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Doctors: The Time They Do or Do Not Take

By: Stephanie Hoover

  While some people are aware of my fight for my right to get my tubes tied I finally found a doctor who would do it and was willing to listen to my thoughts and feelings on the matter. With that said, after I posted that I was going to have the procedure done I had many friends tell me NOT to do it. One of my friends said that her and her daughter have had nothing but problems from having the procedure done, which lead to me asking many of my other friends about their experiences. Only one of my friends said she had the procedure done and hasn’t had any complications or side effects. However, not only have many of my friends recommended not going through with the procedure, but one of them suggested first researching Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome.

From my research I found a list of up to 45 different symptoms which can stem from having the procedure done. While some were smaller like: aching, dry vagina, headache change; increase or decrease, etc. there were more drastic symptoms like: loss of libido, depression, hair loss or thinning, pelvic pain, stabbing pains in pelvic area at time of ovulation, irregular periods (shorter, longer, heavier, lighter, flooding phantom periods, change in cycles), etc. Many of my friends have expressed experiencing pain that they’d never had before their procedure. I even found a Facebook page riddled with women who shared their experiences, which were mostly negative. Many of these women were trying to save money to have the procedure reversed because of the horrible symptoms they’ve experienced.

Here are my concerns about what my experience has been in talking with doctors about the procedure. The three women who basically laughed at me and told me that at 32, with only having one child who was born when I was 17, and telling me that not only might I change my mind, but my boyfriend or someday husband may want a child, never once brought up the countless issues which can come from having the procedure done. Instead they made it all about me being a woman, capable of child birth, therefore that’s what I should do, and that I wasn’t old enough to make such a big decision and that I hadn’t had enough children to make such a decision either. None of what they said to me was about what I, as a person, wanted out of life. None of it was about what this procedure may negatively do to my body. None of it considered my well-being. At that, if a man were to say he didn’t want to have children, anymore or at all, he isn’t given as much criticism as a woman. I even told them that it wasn’t that I disliked children, I just didn’t want to birth any more. I could adopt, become a foster parent, or even become a mentor to children through groups like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Nope. I was not only not treated like a person who knows what they want and don’t want to do with their life, but I wasn’t told about all of the complications and symptoms which could occur from having such a procedure done.

The male doctor who finally took me seriously discussed the basics with me: my options, my background, my future, the procedure, my recovery, and told me that I’d get my period again, unlike not having it with the shot I’m currently on. Even the nurses who walked me through the procedure and how to prepare for it didn’t mention anything about the post-symptoms. They went through my and my family medical history, but never once did anyone give me any information or tell me about the lengthy symptoms which not only could, but seemed very likely to come from the procedure. I was given a brochure about the procedure, but nothing like my friends and these other women had given me about the post-symptoms.

I understand time is money and it seems like there isn’t enough time to cover what probably should be covered, but it seems like my doctor visits over the past few years seem shorter and more rushed. I feel like I’m just being processed and shipped out. Maybe I watch too much “House” or maybe it’s due to being a student who is constantly instructed to do massive amounts of research before making an argument, but I feel like there are not enough questions asked and things explained when it comes to medical care.

I once had strep throat for over a month before I was treated for it, because the initial test came back negative. However, a friend of mine told me that while the test can initially come back negative in the lab if it’s sent off and further tested it can come back positive. A week later, while not only still sick and not getting any better my entire body broke out into a rash. They then tested me for measles and told me I couldn’t leave my house until the test results came back. While quarantined in my home I received the results that I did not have the measles, however, they also didn’t know what it was and didn’t do anything else on the matter –until my boyfriend eventually came down with strep throat and I told them that he definitely got it from me and needed to treat me for it too! The rash came from my body having strep for so long without being treated for it and happened to resemble the measles. Had the doctors sent out my sample to be further tested it may have come back positive. Had the doctors listened to the fact that I worked at a daycare and was always sick and that strep was going around I may have been treated sooner. But to rule things out without testing it further and to basically say “It’s not that, I don’t know!” and to sweep me to the side…? Is this really what being a doctor is now?

While I’m a fairly healthy person I have had a few issues in my medical life that seemed to go on for way too long and had not been given the proper attention they should have: pain in my ribs that felt like stabbing pains which came and went and there seemed to be no cause, uterine pain that my doctors aren’t sure what it is or isn’t and aren’t really doing anything about compared with what my friends have told me they’d gone through to take care of similar issues, the strep-throat feeling that actually stemmed from anxiety, my constant sinus infections from having my wisdom teeth removed, etc. While some of these are past and some are present issues what bothers me is that I seem to keep getting passed from one person to the next, told contradicting things, and most importantly I feel that doctors do no spend enough time as they should investigating what could be wrong before they pass the patient off or write off what could be wrong. –As for my tubal ligation issue, I guess I’m very glad that my friends and I are so open and that they enlightened me to the things that my medical team should have.

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