Things My Doctors Should Have Looked Into Sooner
It's been six months, and I still don't have a diagnosis. My short-term disability has been cut to 70% of my regular pay, forcing me back into the office too soon, and I'll soon run out of FMLA protected leave. It is increasingly clear that whatever is wrong could have been caught and treated much sooner, maybe even before I started working.
- •Bilateral ExotropiaA few years ago, I told my optometrist that I was concerned because one of my eyes seemed to drift off when I look at myself up close in a mirror. I was told flat out that it wasn't possible. This weekend, I saw another optometrist because reading things up close causes intense pain and double vision. It turns out my eyes are turned so far outward that the optometrist was amazed they can work together at all. This condition is often associated with a neurological or developmental disorder.
- •Visual Processing IssuesI finally got the scores back on my neuropsych evaluation from a couple of months ago, and on every single test involving visual processing, I scored profoundly below average (the exception being visual memory, where I made it all the way to the 54th percentile). This could be associated with the above, but I'm not sure how.
- •ADHDActually, this was identified years ago, when I was in college. It's been confirmed by two evaluations by neuropsychologists, along with my lived experience. Recently, there has been a movement to blame my focus issues on depression, which blocks me from the treatment I need. "Depression," in my experience, is a label someone gave me when I was 11 y/o that can be used to erase nearly any complaint I approach a doctor with.
- •Whatever the Fuck Is Wrong With MeIt's obviously been there for a while. I've been complaining about the symptoms for years, and they've been explained away or blatantly ignored. It took holes in my retinas to get anyone to listen or consider that all my "diagnoses" were pieces of a larger puzzle, even though I've known for years. I feel betrayed by the medical profession.
- •AsthmaI knew I had asthma for years, but my pediatrician refused to acknowledge the possibility, insisting I was just too fat. I had pneumonia and bronchitis more than once in the first decade of my life and have a parent with severe asthma, but sure, I probably have trouble breathing because I gained weight during puberty. It took me years to convince anyone to do a pulmonary test in my late teens, which eventually confirmed what I'd been telling them.
- •AllergiesAgain, I have a parent with severe allergies, but I was told that my symptoms were just an attempt to get out of school, even though I mysteriously developed strep throat every spring for a while in my teens. Again, I had to directly request a consult with an allergist once I had the agency to do so, and I was proven right.
- •Systemic Discrimination Against Women and People With Mental Illnesses In MedicineWell, and also children, I suppose. And a bunch of other minority groups, but I can't speak for them. What I can say is that I am tired and angry that it took so long for anyone to consider the outside possibility that I might be complaining of symptoms because something is actually wrong.