When I first arrived in Germany I looked for a doctor who spoke English since my German was non existent at the time. I found one about a 20 min walk away from my work, but I wasn’t overly impressed with them. During my first appointment when I told them I had a chronic pain disorder, they advised me that I needed psychiatric help despite the fact it had been proven it was a neurological problem. They also didn’t want to give me the drugs that my specialist in Australia had prescribed but grudgingly relented. However, since I only really used them for refills of my drugs, this didn’t really bother me. Then my IBS started becoming extremely bad, so I went to them for help. They gave me an electrolyte solution, which is great for diarrhoea caused by viruses or infection, but useless for IBS which is a digestive disorder, and I got the distinct impression they didn’t want to deal with me and wanted me out of their clinic asap.
Therefore, I started a search for a new doctor. I picked one about a 5 minute walk from my work and then noticed on their site that they specialised in treating HIV patients. My amazing GP back in Australia also specialised in treating HIV patients and she knew her shit. I was hoping that this new doctor would be the same.
I went for my first appointment this morning and managed to do my whole appointment in German, except where I had to explain the neurological basis of my pain disorder because I didn’t have the vocab to describe how my brain set up a false pain loop in German. This was also the point where I found out that my doctor actually spoke English. Obviously my German wasn’t bad enough that he felt we better switch to English (Yay!). After hearing I have a pain disorder and IBS, my doctor took a moment to think and then said, ‘I think you might have a problem with your nervous system’ and I thought, ‘Oh my god, that makes so much sense, why hasn’t anyone else made this connection?’. Within 10 minutes he made arrangements for me to have a blood test and also do a stool collection (yuck!) and talked about doing some basic investigations before referring me to a specialist. I was over the moon. Finally a doctor in Germany who is taking me seriously and not treating me like I’m some hypochondriac. I love this guy! Also, he is thinking out of the box and looking at my two medical conditions together instead of as two separate things. I was beyond impressed.
I might have lucked out here, but I’m thinking that doctors that specialise in HIV really know their shit when it comes to treating conditions that are not simple or seen regularly. I’m going to make a wild recommendation and that is, if you have a non-common or hard to treat medical condition, find a doctor who treats HIV patients.