Things Patients Wish Their Doctors Knew
Let’s be honest: we’re all a little dishonest with our doctors. That’s because we know that their advice is for someone who wants to be in perfect health. And we don’t need to be in perfect health—we’ll settle for pretty-good health that doesn’t give us too many aches and pains, will keep us alive until we’re 80, and still lets us do whatever the heck we want. Most people out there are not willing to give up their vices and bad habits if all that means is they’ll feel slightly less fatigued or their cholesterol will drop a couple of points. If we can be completely transparent, most of us see our doctor’s advice as vague guidelines more than strict laws. Oh, and those questions they ask us? We often decide how much they really need to know. Here are things patients wish their doctors knew…but won’t tell them.
I weigh less naked!
Standing on the scale for your check-up is disheartening. They weigh you with your shoes on, your clothes on, and your purse in hand. And what about those earrings you wear? Those must easily add another pound. You would really like the record to show (and the nurse to write down) that you’re 140 fully dressed and…um…132 nude. Scout’s honor.
I’m going to keep drinking
First of all, I’m going to pretend I have some vague idea how much alcohol I drink every week. Next, I’m going to tell you it’s under seven drinks. In reality, I can take down seven drinks on a Friday night if things pop off, and I see two glasses of wine at dinner as my way of getting fruit juice. But if my blood work comes back and says my liver is in good shape, I can keep all of that information to myself.
I use WebMD more than you want to know
There have been several times I probably should have come to you, but I just used WebMD and determined I wasn’t going to die. And look! I didn’t! But, admittedly, if you could have seen the symptoms I was dealing with, you’d scold me for not rushing to the emergency room.
I’ve lost track of my vaccines
When you ask when my last vaccine was for this or that, I’m going to tell you when. I’m going to make up that time—but I’ll tell you something that gets me out of getting another painful shot right now!
I don’t exactly take my pill on time
Sure, I take my pill at the same time every day. But, what is time, really? Some philosophers say time does not even exist. Some say there are several universes happening at once, some in the future, some in the past. Fine, I take my pill sometime between noon and 4 pm okay?! And so far, I’m not pregnant.
I want the pill that makes my boobs grow
I’m going to tell you that I did all this research about each type of pill. I’m going to tell you I’ve selected the one with the least dangerous side effects, or the one that manages PMS symptoms. Really I’ve selected the one that is supposed to make my boobs grow.
Nobody gets to sleep that much
Can we all stop pretending anybody out there is sleeping eight hours a night? I mean, doctor—are you? I sleep around six solid hours on weeknights and try to make up for it over the weekend. Yes, I know there is no such thing as catching up on sleep. But it feels like there is.
I have more stomach problems than I want to share
If I told you about the consistency of my bowel movements on most days of the week, you’d say I needed a colonoscopy or an endoscopy. But those are expensive and uncomfortable, and honestly, I don’t mind diarrhea. In fact, it makes me feel skinny.
I don’t know how many sexual partners I’ve had
I’ll tell you how many partners I’ve had. The truth is I know that number is far smaller than the real number. Furthermore, I have no idea what the real number is. But I’ve been safe so back off.
Yes, I get depressed. That’s what alcohol is for.
When you ask if I suffer from any depression, I’m going to tell you I don’t. But of course, I do! I’m a human being. I just don’t suffer from it to the point where it interferes with my daily activities, and it usually goes away after a day or two, and doesn’t come back for weeks at a time. In fact, I can usually go out for some drinks with friends and feel all better.
Sometimes I don’t eat a vegetable for three days
Real talk: I get into bouts where I just order enough pizza for three days and eat it until it’s done. Then I have nothing but vegetable juice for two days. You wouldn’t like it if I told you that, so I’m going to tell you I eat balanced meals of complex carbs, vegetables and lean protein at every meal.
I exercise less than I tell you
But I couldn’t possibly find more time in my schedule to exercise more, I’m not overweight (at least not much) and my heart is in good health. So let’s all pretend I go to the gym five days a week like I said I did when we know I go twice, and take my dog on extra long walks the other days.
I smoke something…but you didn’t ask about that
No, I do not smoke cigarettes. I smoke something else occasionally, but you didn’t ask about that. Oh and also, sometimes I do smoke cigarettes but only when I’m drunk. My lungs sound fine so get off my back.
I’m only going to take some of this advice
I’m going to nod enthusiastically at all of the advice you gave me. Then I’m going to take it home, see how much of it I can take without altering my habits and lifestyle much and split the difference. But I’ll come back a little bit healthier next time and that’s all that matters.
I eat fast food more than I want to say
I’ll tell you I eat it once in a blue moon. Only when I travel. Really, just during very busy weeks. The truth is, I need my Taco Bell fix once a week and I get down with McDonald’s breakfast twice a week.