IBS = I’m Being Snubbed

I was recently diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  As far as I’m concerned, this is not a diagnosis.  To me, IBS means “I Be Stumped”, meaning the doctor has no idea what is causing my intestinal discomforts and just wants to start throwing some pills at me to shut me up.

The fact that I have not actually talked to my doctor except for a brief introduction right before my colonoscopy may have something to do with my lack of faith in her advice.  When I was first referred to this doctor she had no available appointments for the next 20 years, so I settled for meeting with the Nurse Practitioner instead.

The Nurse Practitioner was very nice, and seemed very knowledgeable, but I was the one that recommended I get tested for Celiac Disease after X-rays showed nothing unusual.  Me recommending a test for myself seemed to me to be a reverse of the way these things are supposed to go.

She also recommended that I Google high fiber diets, which was further proof, as far as I was concerned, that the need to pay someone for professional medical advice is becoming obsolete.

Considering that I had to go somewhere else for all of my tests, and then was told that I should Google what I should be eating, I don’t really feel like my insurance company and I got our money’s worth for these office visits.

The nurse seemed surprised when I asked if it would actually be the doctor to whom I was referred that would be performing my colonoscopy.  Considering I had never met her, I thought that was a fair question.  For all I knew, the procedure was going to be done by a plumber.  “Of course!” she responded, apparently offended by the question.

After the colonoscopy, the doctor apparently told my husband that I should call the office to schedule a “follow-up” in 4 weeks.  I dutifully did this, suspecting the worthlessness in pursuing the matter any further.

“O.K., Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, you are all set for your follow-up.”

I was about to hang up when I had a thought.

“Uh, this appointment is with the doctor, right?”

“Well, uh, no.  It’s with the Nurse Practitioner.  The doctor is only available every other Friday and the fifth Thursday of the month during Leap Years.”

“I just called and said, ‘I need to schedule my follow up with the doctor,’ and you didn’t feel like it was worth telling me that I wouldn’t actually be WITH THE DOCTOR?” I said.

“Would you like to see the doctor?”

“I believe that’s what I meant when I asked to schedule an appointment with her, yes.”

Oh, great.  I realize that I have probably been a little too sarcastic, and now I picture the receptionist labeling my chart, like poor Elaine on Seinfeld.

Elaine: I was looking at my chart [at the doctor’s office], and it said that I was difficult. Why would they write that?

Jerry: They’ve gotten to know you.

She finds that every doctor in the city has her chart, and tries to get Kramer to steal it for her.

ELAINE: Where’s my chart? Did you get it? 


ELAINE: What? What happened?

KRAMER: I don’t know. But now they got a chart on me.

Thanks to http://www.theunnecesarean.com for the image - which I am sure they created in their own studio with a stunt double.

The receptionist miraculously finds a date on which I can meet with the doctor and I enthusiastically put it on my calendar despite the 20 other things with which it conflicts.

“Thank you so much!” I say, hoping to erase both the memory of my earlier sarcasm from her memory and the black mark from my chart.

“You’re welcome,” she says, and hangs up.

I’m screwed.


Posted on November 22, 2011, in Doctors, Humor, Phobia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Based on your last sentence: IBS = I’m Being Screwed

  2. I’m in exactly the same boat as you…
    “So, you have IBS. Basically, I want you to stop eating everything and slowly add one boring veggie back at a time until you discover all the delicious foods that make your intestines go bezerk”
    … Great, thanks.
    “By the way, there’s no cure for it. That’ll be a squillion dollars, please.”

  3. OK, I should probably refrain from giving medical advice in a blog comment, but I guess I am too obnoxious to keep it to myself. I had a negative celiac test, but seem to be intolerant to gluten to a lesser extent. I’m been gf for a little over a year with great success. Maybe give a gf diet a trial run just to see if it helps? Best of luck!

  4. writingandrecovering

    I loved that episode.
    And the only good thing about a doctor never having appointments is that it means they are probably good.

  5. I agree. They make money off tests and pills. IBS is their way of trying to keep you coming back and giving big pharma something to market drugs for. (Keep in mind I’m IN drug research.) Even my GI dr finally admitted that the scope, blood tests, DNA test for an official diagnosis of Celiacs served no medical purpose. “But knowledge is always good.” Yeah, but an elimination diet and food journal can do the same thing (esp as 3 other people in my family have it) w/o the high price tag. I’d suggest trying a GF diet (no grains at all for a week or two, allows body to repair). See if there’s a difference. Add things back slowly and note results. 🙂

    • As you are now the third person to give me this advice, I think I definitely need to give this a try. From now, I’m just going to crowd source my medical issues. Who needs doctors, anyway? 🙂

  6. A friend related a similar experience to me yesterday but it wasn’t told with any mirth – I love your humour!

  7. I deal with those IBS issues myself…. You keep your sense of humor just like you have now… that’s an order! 🙂

  8. critters and crayons

    Medical stuff kills me. Especially when you have a specific need to see a specialist- one that you’ve exhaustively researched, been referred to, and are covered under for your insurance- Only to show up to find that someone else is there and the clinic/hospital/whatever staff is always shocked that you want to see the person whose name is on your appointment slip or insurance referral. Then, you wait a month- and hope it doesn’t happen again. Infuriating. Let me just also say- this is the only blog I follow where colonoscopies and bowels are a prevailing topic. haha!

  9. Wife acutally did this recently. She loves to do research and there’s no exception when she’s sick. She scheduled an appointment and went to the doctor with a packet regarding what she believed her mysterious affliciton could be. The doctor snubbed her, misdiagnosed, and then threw some pills at her. The doc also put that she has “anxiety problems” in her chart! A few days later, Wife successfully diagnosed herself. Thanks for all the help, doc. 😉

  10. Never seen the doctor! That is unbelievable…. The Nurse may be very nice but she is not the doctor…can’t you change!

  11. I like John’s comment! 🙂

  12. I happened to glance at my chart one day at the doctor’s office, and this “new” (not any more, since I resigned from her care) – doctor had written that I was an “anxious middle aged woman.” I can live with the middle-aged part – even though I resent it. But anxious? I’m the happiest person I know. And what’s more – I was worried because I WAS SICK! Isn’t that, like, NORMAL?

  13. I have been misdiagnosed, almost operated on for the wrong ailment, and I had to suggest that a bone scan would be a good thing to do when I went in for my last physical. The doctor nodded and said that was a good idea, considering my age. Sigh. I know there are good doctors out there, but sometimes it seems like all they want to do is throw pills at you.

  14. Geez is this a GI specialist? That is terrible care. I felt the same way, they love to stamp IBS on anything they can’t figure out right away.

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