Not all allergists get it

Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2002 - 3:30am
Anna's picture
Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

pIn Jane R. Brody's recent article 'Dodging Peanuts: To Some, a Lifelong Challenge', she writes:/p
p"Should any such symptoms develop after consuming peanuts, or any food, thebr /
patient should be evaluated by a board-certified allergist who is an expertbr /
in food allergy. An allergist who deals primarily with asthma and allergic rhinitis may not be well enough informed."/p
pAmen to that! I'm sure many of us have encountered 'certified' allergists who say and do things to make you wonder whether they have a clue about food allergy and the way it impacts one's life in the real world./p
pExamples. The allergist who:/p
p- insists on a skin scratch test for peanuts when you've already told him or her that you are anaphylactic. This means that you are in the position of telling the allergist that you don't want to risk exposure. Strange role reversal. /p
p- Prescribes a medication that contains an ingredient to which you are allergic, and when your condition worsens, he or she is puzzled, but clearly hasn't bothered to check out the obvious./p
p- Doesn't discuss emergency plans with you, but simply says "Get to a hospital if you have a problem". You don't say! [img][/img]/p
p- Tells you that it's highly unlikely for adults to develop new allergies, and doesn't believe your reported symptoms (that is, until he sees the test results)./p
p- Doesn't seem to understand the dangers of cross-contamination in foods./p
p- Doesn't prescribe Epipens!/p
pAny other experiences out there? As you might have guessed, I've had all of the above happen to me in my experiences with allergists. Caveat doctor! [img][/img]/p
p[This message has been edited by Anna (edited May 20, 2002).]/p

Posted on: Tue, 06/04/2002 - 5:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Time to vent [img][/img])
How about this comment "How do you expect to get better with that attitude?" This was in response to my stating that I had to learn to live with these allergies or die from them.
"I've never actually seen you have a reaction" I offered the name and address of dr. who treated my in ER, but he wouldn't take it.
Skin test showed no reaction to anything. "See, I told you you don't have allergies" Gee doc, what about the histamine? Didn't you do a histamine test? "How do you know about that" Gee doc, is that a yes or a no? "Of course I did" Gee doc, it's not reacting either, what does that mean? "It doesn't mean anything" Gee doc, then why'd you do it? "...." Gee doc, bye.
I'm still looking for a good food allergy doctor. My gp is treating me now, but since things are getting bad again, I guess I have to start seriously looking.
Just one question -- anyone else suffering allergic reactions cuz they have such a bad attitude. LOL
Thought I better add the reason test was negative. The day before I had a bad reaction and took antihistamine. When I went to the allergist I told him, but he said it didn't matter. I didn't agree, but, he's the doctor....
[This message has been edited by AnnaMarie (edited June 04, 2002).]

Posted on: Tue, 06/04/2002 - 3:47pm
Anna's picture
Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

Hi, AnnaMarie.
Gee, it sounds as if we've seen the same doctor. [img][/img] (and grrrrrr!)
You wrote:
" "I've never actually seen you have a reaction" I offered the name and address of dr. who treated my in ER, but he wouldn't take it. "
Wow! I've had two allergists say the same types of things to me in the past. Most recently, despite my clear reports of my asthma and anaphylaxis, one of them said "Well, *I* don't *know* that you have asthma." This was a new doctor. Like you, I offered to have highlights from my telephone-book sized chart sent to him, but he didn't seem to want them. What he did appear to want were the billings from referring me for a needless methacholine challenge test which would have required me to be off of my inhalers far too long for my comfort, and would have definitely led to a positive result and an artificially induced asthma attack. NO THANKS! Short story: I never returned to this doctor. Unfortunately, this is too common. Many doctors simply do not believe their own patients. In what other profession is this allowed to happen? If another type of consultant were to regularly challenge his or her clients and doubt their awareness and intelligence, would they have a business left? Only in medicine!
What a stupid doctor you saw! Thanks for venting. If not here, where? [img][/img]
You also wrote:
"Just one question -- anyone else suffering allergic reactions cuz they have such a bad attitude. LOL"
But haven't you *heard* that these allergies are all in our *minds*? We create our own reality, after all. We simply *must* think positive and it will all go away. Oh, and if we only loosened up a little, maybe we'd magically improve. Let's see how many other blame-the-victim cliches I can come up with. (Insert disgusted sigh here.) [img][/img]
Sometimes it just helps to vent at the sheer idiocy of others, especially those who are in a position of knowing better due to training, but don't due to innate brain deficiency. [img][/img]
[This message has been edited by Anna (edited June 05, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 06/05/2002 - 12:06am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Anna, what are you doing up in the middle of the night???
Anyway, the funny part is when I see a doctor as a *mom* I am constantly told, "you know your child better than anyone else, trust your instincts". I don't understand why this is different when I'm the patient. I know my body best. I know before a reaction actually starts that one is coming.
When I first started having allergic reactions we could find no pattern and it was labeled idiopathic (I think). It meant reactions but not actually allergies, something to do with body chemistry changing, and it would change back. THAT doctor (and I use the term lightly) stuck to that theory. I asked how long before my chemistry would change again since he was so sure it would. He said 4 years. I pointed out it had been over eight years, shouldn't we look for another answer? Apparently, answers were to hard to find. (sigh)

