Hidradenitis Selina and The Tale of the Doctor that Probably Shouldn’t be a Doctor
It’s not a secret that I’ve had Hidradenitis for a long time, and over this period of time, I’ve compiled a doosey of stories about living with it and dealing with doctors (sometimes better known as “quacks,” if you will). One of my favorite things that tends to happen is when I meet a doctor that says that they know all about my condition, but then proceeds to demonstrate that they know absolutely nothing about it. This is a story about something like that. So gather ‘round, boys and girls, for this is the tale of when I tried to go on temporary disability and met a doctor that was an absolute quack.
Let us rewind to 2018, you know when 'God is a Woman' ruled the airwaves and Corona was just something you ordered with a lime wedge...
Beginning the disability paperwork
Hidradenitis put me out of work for a long time and to be honest, there were points when I thought I would never be able to move my arms ever again. I was stage-3 HS and my armpits had sinus tracts built underneath the skin. This means that all my armpit flares were connected underneath my skin, making it impossible to destroy them without surgery. Every movement was excruciating and I was out of work for months at a time. I needed some form of money coming in, so I looked to getting on temporary disability until I was fully healed and able to go back to work.
I started the disability paperwork and the questions asked about the condition I lived with and my everyday activities, job, and lifestyle. I sent the paperwork in and a few weeks later I got a letter in the mail saying that I would have to be seen and checked by one of New York State’s appointed doctors. The doctor’s office was in Queens (I live on Long Island) and I would have to schedule an appointment. Receiving this letter was pretty disheartening because it showed that Hidradenitis is not taken seriously and that my answers for the paperwork were not good enough, even though I mentioned needing multiple surgeries, not being able to move my arms at all, and how even just walking was becoming a problem because of the pain. It also is extremely inconvenient having to go all the way into Queens to be seen when I’m literally saying I can’t move. At this point, I wasn’t able to drive and my mother was going to have to miss work in order to take me to this appointment.
Meeting Dr. Quack
It is what it is, so I make the appointment and my mom drives me into Queens. The earliest appointment I could get was a few weeks after my third surgery, so I was still in pretty bad shape. I still had my stitches and I could barely move. The office building was in the most inconvenient location and my appointment was first thing in the morning so we had to try and get there during morning NYC rush hour. What fun!
So now for the real fun part; Meeting the quack-doctor. My mom and I were sitting in the exam room and the doctor walks in. She is chomping so loudly on gum, introduces herself, and says not to worry because she knows all about Hidradenitis. She then begins to ask me about what work I do. At this time, I was working at a toy warehouse and the majority of the job was lifting and packing up shipments of toys, an impossible job when you can’t move your arms or walk without pain. To prove what I had put on my disability paperwork, the doctor made me stand up, bend, and pretend I was doing certain activities involved with my job. She never looked at my wounds or really asked about the HS. When I said I was in a lot of pain and could barely move to do these actions since my stitches and wounds still hurt so bad, she was shocked I still had my stitches and said I would probably have to come back to be re-examined after the stitches come out. The reason I’m here is to prove that I can’t move and I am literally here showing you my wounds and that I can’t move... why would I have to come back to show you that again?
"A little chill pill"
She then asked me about what previous work I’ve done and if those jobs would be better suited for my Hidradenitis. I explained that I also worked at one point as a graphic artist, but that job really affected my anxiety and stress and I had such horrible flares because of it. Her advice? I “just need a little chill pill and should take a Zoloft.” That’s an exact quote, mind you. She also recommended that when I get stressed, I should go on YouTube and watch videos of puppies and babies because that’s what she does.
I can barely move and I am forced to go to an office nowhere near my house... for my Hidradenitis to be checked by a doctor... in order to prove that I can barely move... and instead... I am being told to “just take a little chill pill” and “watch videos of babies on YouTube.”
Excuse me, but what?! Oh, and the kicker? 2 weeks later, my disability paperwork got denied, but I was told I can try again if I want. HA HA HA HA HA.
So that, my friends, is The Tale of the Doctor that Probably Shouldn’t be a Doctor. That woman does not know anything about Hidradenitis or bedside manner for that matter. I hope you never have to deal with a quack like that and if you do... well just go watch puppy videos on YouTube and take a little chill pill (honestly, if I roll my eyes any harder they’ll get stuck that way forever and I already have enough to worry about with my lumpy armpits and such).
- Blueside by Rooney
- I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers
- Saturday Night Divas by Spice Girls
- Ultraviolet by the Stiff Dylans
- Sure Shot by Beastie Boys
- Judy You Hung the Moon by HARBOUR
How has your HS affected your relationships with friends and family?