Michaels: Whatever happened to bedside manner?

“Left arm and chest? Hate to break this to you, sister, you may be having a heart attack.”

It was probably indigestion. That Pad Thai was a bit too salty.

Or maybe a muscle was pulled? There was a move, and boxes were being hauled upstairs.

There’s any number of reasons why my left arm and chest were hurting at the same time, I told myself.

My fellow cubicle dwellers, however, were split on the diagnosis and one comment from the back corner prompted me to take action.

“Left arm and chest? Hate to break this to you, sister, you may be having a heart attack.”

Now here’s the thing about us women, we don’t complain.

Well, that’s not true. I complain a lot, but I rarely go to the doctor with said complaints.

So, it was with some discomfort that extended beyond the dull pain in my chest and the shooting pains up my arm that I went for a midday visit to the not-so-friendly walk-in clinic.

My expectation was that they would put my mind at ease and that would be worth the hours of work I’d have to do from home to catch up. I was wrong.

Now I’m no doctor, but if a middle age woman with documented high blood pressure, chest and left arm pains heads into a clinic it seems there should be some interest, shouldn’t there?

Maybe something more than push against hands and a request to lift arms in the air?

Not even my blood pressure was checked—for the record, it was high according to the update at the drug store.

Maybe that wouldn’t have been bothersome had these questions been asked without being preceded by a heavy sigh.

Like I said, I’m not a doctor, but I do read. I read all about how male doctors are terrible at diagnosing women’s ailments. It’s reached the point where it’s actually deeply stereotypical to sigh, offer useless commentary and then watch a patient walk away, only to have them buy the farm from a heart attack days or weeks later.

Such well documented uselessness is what made my concern about this damn arm and chest pain all the more pronounced.

All over the world, women experience much higher rates of pain, and degraded care for that pain, than men. More than 100 million Americans report living with chronic pain, and the vast majority are women. Yet, doctors routinely discount women’s experiences of pain as emotional or psychological discomfort—aka, hooey.

For example a report penned in 2015 and published in PLOS Medicine found that in 34 countries “many women globally experience poor treatment during childbirth, including abusive, neglectful or disrespectful care.”

You’d think that would be one area where we’d get some special treatment.

We spend a lot of time in the Okanagan talking about how we don’t have enough doctors, how the ones who are here are underpaid and overworked and so on.

What we don’t hear enough about is what’s being done to make the care we receive here exemplary. Is there somebody at that medical school teaching bedside manner? Are they working on dealing with pervasive sexism?

At the very least, are they pointing out that when you choose to do a job you should at least try to do it well. You definitely shouldn’t sigh and half-ass-it when someone has genuine concerns about their well-being.

Needless to say, this has done nothing for my blood pressure. The good news is if I buy the farm next week, you’ll all be learning about where not to go for medical help.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Stolen vehicles found in Lake Country after collision on highway

All three vehicles were towed from the scene. The investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Wanted Prince George man found after break and enter in Kelowna

The 39-year-old Prince George man was taken into police custody without incident.

Do you own this dirt bike? Kelowna RCMP are searching for owners

The dirt bike was found abandoned last Monday

Peachland has largest number of mayoral candidates in the Central Okanagan

The mayoral candidates shared their reasons why they decided to run in the election

Okanagan RCMP detachment hosts recruiting, exam sessions

If you’ve contemplated a career with RCMP, register for sessions at West Kelowna detachment

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

B.C. city wants control over its cannabis advertising rules

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

Letter: Backbone organization needed to address housing in Kelowna

Renters United polled council candidates on housing strategies

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Most Read