Dumb things Drs say

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me

Then why do I tend to remember the hurtful, insensitive comment so much clearer than the positive motivating ones? Why is forgiving and forgetting much easier to say than to put into practice? 

I expect a level of empathy, compassion and knowledge from other health professionals as I value these qualities in my own practice. My boss is continually reminding us to find the benefit in the situation.  I admit I can only reflectively do this at the best of times and often still feel charged and irritated about the moment.

Here are my top insensitive quotes*, I have ingrained in my memory, by health professionals:
*please note this is how I remember them. 

‘Maybe it's your faith making you sick’ – Anesthesiologist before going in for my thymectomy.

‘You will never get better unless you stop all your medication and follow my advice’ - GP when I refused to take unknown antibiotics

‘oooh, I have never had a patient like you before! How do you spell Myasthenia Gravis?’ - new GP

‘It's such a pity you are not in crisis, I have never seen that before’ - GP

‘Don't sit down, I don't want to take the risk of treating you’ – Dentist 

‘If you put your mind to it, your body will heal itself’ - Chiropractor

‘Having MG is not that bad, at least you’re not dying.’- Occupational Therapist 

‘Oops. I didn't realise that your MG would react to the prescription’ - GP after almost landing in ICU due to incorrect medication. Full history and a current prescription list were given in the initial consultation.

Just thinking about these moments makes my blood boil!

But was has it taught me?

- to be a bit more thick-skinned
- realise that most health professionals don't know much about MG and take the opportunity to spread awareness
- to check all my medications for side effects, even supplements
- to find a good treatment team I can trust
- to stand up for myself and my rights as a patient

I also have to appreciate the comments that I receive that are uplifting and positive and focus in these instead of letting the bad be reinforced. 

 ‘Let me know how you are doing, phone or email and I will get back to you’  - Dr Shamley, Neurologist, who fights my medical aid battles and always phones me back. 

‘Tell me about your experience with MG. You are an individual and I want to help your specific needs’ -  Dr. Bianca De Canha, Homeopath

‘Its not a quick fix, but we are willing to walk this road with you, no matter what you decide’ – Dr. Adam Sayers, Chiropractor 

‘ I will take the best care possible with you’ - Anaesthesiologist, before my wisdom tooth removal. Post op she even contacted me at home two days later to check I wasn't flaring

‘ Let's take it step by step, let me know how you are feeling so we can set your programme at the right level for you’ - Sandy Lord, Physiotherapist

‘Your going to be a great group therapist’ – Louise Fouché, Occupational Therapist 

‘You are who you are! Don't let anyone take your uniqueness away’- Tania Buys, Occupational Therapist

When rereading the above positive comments I can feel my anxiety drop, my breathing slow. It is so true what you focus on will determine your attitude.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I had a major depression awhile ago now... However I do remember comments said both heplful and empathetic and... those delivered with a lilt and tone that immediately send my self esteem spiralling. Ah... to be treated as a human being is the kindest thing Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you for such a motivating comment! It's all about perspective.

  2. I read through this blog thinking it might be useful, however am left feeling disappointed. As both a medical doctor and a person with MG, I can say with certainty that there is a fair amount of medical misinformation here. For example, the writer states that after consuming gluten she "flared" for 2 days, however gluten does not cause or exacerbate MG, and there is no scientific or body of anecdotal evidence showing that it worsens MG symptoms. That is just one of many trendy gluten myths floating around. A small number of people who have a different autoimmune disorder called celiac disease really cannot tolerate gluten at all, and an even smaller number have more unusual forms of gluten intolerance, but these disorders are completely separate from MG. Consuming gluten will not trigger MG symptoms. There are other medical mistakes in these pages as well. It also bothers me that the writer would not trust her primary doctor enough to take an "unknown antibiotic." Aren't all drugs "unknown" if you've never taken them before? How will you ever improve if you refuse all "unknown" drugs? And what is wrong with this picture in which the writer does not trust her own doctor? Finally, if you are going to pursue a career or hobby as a writer, you should at least understand the fundamentals of grammar, composition and spelling. If you don't have those skills, then please! Find a good editor!

    1. @DR Doo... FYI the definition of a blog:
      [blawg, blog]

      Examples Word Origin

      a website containing a writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.

      Emphasis on the OWN experience and Opinion.

    2. Dr. Doo Doo,

      I can say with an even greater amount of certainty, you are no physician. I bet you don't have MG either!

    3. Oh wow. Wow. What a horrible example of humanity you are. Thank GOD you are not my doctor.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog posts. I write about my personal experience not for scientific evidence. I do acknowlage that at times I am not the best writer, however I choose to write and express myself through the blog. If you do want to read the blog you have that right too.

  4. As someone with hypothyroidism is was told- by a Doctor- that there are no fat people in concentration camps this explaining why my weight wasn't dropping even on meds! Was said in jest but it broke my heart. Thanks for sharing your experiences!!!

    1. Excuse the typos please! Auto correct arg

    2. Thank you for your comment! Remember it's all about the perspective we choose. You are a fighter Cherise, keep true to yourself!


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