I had my appointment with the allergist yesterday. (Is that the official title? I dunno.)

Let me just backtrack here for a moment and say that I have a few expectations of doctors. It’s not that I’m overly picky – I use a walk-in clinic for most of my needs and see whatever doctor happens to be free, unless it’s specific and I need to see my personal GP (who also works out of the clinic). I have had very few problems with the multitude of doctors that I have seen at the clinic over the years. However, I have had a few bad experiences recently and it comes down to these two basic demands:

  1. Introduce yourself. If we’ve never met before and you are going to be touching / examining / asking me personal questions, it’s polite to say, “Hi, Erin, I’m Dr. So-and-so” and then shake my hand. It makes me feel like a human being, rather than a collection of symptoms that you are going to diagnose.
  2. Do not interrupt me while I’m talking. Especially not if I’m talking about my symptoms or my past experiences that have some bearing on the situation at hand.

The doctor yesterday did not introduce himself. He did not shake my hand. He started asking me questions but when my answer was more than a sentence, he cut me off with another question. He asked me my height and weight, and when I didn’t know my weight exactly he was very disapproving and pulled out a digital scale. The thing didn’t want to work for me which I thought was amusing but apparently that was just. not. allowed. He called his receptionist into the room to get it to work because heaven forbid he didn’t know exactly what I weighed.

I was irritated at this point, enough to snap at him, “Is it necessary to know my weight in order to diagnose my allergies?” In retrospect, I should have just refused to step on the damn scale – my guess was within a couple of pounds anyway. His response to my question, though, was to say, “No. But sudden weight gain can cause asthma.”

Well that’s interesting because you didn’t ask me if I had gained weight! You just wanted to know what I weighed now. A single number taken today is not going to give you that information. You know who is? Me. The person you are treating like an imbecile.

Anyway. We did the allergy test and it turns out that I have my sports-induced asthma back, and I have an allergy to cat dander. Since the asthma manifested itself since I got Andy, there is the quite high possibility that the dander has irritated my lungs to the point where the asthma has come back. There is also the possibility that I would have started to see symptoms again anyway. We don’t really know.

He gave me a prescription for an inhaler which I filled yesterday and took before martial arts class last night. It’s amazing the difference in my lung capacity after using it. I can fill my lungs with air!

The doctor suggested, of course, that I get rid of the cat. When I said that wasn’t an option he looked at me like I was speaking another language and said, “Why not?” I guess Mr Clever Doctor doesn’t have any pets. The next best option is to keep Andy out of my bedroom so that I’m not breathing in the dander when I sleep. Easier said than done, as my bedroom is the only place in the house that he feels safe. If something frightens him outside, or unfamiliar people come over, he rushes to my room so that he can quickly hide under the bed if necessary. He has his own little snuggly bed in there that he sleeps in all day when I’m not home. He likes to sit on the window sill and sniff out the window at night. And he really doesn’t do well with closed doors – no matter which door it is, he sits outside it and cries until he’s allowed through. I haven’t figured out a solution to the problem yet but I think part of it will be to get an air purifier for the house and if it’s not too noisy, run it in my room at night. Maybe I should pick up some ear plugs while I’m at it.

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5 Responses to Results

  1. Jeanie says:

    I’m glad you finally know what’s causing the problem, but I’m so sorry to hear it’s your beloved Andy! (And that sucks the doc was such a dumbass, but at least you got some answers.) Hopefully you’ll be able to find a workable solution – investing in a high quality hepa air filter sounds like a good idea, and maybe look in to allergy shots?

  2. Nicole says:

    I read the Vancouver Sun every day and one column is by a doctor. People often write in to ask about natural treatment and I’m really impressed with the responses he gives. It might be worth looking up on the Vancouver Sun website (sorry his name is escaping me). I know one time he talked about the benefits of Manuka Honey, and last week someone wrote in to ask about Allergy Shots in particular. He wrote that there hasn’t been conclusive evidence that the shots work, but that HEPA filters are a good idea. He also recommended trying hypnotherapy because there is evidence that a subconscious psychological ‘allergy’ response is often responsible. He also wrote that giving up dairy and cutting down on protein intake would suppress the allergic response, but there is no way I am giving up cheese or milk or ice cream or cutting my protein intake.

    I’m not sure I believe in hypo treatment for a physiological immune response – I react instantly to Tomasz’s cats (and the one who licks herself the most is the one I can’t be around more than Kiki who has a thinner coat and doesn’t clean herself obsessively) and I don’t really believe that the allergy is triggered by entering his house as opposed to inhaling cat dander… I don’t think being hypnotized would stop my incessant itchy eyes and runny nose from Hayfever in spring either.. maybe it would work if I believed in it??

    Anyways, I had commented before on HEPA filters being pricey but I looked them up recently for my own purposes on the London Drugs website and I guess I was wrong about them being super expensive. [link removed because it was fucking with my formatting – I checked it out, though. ~ e]

    Let me know if you get one and how well it works – I might get one for Tomasz’s house since I spend so of my time there frustrated with my allergy. Although I suppose you wouldn’t know how much of the improvement is due to the air filter as opposed to the inhaler…

  3. erin says:

    As soon as I have a day off, I’m headed to LD to get the HEPA filter. I’ll let you know how it goes. Who knows – I may feel a difference at home too.

    I also have doubts about hypnotism. I had the standard allergy test with all sorts of stuff blobbed on my arms and then the skin irritated to see which I would respond to. I thought it would be the saliva, not the dander, but my body told me differently. I don’t think my brain was making it up. As for giving up cheese and meat? Not bloody likely! 🙂

  4. Tracey says:

    Maybe he didn’t want to tell his name because he’s called Dr. Dickhead. Names so often reflect people’s personalities:)

  5. Rachel says:

    Wow, what an asshole!!

    I hope you get a HEPA filter and that things improve… I’m really glad to hear the inhaler is helping!

    And as for hypnotism, I’m no expert, but I do work for an immunologist, in an immunology lab, and I can tell you for sure that allergies and asthma and inflammation are REAL. Sure, there might be some psych component to things… but I’m willing to bet that that component is tiny compared to the actual physiological part. Then again, I guess there’s no harm in trying!

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