progress to the point where he can no longer do the physical activity he loves, this random person made my dad believe he would be an idiot for choosing an alternative treatment plan (beyond some ibuprofen) for his chronic condition.

Be wary of judgments from those who don’t understand your health

Anyway, I know how hard it is to feel like you have to take a lot of medication for all different issues. I understand how much you wish you didn’t need them and could just be “normal.” I know it probably makes you feel a million times older than you actually are. And I know how easy it is to wonder if you are doing the right things for your health. While it is a positive thing to re-evaluate your plans along the way, it is not positive when someone who doesn’t have a clue about you passes judgment on the way you are choosing to handle your life.

Please take a random health care professionals opinions with a grain of salt. If you think they are valid, bring your concerns to your own healthcare team. And as hard as it may be, try not to let that advice or comment get into your mind. You are doing what you feel is best for you and what is working for you. That is what matters. You are not doing anything wrong.

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

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    3 months ago

    Great advice. Thanks for sharing!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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