Why Didn't I Say Something?

Has anyone else ever had a tough time with a different doctor? I hope you have a great doctor who knows your medical history and the treatment plan that's right for you!

Sometimes one needs to go to urgent care

But - sometimes, it's after hours and you can't reach your doctor - or maybe they are out of town. So, you drive to urgent care.

That's where I found myself last week with my middle son.

My middle son has severe asthma and was in the hospital a lot when he was younger. His asthma was so bad that he was on the first biologic for asthma, and had monthly injections for 7 years. That biologic helped keep him out of the hospital.

So when my middle son was sick, he asked me for help. He was worried it was going to be another battle with pneumonia. Since I have been managing my kid's asthma for the last 19 years, I have become an expert on them. I know their asthma triggers, what daily inhalers work best for each of them, how they act and sound when they have a flare-up, and what treatment works best for each of them during their flare-up.

We talked to the urgent care doc and gave him a little medical background about my son's severe asthma  (because if we are at urgent care, it's because I want to prevent hospitalization.) I told the doctor that my son gets really sick, really fast.

Not everyone with asthma wheezes

The urgent care doc listened to my son's lungs and said, "Well, I don't hear any wheezing..." For all of you with asthma that DON'T WHEEZE, you probably want to do a facepalm with me, right? I said, "He doesn't wheeze." The urgent care doc looked at me and sharply said, "What?" (Like how dare you have an opinion on this, I'm the doctor.) I said, "My son doesn't wheeze, he has cough-variant asthma. Usually, when he's sick, he will have a lack of air movement in his lower lobes." The urgent care doc looked at me like I was completely annoying him.

Asserting yourself in front of an ER doctor

Why don't I say something?

Yes, he's a doctor - but I am an asthma educator by professional and have spent 19 years with asthma. The urgent care doc said he only sees about 2 patients with asthma. So, I knew he wasn't that familiar with different types of asthma. I finally HAD to say something. I said, "Look, I know what I'm talking about - I'm a Certified Asthma Educator and I have managed my 3 kid's asthma for 19 years. I'm an asthma educator by profession."

"Hmph." Was all he said as he turned back to his computer. He then told my son to use his rescue inhaler to help him breathe deeply to expand his lungs so he wouldn't get pneumonia. My son and I exchanged glances, and I could tell my son was thinking - "Obviously this doctor doesn't have asthma - or he would know that you can't breathe in deep enough to use your inhaler when you are sick! I'm going to have to use the nebulizer instead." 

At that point, I just wanted to get my son's prescriptions for an antibiotic and oral steroid and head to the pharmacy. I knew it was no use trying to talk to the urgent care doc.

For the record - I am not a doctor. And I know that the urgent care doc is a trained professional. He treats people with asthma, diabetes, seizures, car accidents, etc. He has probably spent the night giving stitches to a child, helping someone that fell and broke their ankle on the ice, prescribed antibiotics to a baby with an ear infection, etc.

However, I am an asthma educator, and I know my son's asthma and what he needs. Even though I'm not a doctor, I don't need to be treated like I don't know anything about asthma. Even after I tell them that I am an asthma educator.

Has anyone else had a tough time with a different doctor? And feel like you have to let the doctor know that you actually do know how to manage your asthma, but you probably just need antibiotics and steroids to get through this flare-up?

Do you say anything?

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