Monthly Archives: August 2011

Best prescription is a healthy dose of doubt

I had a post nasal drip all spring that had me constantly clearing my throat.  I finally consulted an ENT since this extended way past the usual allergy season.  The physician advised that there was no longer a usual allergy season, and prescribed nasal spray, as recounted in the recent article, via @WSJ.  The first week I sprayed as instructed, but then slacked off.

Soon it was not my post nasal drip or throat clearing that alarmed me but my energy level plummeted over  the next month.   I’ve had low iron for most of my adult life but that has never before stopped me from my perpetual motion, and that prodded me to seek answers for my fatigue.  My GP ordered blood work to rule out a list of scary terms; Lyme, Leukemia, Lupus, and that’s just L’s.  Failing to detect any physical anomaly, it was suggested I might be suffering from depression and perhaps could use some medication.   It seemed odd to me that someone could suffer from depression without having anything to be depressed over, but my GP stated that is frequently the case and the origin may be subconscious.

Mood enhancing/stabilizing drugs now top the list of drugs prescribed in the U.S.  and I fear that these prescriptions are dispensed almost cavalierly.    I declined his prescription and sought a second opinion.   This consultation afforded me much more time, say 5 minutes with the doctor, and an MRI was scheduled.  The results indicated that all my throat clearing had swelled my esophogus and larynx, which was affecting my thyroid.    This was a temporary condition and would easily correct itself when the swelling subsided.   Instead, my new physician recommended continued use of my nasal spray, vitamin B, and to give my voice a rest- tough thing for a talker like me, although my family had no complaints.   I’m happy to report, after a few weeks, I’m my usual active self.

Far too often people defer to their doctor, even when their gut tells them not to.  It is prudent to never lose sight of a few simple facts:  a doctor has only a few minutes of discussion time, is indebted with student loans in the six figure range,  may be highly distracted, often low on sleep, and while intent on serving your best interests, is human, and all humans make mistakes.  A healthy dose of doubt can go a long way to preserving your health.