As someone who typically marches into a doctor’s office with a three inch file of research in hand prior to a discussion, I am referred to as “belligerent” or “hysterical.” These are highly gender specific, deeply insulting and demeaning terms focused at women who have done their homework and who will NOT be intimidated by a white coat. I got in my surgeon’s face recently when he told me my pain was in my head and of course, I was right- my post surgical shoulder was badly inflamed. I am sick unto death of the arrogance, the condescension and grotesque ignorance of the medical community. As a 66 yo athlete who is in vastly better shape than virtually all of the caregivers I see, I am regularly misdiagnosed with ailments I don’t have ranging from Overactive Bladder (I had kidney stones) to all manner of ailments that these same docs wanted to push pills and procedures on me to fix. I have a two word answer and it’s not for public consumption.

Being naked doesn’t diminish my power. I’m in the kind of superb muscular shape that shocks the shit out of my doctors when they are expecting fat, layers of wrinkles and a doddering old woman on at least fifteen prescriptions. So when some jerk doctor told me that I’m “over-oxygenated” because my blood O2 is close to 100% (after running 2400 steps at altitude, thank you very much) and that I needed meds because I was anxious, I informed this superb nitwit/moron that I had a 97% oxy at 17,500 feet while summitting Kilimanjaro. My pulse was 60 at the time. I have no goddamned patience any more.

This is what I wrote about that shoulder experience:

Doctors really do not like women. We question. And we have every right to because of their levels of incompetence, their relationships with big pharma and the outright and unforgivable laziness of their profession. We have more than TWELVE MILLION MISDIAGNOSES in America every single year. Too many doctors don’t keep up with the research, are arrogant and far more interested in being right than doing any serious doctoring to find out what’s really wrong. That’s work. It takes empathy, compassion, competence and a willingness to be wrong to find a solid diagnosis.

What’s worse, the very, very good doctors who do indeed wish to doctor are dunned and shunned and undermined by the insurance companies so that they can hardly survive. I work with some who are cash only- because of this- but they are trustworthy. They care. They take time. And because of this they can’t find a way to work with insurance companies.

Our medical community is SICK. Particularly when it comes to women. It’s a full blown battlefield out there and nobody wins. Show up armed, and ready to fire a few warning shots across the bow. Do your due diligence. Do NOT expect doctors to know their stuff. Too many are blindered by the terrifying need to be right, rather than to really find out what’s wrong. That kills.

It’s YOUR health you’re protecting.

Thanks for this. It’s a never-ending battle and it’s getting worse. I deal with the VA which has its own set of issues, but at least my nurse is a marathoner and a jock, and she and I get along very well. It’s the doctors I can’t stand. Little demi-gods marching around clueless, with umbilical cords to Big Pharma. Not all of them. But enough so that women are deemed commodities, and damned annoying ones at that.

If you want to be healthy, stay away from doctors as much as you possibly can. too many of them kill out of incompetence.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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