Posted on: Wed, 06/05/2002 - 5:05am
Anna's picture
Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

Hi, AnnaMarie.
Funny you should ask about why I was up so late. I often have throat swelling from my minor-moderate allergies at supper (if I didn't eat them, I'd starve, as I have IgE reactivity to many foods), and it usually subsides after a few hours and sometimes an antihistamine. I don't go to sleep until I feel confident that the swelling isn't going to progress and has subsided.
What you've written about instinct is right on, IMHO! I don't think that intuition about our own bodies is appreciated by doctors. I know several people (including myself) who have saved their own lives by insisting on investigations by doctors. In my experience, physicians usually determine what tests to run by assessing the patient's age/risk factors and statistics on prevalence of various disorders. If it's rare or uncommon, good luck on obtaining the proper diagnosis. That could take several years, if it ever comes. However, having an exceptionally talented and perceptive doctor can make the difference between life and death in certain cases. No exaggeration.
One thing that *may* compensate for poor medical care is to insist, insist, insist, and if ignored, write letters detailing symptoms and dates. That's what I did wrt a non-allergy diagnosis made last year, which could have killed me had it gone undiagnosed for much longer. My GP dismissed my symptoms for two years. Finally, I dragged myself into her office and begged her for a referral to a specialist. The specialist took one look at the blood test results and immediately leaped into action, bless him! My GP didn't actually apologize, but she did commend me for having the good sense to be persistent with her and admitted that she had never before seen the disease I had, and that this was why she had thought it was "just fatigue." She was "glad" I "insisted". After the fact, of course.
Anyway, to make an obviously long story short, I will never ignore my health-related intuition again. I somehow knew something was very wrong, and something WAS, over and above the allergies. Women are often trained to be docile, and doctors often dismiss women's symptoms or mislabel them as stress related. Studies have shown that heart attacks (for example) in women are not spotted as often or as well as they are in men, and the delay can affect the prognosis.
The good news is that we can be assertive on behalf of ourselves and our children. [img][/img]
[This message has been edited by Anna (edited June 05, 2002).]

Posted on: Fri, 07/26/2002 - 3:04pm
fuzzyfurball's picture
Joined: 06/27/2002 - 09:00

Actually, I haven't had any problems with my now allergist, whom I've had for over 10 years. THe woman i had before was an idiot-more b/c of her office hours than anything. But, I can relate to some of the idiocy I've read on this thread.
About 4 or 5 years ago, I needed to refill my Proventil-I was totally out and somehow I needed it quickly. I got a little trouble from the pharmacy, but eventually they gave me the refill. They guy says to me, "Next time you have an emergency, don't wait until the last minute." Well, I don't know about many of you, but I don't usually PLAN emergencies! I thought that was the stupidest thing I ever heard.
Another time I was having a reaction and went to the ER. THe woman was talking and talking to me about my forms and insurance infor. Finally my now ex said to her (after I said it at least 2x.: THe woman is having an ALLERGIC REACTION; I'll deal with it-get her a dr. Now , how stupid can she be?

Posted on: Thu, 08/08/2002 - 3:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hmm! If only we all had the sense to pre-plan our emergencies.
My sister's doctor didn't want to give her an epi-pen. She has never had anaphylaxis, but her reactions are getting worse, and she has had swelling near her mouth. When she finally fought it out with the dr. she was given a prescription and told to leave it with the pharmacist. Then, fill it if she needed it. I asked her what was faster, the pharmacy or the hospital. She decided to just fill the prescription and now carries it around. Hopefully she never needs it, but better safe than sorry.
I'm glad to hear there are some good allergists though.
[This message has been edited by AnnaMarie (edited August 08, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/04/2002 - 3:17am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

DD's allergist suddenly passed away and I had my first conversation with the partner who is taking over his patients yesterday. I didn't like him. He kept taking about "my son" (with her file in front of him????) and kept saying stuff like - since I haven't seen HIM I can't answer that question. The doc supposedly had the RAST results front of him, but didn't "know" anything. He had ordered a new RAST and told me to make an appointment for after that. I will redo the RAST as the deceased allergist was having us do one every 2 years, and meanwhile shop around for someone new.

Posted on: Thu, 10/10/2002 - 1:14pm
KarenH's picture
Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

My allergist told me that a positive on the skin prick test to Tree Nuts meant I could have an anaphylactic reaction if exposed. Then when I do test positive, he says "Oh don't be too paranoid, it's highly unlikely anyhow." So what is THAT supposed to mean?

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