It is not a lie that doctors ask too many questions, both the obviously reasonable ones and those questions that really seem stupid to the patient. Okay, imagine asking a nun about her last sexual activity… Ideally, a nun is a self chastised woman, usually of the Catholic faith, who is not expected to have anything doing with a man sexually, but she has come to complain about certain genital discharge that may suggest sexually transmitted infection. I mean you as a doctor would either be ready to sniff in some lies that may follow or shelve even asking such question. What about asking a devout Muslim lady that came to you with features that may suggest alcoholic liver disease, how long has she been drinking? Well…, would you be expecting her to tell you she takes alcohol? What if your differential was wrong and she never tasted alcohol before? To you, the question was valid but to her, perhaps you just embarrassed her.
These are few instances a doctor could sound very stupid to patients in the course of ruling out and ruling in diagnosis. On today’s episode of Doctor-Patient Palaver, let’s look at these few things that look too heavy for a patient to tell his or her physician…
1. I Have Multiple Sexual Partners
This is one heck of a difficult truth to tell a doctor…
Even though, I may have huge confidence in my doctor, I wouldn’t want him to judge me. If he decides not to judge me out rightly, he would probably judge me in his mind and always think of me as a cheat, so I’d rather lie and tell him I only have sexual intercourse with my wife and my wife alone. Not considering how the truth may have helped the doctor manage me well.
Knowing if you have multiple sexual partners would help your doctor to institute management approach that would reduce the spread of some sexually transmitted infections (e.g. Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Genital herpes, and HIV) and also help weigh your risk of epidemiologically important diseases associated with HIV virus—HIV infection, Human Papilloma virus—cervical cancer, and even pelvic inflammatory diseases popularly called PID.
2. I Cannot Do Without Taking Tobacco And Cannabis
How many sticks of tobacco or wraps of marijuana do you take a day? Your heart jumps I guess but I wasn’t asking you. #smiles. The closest to the true answer a doctor would get after asking his patient this question is, ‘ha doc, don’t let me lie o, I take cigarette just once in a while,’ this response is just as good as, ‘ha doc, I can’t do without taking dry fish at all time’. Although some find it easy to say without mincing the truth, many often are forced to tell the truth only when it seemed the undiluted truth could safe their lives.
How confident can you tell your physician you do weed like you do three meals a day?
3. I’m Addicted To Alcohol
This is really tough to accept. Even though I know my gratification depends on alcohol, I may agree to addiction only when my mental and physical health start suffering.
I once asked a Hausa female patient the number of bottles she takes a day. Her response was, God forbid! But my instinct didn’t give in to her response, because I was almost very sure she would be a chronic alcoholic, may be secretly. But I could also be wrong, if I was, I had embarrassed her knowing that the sale of alcohol is even forbidden by law in the north. So I explained to her that I didn’t mean to disrespect her, just that it seems only the truth would take away her pains. I reassured her that she shouldn’t be ashamed to say the truth; that I have seen many women who drink a lot, hers would not be the first. That was only a blind try, but it did work. She opened up on how she has been drinking for almost 30years. Where as I didn’t have to ask another woman in the western region when she told me she takes whiskey with her husband a lot, even though the information was not relevant to her complaint that day, but I took the opportunity to counsel her on the health problems associated with excessive alcohol intake and encouraged her to cut down her intake of liquor.
4. I Use Abortion Pills
It is very difficult and rare for a lady to tell a doctor she had been using or she has used an abortion pill. It is understandable, no body wants to be judged especially in a country where abortion is illegal… usually the closest to the truth physicians get is,
‘Doctor, it was my friend that gave me some drugs to take. I never knew they were for abortion.’ This beautified lie may only come because the patient now bleeds heavily and is scared she might lose her life. Many of the pills given to patients by drug store keepers tend to abort incompletely causing some products of conception to remain within the womb, hence bleeding, which could lead to death if the remaining products are not evacuated, ensues.
