In recent weeks my health has reached a state where I can scarcely keep up with the blog, except in short bursts. I have also become embroiled in a conflict with the medical centre they I go to in order to consult with my very good anthroposophical doctor. Both have knocked the stuffing out of me so I am giving a brief update here.
Living with denial – an update
This is today's headline -
Every month of 2016 has set a temperature record.
And the reality at the North Pole is shown in the photo above. This was not supposed to have happened any time this century and yet it has and with much greater ferocity and speed than "previously expected".
And yet we have some Guardian-reading nincompoop accusing Guy McPherson of cherry-picking information he doesn't like and saying Peter Wadhams is "out-of-touch" because he likes to rely on actual observed data rather than computer modelling that has shown itself to be almost a century out- of-date. For being wrong that's pretty impressive!
Then when you add that to what is happening with acccusations of Putin being out to wreck the American election (as if they can't do a fabulous job of that themselves!) and the nonsense about Hillary Clinton's getting "overheated" or "pneumonia" - they seem to have changed their mind about that today - I can't see anything about pneumonia today - one has to wonder if we are living in a parallel universe or whether there is anything called "truth" any more.
Unfortunately, at this key juncture (although I can't think of any point of time in the last five years that was NOT a critical juncture) there are other things coming to the fore for me.
For the last few weeks I can feel things deteriorating rapidlly with my own health - a bit like the Arctic sea ice really. The time I can concentrate and sit in front of the computer to do this blog is getting shorter and shorter and indeed, for the first time in 5 1/2 years the motivation is also much reduced.
Much of the time I feel very weak and suffer from debilitating nausea and severe heartburn, such that I fear I might keel over before my friend, Guy McPherson gets here in November.
I feel simultaneously that there is less and less to say as we know well already which way things are going and events have become so frequent that I increasingly feel as if I can't catch up - as well as having less strength and concentration to keep things going.
All very strange (and deeply distressing) when I am told by the conventional doctors that I seem to have to have contact with far more frequently than I would like that the very basic tests that they do come back clear apart from some "minor" damage to the liver (sic). All this is code for "there's nothing wrong with you".
I have actually found myself in conflict with one particular doctor who insists (although she is not my GP) on insinuating that I am depressed and there is nothing wrong with me.
I wrote a letter of complaint in which I brought up numerous points that I consider quite relevant
I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the behaviour of one of your GP’s whom I know only as ‘Doctor Julie’ as I do not know her last name.
Badly bruised by my two previous encounters with her in 2014 during the absence of my GP, W.C I reluctantly made an appointment to see her on August 23 as I had been feeling extremely unwell, partially as a result of a period of devastating sleeplessness. I thought this would be quite straightforward and only a matter of discussing the medication I was on and whether I should be on something else. Nothing, however prepared me for a scenario that was beyond, and worse than anything I could have imagined.
After being invited to follow her into the consultation room I was asked how she could help.
I talked of my sleeplessness and how the medication prescribed by Dr. C had not really helped. My expectation was that she might have asked some questions about my insomnia. However, she didn't ask a single question about my condition and instead started, after what was obviously an extremely cursory consultation of my notes, to refer to previous blood tests ordered by Dr. C which she said were ‘normal’ except for some ‘slightly abnormal’ liver tests, to which I responded that I spent most of my life looking after my liver. She referred to something from my file indicating that people from the hospital ‘thought’ I may have ‘chronic fatigue’.
She then she indicated that she would like to give her ‘opinion’. At that I said most emphatically (but not aggressively) that I was not in the slightest bit interested in her opinion, that she was not my doctor, and I that would like to discuss my case with him, not her, when he returned. At this point she walked out of the room leaving me wondering what was going on.
When finally she came back she asked me again what I wanted and I repeated that I wanted some help with my sleep. She started to reel off types of sleeping tablet as if from a shopping list (anti-histamine, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic etc). I said I was no expert in sleeping tablets but surely there was something else I could use. She said benzodiazepines were clearly “not right” for me. Suspecting that benzodiazepines were not the only sleep-inducers on the market (and being pretty annoyed by this time) I said: “well I'm not taking f.....ing antihistamines”, on which she walked out saying she “won’t take swearing.”
After yet another longish wait she came back with the practice manager. When I made to point out my previous experiences with Dr Julie, she walked out for the third time. The practice manager suggested I might like to come back for an appointment with Dr.E.R or another practitioner. I responded that since I had already had problems with him I would leave if for another time, and left (as there had been no consultation) without paying.
As someone with more than 10 years of clinical experience as an acupuncturist (before having to give up due to ill health), I successfully treated many ‘refugees’ from the medical system who had ‘fallen through the cracks’. While I often encountered ‘difficult’ patients, I always made a point of listening to people and trying to get to the bottom of what was ailing them.
