Yesterday I had a Social Security Disability CE exam with one of their doctors. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had in a doctor’s office; here’s how it went down.
First, the appointment was scheduled quite a distance from where I live; despite the fact there were several offices in the city of Chicago; which would have been more convenient; but, there may have been a very good logistical reason for that; I can’t rule out that possibility. Since I don’t have a car I had to use public transportation (which is very good in the Chicagoland area); however, this was the first time since my diagnosis that I’ve been out on a very sunny, 80 degree plus day; on public transportation. When I arrived I felt awful; I was extremely dizzy, felt pressure building around my forehead, nausea; so I was walking very slowly and unsteady. The doctor called me in and of course she knew nothing about my case; when I told her I have a cavernous angioma; combined with chronic hypertension; and an eye condition known as Iritis; she wrote the information down and proceeded with questioning. When I mentioned that I was feeling dizzy; she kind of smirked and said ok; then I said I was concerned about a bleed; her reaction was you’ll know it when it happens…really? At that point I got the feeling she felt like I was faking or exaggerating my symptoms. She began the examination. Of course my lungs are clear and I don’t have a heart problem; no, I don’t drink or smoke; I don’t have a back problems anymore so my spine is fine (no pun intended); however, I didn’t have any reflex reaction; then the worst thing you can possibly do when someone has our condition is ask them to bend over; especially if they’re feeling pressure building up in their head; but, she did it anyway; fortunately nothing catastrophic happened. Oh, did I also mention she did everything possible to avoid making eye contact; it must be something in there training I guess.
Finally after the doctor left the room a nurse came in and took my blood pressure; which was 142/89; which for me is quite high seeing I have been on medication; that I had taken that day; and for years; if my blood pressure would have been taken before her exam; then the dizziness would have made sense; eliminating her skepticism; at least in theory. When the nurse saw the blood pressure her reaction was; maybe you’re just nervous; obviously she didn’t understand the ramification either. There was a hospital next door; never did they suggest going to the emergency room; fortunately I made it home without anything happening.
The thing that was most shocking to me was the callousness. Isn’t the first rule of thumb for any medical professional is to first “Do no Harm!” I’m not even sure they would even care; and that’s very sad. I know they are not my personal medical staff; or even compassionate human beings; all they have to do is fill out an RFC form and get paid on the 1st and 15th of each month; I get that! So a word of advice when and if you have to go to one of those SSDI exams; understand what can and likely will happen; they could care less about how your health is affected by the process; it just a job to them.