More than funny, ridiculous, and inhumane is when such drugs are prescribed by quacks to a pregnancy above age of viability, when the baby has appreciably developed. I mean, the mother’s and the baby’s lives then dangle on the very thing rope separating life and death.
As a pregnant woman, you may need to tell your doctor frankly the number of abortions (whether spontaneous or induced) you have had in the past, this would help him and the rest of the health team provide you a better antenatal care. With someone carrying Rhesus negative blood group (e.g. O negative, B negative, A negative or AB negative), your first spontaneous or induced abortion may suggest why you have been having recurrent abortions and couldn’t have a child. Your doctor needs to know this to help proffer solution. Also for someone that has had overzealous curettage via D&C, you may develop a condition called Asherman’s syndrome which makes it difficult for you to conceive again. My plead is, do not lie about taking abortion pills and the number of abortions you have had in the past.
5. I Still Bed Wet
Could it ever be that easy to tell your doctor you still bed wet at 18 or 20years? A child is expected to attain bladder control around age of four years, but if this isn’t the case, then there is a problem somewhere that requires medical attention. Bedwetting at adulthood after attaining prior control as a child may be as a result of some medical illnesses, however, it is still possible not to have attained bladder control all through your childhood and adolescence. Do not despair, perhaps embarrassing but there is always a room to seek medical attention.
In order to get away from this physical and psychological abashment, please don’t be ashamed to tell your physician you still spill your bedsheets…
6. I Take Herbal Concoction
Perhaps our deep-rooted spiritual and cultural heritage has provided us with a wide variety of traditional options for alleviating illnesses, and that exactly is the problem. These practices cannot be completed without overdosing the patient with herbal concoction, which is totally different from squeezing the juice out of Moringa oleifera leaf and drinking. The more heinous and irritating practice include mixing cow urine, cow dung, and perhaps roots of some highly poisonous plants together and serving it to a patient with kidney failure or patient with low blood sugar or even a child with convulsion. On many occasions, these mixtures do nothing but aggravate patients condition and on the worst occasions, herbal concoction overdose has killed some of my patients.
Because of fear of rebuke, patients and relatives tend to deny ever taking herbal concoction.
7. I Don’t Know How To Do A Breast self Examination
In a situation where you are seeing a male doctor, the feeling may go a little queasy when you tell him you don’t know how to perform a breast self examination. Checking your breast every month will help you notice changes in your breast tissue. These changes may be breast lump development which could lead to breast cancer later in life. Hence, it may not be too wrong to tell your physician to explain to you how to do a breast self examination. If he is a male doctor, you may request for a female chaperone to assist him, in order to provide some courage and confidence.
In case you still think the whole process may still be embarrassing, Kindly Go Through This Illustration On Breast Self Examination Here
8. I Haven’t Bought My Medications
There is no two-way about this, it only takes courage for you to be able to tell your doctor, on your next visit, that you haven’t bought or been using your anti-hypertensive drugs for the past 2weeks that he has prescribed them. For whatever reason you haven’t been using your drugs, you know you would receive some scolding from a disappointed doctor. Nobody wants to be scolded like a child?
9. I Haven’t Been Able To Limit My Salt Intake
After years of counsel and persuasion, you still couldn’t reduce your salt intake. Your Blood pressure has remained poorly controlled for months and your doctor is already worried, thinking his different combinations of drugs are not working. How bold are you to tell him all his years of effortful counsels are just a waste?
10. I Still Secretly Take Sugar
Diabetic patients have big problem adhering to non-sugar/non-carbohydrate meals. The truth is, for how long is a patient going to live with only protein and vegetables? This constitutes huge headache for the patient, thus finds out that he or she still secretly swallow some chocolates from time to time. The blood sugar level becomes unstable again and the doctor begins to wonder…
At this point, knowing in your heart that you caused it, it is very difficult to accept you have been secretly leaking Choco.
Have You Really Been Caught In Any Of The Above Difficult Situations?
Next on the blog is The Bold man’s Weapon II, thanks for reading today’s post. See you on the next post.