I never have (and never would have) treated anyone with anything like what I encountered in my consultation with Dr Julie.
It was, to my mind, abusive and an attempt to exercise power (given to her by the State) by turning a vulnerable and unwell patient into someone who was ‘behaving badly’. I cannot imagine a worse violation of the patient-doctor relationship in which she, not I, exercises all the power.
Because this stands in such contrast to the relationship of trust I have with Dr. C. this has been extremely upsetting to me and plays on my mind, especially given the sensitivity of my case.
Unless I receive a satisfactory response and an apology in a reasonable length of time I will be taking my complaint elsewhere.
Today I received a reponse from the Centre. Somehow they have overlooked everything that I wrote in the letter and apparently I am guilty of gross patient misconduct towards a doctor by being agressive, swearing and shouting (all, I hasten to add, a complete work of fiction). I do wonder what my reponsibilities towards these Esteemed people is.
What are my responsibilities towards a doctor who wants to tell me there's nothing wrong with me and I'm depressed at the very time when I feel weak, with almost constant nausea and intense heartburn and a feeling I might keel over?
In the era of cutbacks they don't want to do any tests. I'm apparently a hypochrondriac although I go to the doctor about once every six months.
Here is the reponse I received today:
Dear Mr Westenra,
I am writing in relation to your letter of complaint dated 28 August 2016, in my capacity as Complaints Liaison Officer for P. Surgery. I understand that you are unhappy with a consultation you had with Dr Julie Forsey on 23rd August. I understand that you would rather have been able to see your regular GP, Dr C, but unfortunately he was unavailable and I apologise for this. I acknowledge that it is better to see a doctor who has been involved in your care for some time, understands your complex health issues and with whom you have developed a good rapport.
In response to your complaint I have reviewed the consultation notes and discussed what occurred both with Dr Forsey and with Jodie Campbell, our Practice Manager.
I understand that you came to the consultation with Dr Forsey with a request for sleeping pills. She listened to your request and reviewed your file, including your recent blood tests. She recalls (and recorded in her contemporaneous notes) that she tried to discuss various alternative medications with you. However, she reports that your behaviour towards her quickly became aggressive and abusive including swearing and very bad language. Dr Forsey reports that she has seldom experienced that degree of aggression and poor language in her 30 years of General Practice. She was upset by your behaviour and left the room in order to compose herself and in an attempt to defuse the situation. She had hoped that a break would allow you to consider your approach and modify your language and behaviour, which would then allow her to resume the consultation and offer you appropriate care in a less emotionally charged environment. On her return she tried to discuss with you the alternative medications which could help you sleep including melatonin, sedative antihistamines, sedative antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and Zopiclone. However she reports that you continued to swear at her and again she was forced to leave the room in some distress. She then sought the help of our Practice Manager, Jodie Campbell, and asked her to come into the consultation in the hope that this would improve the situation. However, I understand you continued to swear and criticise Dr Forsey and made rude comments about her to Mrs Campbell. Dr Forsey therefore chose to remove herself from the room, in order to avoid your continued verbal abuse. As she left you were shaking your stick at her in a threatening manner.
Mrs Campbell then attempted to offer you an appointment with Dr E.K later in the day, but you expressed your dissatisfaction with him and refused the offer. She then offered you an appointment with Dr McC, who was currently in the building, which again you refused, saying that you only wanted to see Dr C, who was unfortunately not available.
I acknowledge that you did not achieve the outcome you desired with this consultation; however, it appears that your aggressive and verbally abusive behaviour towards Dr Forsey, which was witnessed by Mrs Campbell, made it impossible for her to conduct an appropriate assessment of your needs at the time.
In the future we will not book you in to see Dr Forsey, as she did not feel safe in the consultation with you.
If you wish to discuss this further I am happy to have a meeting with you and our Practice Manager in order to clarify the situation.
Dr Hugh McCabe
Here is a repost of a video i recorded last July in which I refer to the lady doctor who appears in the letter above.
The only corrective I would make is about the other doctor whom I described as "honest and straight-talking". Turns out that these qualities were self-ascribed. This is the same man who made confident clinical judgements about me (that turned out to be wrong) without the benefit of ever looking back over my medical files. When I complained he was most indignant. I always had the impression he wanted to award himself the Order of Good Bloke. When I persisted and said I was comtemplating a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner he instantly changed his tune and asked "what can I do to induce you to change your mind?" and then went on to offer me free treatmen.
In my language (English) this is called a bribe.
In the meanetime I shall do my best to maintain my self-appointed duty of keeping you all informed when as as I can.
P.S. One fortunate outcome is that I have found something (marijuana oil) that helps with the sleeplessness and discomfort and takes the edge off things. Sincere gratitude to the person who facilitated this.