Are We Too Specialized?

My sad computer saga continues. For the last three days I’ve been on the phone or chat room with various professional geeks, each one telling me that the problem I’ve been having with WordPress is not at their end. Computers, and by extension, internet, and software have become so specialized, no two geeks can agree on anything–other than it’s not their problem.

I won’t go into everything I checked and rechecked, but odd as it sounds, it does seem to point to my persistent connectivity issues. Somehow, it created the glitch. The solution is less than easy since it probably requires a legion of young men climbing on my house and drilling more holes in my roof.

But to get back to the point of this post, have we become too specialized? General practice doctors routinely like to send us to specialists. Lawyers are famous for specializing. Even bakers specialize. Some only do bundt cakes, others do cupcakes, and some specialize in wedding cakes. Cake is cake, right? Shouldn’t one be just as delicious as another?

It’s great to have someone really expert at something, but it’s also a disadvantage when it comes to diagnosing problems. Very few people are good at drilling down to the actual problem.

25 years ago a doctor misdiagnosed me with MS. Another doctor treated me for migraines. Yet another doctor panicked enough to send for his superior when he noticed both sides of my brain were active at the same time during my EEG.

What can I say? I tend to multi-task. πŸ™‚

In the end, quite by accident, Greg found an article about Lyme disease that described my symptoms exactly. No one bothered to ask if I’d been traveling, or had any suspicious marks. I had been bitten by a tick during a camping trip only a few weeks prior to my decline. Up until then we had never even heard of Lyme disease.

It took me nine months to recover. I was so certain I was going to die, I started making notes so Greg would know where I put everything.

Even with specialists, we get misdiagnosed. I think that’s what I’m going through now with my computer. It’s a little like playing detective, slowly picking through the weeds for the right trail. Hopefully, I’m on the right trail now.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_mettus'>mettus / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

β€œOnce you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Sherlock Holmes

Have you ever been misdiagnosed?

 

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13 Comments

  1. I have pretty much zero trust in doctors. I honestly wish I could just go get labwork without having a doctor, but that’s a big fat no in Oklahoma. Other than going to the urgent care clinic (where the 2nd to last time I was prescribed antibiotics I was allergic to, but in their defense *I* didn’t know at the time I was allergic to them), I’ve always had doctors just brush me off. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, and had also mentioned that I was struggling with depression and extremely high stress at the time, the doctor was just like “well, take this prescription and monitor your blood pressure.”

    Doctors either can’t diagnose, IMO, or they don’t want to dig deeper than the surface. So I’ve pretty much stopped going except for superficial things. Like animal bites. I’d sooner have my veterinarian look at my problems, honestly.

    • Rebekah: You bring up an interesting point about veterinarians. Since their patients can’t talk, not only do they show more empathy, but they work harder to look for clues that could help them find the answer.

      I like my current doctor as long as I don’t have anything more serious than bronchitis.

      • I heard it said before that pediatricians and veterinarians are the “best” kind of doctors. They have to diagnose what is going on with their patients without really hearing from the patient themselves but often the third party (parent or owner of the animal).

        betty

  2. Lyme disease? Some people take much longer than nine months to recover. It’s a horrible disease that seems to be spreading. Ref not taking a doctor’s advice I’m always reminded of Moliere’s ‘I listen to my doctor’s advice, ignore it and shortly get better’ or words to that effect. I was once misdiagnosed with asthma purely because my doctor suffered from it and ‘recognised’ the symptoms. πŸ™‚

    • Mike: After my lowest point, I decided to make the best of it. I changed my diet to whole, real food, gave up soft drinks, and got as much fresh air as I could. I tried to quit my job because I was simply too weak to go, but my boss refused to let me quit. He saved my job until I was ready to come back.

      It took me another couple of years to get back to where I was before the illness, but the worst of it was over after 9 months.

      I’m still constantly aware of it though. There are some reports that people who have recovered from Lyme disease sometimes get relapses later in life. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

  3. Stacy McKitrick

    Don’t believe I’ve ever been misdiagnosed, but I’ve been told to expect certain things from a diagnosis that never came to pass. In a good way, of course. Medicine can only go by data and the averages. Apparently I was above average! πŸ™‚

  4. Jenny Schwartz

    Computer experts! Bah. I hate how many things we can no longer fix ourselves. I’m not saying I could ever have kept my car running, but now that mechanics need all those gizmos to read the computers in our cars just to start a diagnosis, the days of driveway repairs are gone. Sadly.

    Lyme disease. Ugh. How awful. I hope they’re wrong and it doesn’t recur. Surely once is enough??

  5. You would think Lyme disease would be on their mind, especially if you were in an area that could be prone to ticks. Glad you did recover from it. I listen to doctors all day when I’m working, but I’m still not fond of them. My daughter was misdiagnosed for years. She has cerebral palsy with some physical difficulties. I knew she was depressed but the doctors downplayed it, thinking things were related to her cerebral palsy. She was good at faking it in front of doctors too. When she finally got so depressed that she couldn’t fake it any more, one doctor said “she has depression.” I’m like “yes, I’m been telling all of you this for a very long time.” Sadly because she wasn’t treated earlier than she was, it ended up really being hard to treat her afterward including a 7 month stay in a residential center to try to help her.

    betty

    • Betty: Back then the tick that spread Lyme disease was only in the northern part of the country. It’s only recently that it’s started to be seen in Texas. I had gone camping in Wisconsin. It was a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  6. We pay close attention to the dogs and ourselves here because of the local tick population, and the potential for contracting Lyme’s. I hope that the new vaccine the FDA is fast-tracking will spare future generations of having to deal with what you’ve been through, pal.

    When I was 24 my left/dominant hand started randomly going numb. My handwriting changed, too, because pens kept slipping in my fingers. The first doctor I went to see said it was carpal tunnel due to my “excessive” practice of hand writing, and told me to stop unless I wanted to have surgery to correct it.

    I didn’t buy it. For one thing I had no pain or tingling, and the numbness was very localized and getting slowly but progressively worse. One night I held both of my hands level next to each other, and saw that the back of my dominant hand had a slight, bulgy swelling.

    I went to another doctor, and showed it to him, and he correctly diagnosed me with a tumor, which thankfully turned out to be benign. He surgically removed it, but it grew back a year later and invaded two tendons, and I had to have a second, more complicated operation. Round two finally worked to get rid of it, but it cost me 85% of the use of the hand. So now I’m a righty.

    Never hurts to get a second opinion.

    • Lynn: And I thought it was bad when the nuns forced me to be right handed. Wow! I’m glad the second doctor figured it out, but so sorry the tumor mangled your tendons so badly. That was good detective work on your part.

      In the end all we can do is be observant and either have a good support system for ourselves and be good advocates for those in our care. I won’t blindly accept a doctor’s diagnosis. I expect him to explain to me exactly how he came to that conclusion and to offer me all the options available to me.

      I’m a pain in the keester to doctors and veterinarians, but I like to be informed so I can make the right decision.

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