Doctors and Gastroparesis: Why Don’t They Get It?

Anyone that has read my blog before has probably read some of my rants about doctors, especially when it comes to gastroparesis.  It wasn’t even the fact that they did nothing to help me; it was the fact that they treated me like I was causing the problem even though they knew I had gastroparesis.

Over the weekend, I received a message thru the Contact Me form on my blog.  I cried when I read her message.  She has gastroparesis and another health problem.  The gastroparesis and bouncing blood sugars compound any other problems and she has been thru a lot in trying to deal with health problems.

She was put on Regular insulin.  Regular insulin seems to be the insulin of choice for doctors with gastroparesis because it is slow. It might be slow, but it also stays in your system for 6+ hours.  Besides food being slow to digest, whatever you treat your lows with will be sitting in your stomach with all the undigested food and you will be fighting lows for hours.  When I was in the hospital, nurses would always be puzzled because they would give me something to treat the low and I would be even lower when they came back to check again.  That is a very common scenario with gastroparesis. If you have insulin floating around in your system for 6+ hours and food going nowhere, what do you really think is going to happen?

Last fall, I had a one-time visit to a new endo.  She complemented me on my A1c then turned around and criticized the fact that I was using Apidra with gastroparesis.  I might have decent A1cs because Apidra works for me and gets out of my system fast.  But no, I should change to something that is going to hang around in my system for 6+ hours causing even more lows.

This woman was having very bad lows, which included seizures.  Of course like so many of us, the finger was pointed at her.  Her doctors actually told her family that she was deliberating causing the lows.  WTF?  Do they even know what the definition of gastroparesis is?

Here is the definition of gastroparesis from the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Gastroparesis is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach don’t function normally.

Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract. But in gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly or not at all. This prevents your stomach from emptying properly. Gastroparesis can interfere with digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and play havoc with blood sugar levels and nutrition.

Play havoc with blood sugar levels – what part of that do doctors not understand?  I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what that means.  I get that doctors might not know how to help a patient with gastroparesis but why blame the patient because you don’t know how to help them?  Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

If you don’t know how to help someone, then say so.  Quit being an arrogant jerk and blaming your patients because you don’t know how to help them.  I truly hope that there is a special place in h*ll for some of these doctors.
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