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Lying to the Doctor

Do you do it?

Yeah, yeah... go ahead and tell me about how God doesn't want me to lie, how it's sinful and all that.


Ok, now answer the question. Do you ever find yourself lying to medical people? I do. And I'm not the only one with a lack of trust here.

I used to tell the truth. To everyone. When Nosy Ms. Medico asked about toilet training our children, I'd get detailed. Shots? Oh, sure, I'll tell you when and where they were given. Yup. Oh, my parenting practices? Let me tell you everything so that you can appropriately care for my family. Of course, you get all this information because I think you're on my side.

In the long run, this sort of honesty is unhelpful, and it's been used against me a time or two.

Why physicians have to be so petty as to ask how many OUNCES OF FLUID an 18-month-old child gets by bottle, and how many bottles a day... and then lectures me about how the child should magically be DONE with bottles by 12 months... well. I think we have other issues to worry about. Have you noticed three of my children are autistic? Hm. Have you referred me to any practical help whatsoever? No? But dang, if you're not good at lecturing me about crap I don't do so well at. Um, according to YOU. Think I'm going to tell you I have Spongebob on all day? Nope. I'll say we "limit" the TV, but leave out the "to no more than eight hours a day" part of the sentence. (Ok, not really. But tell me I "shouldn't" do something... and watch what I go do. IF I feeeeel like it.)

Thankfully, we got kicked out of that last practice. Either for being a smart-a$$ one too many times, or for refusing certain immunizations. I think the latter, as the physician gets bonuses from MY insurance company for good rates. Well, anyway. I was very upset at the time, but now we have a decent guy I feel I can be pretty upfront with. He doesn't ask me about seat belts and bottles, I assume because he figures I have a little bit of common sense in my head and lets me be the parent. You know what? That helps ME let HIM be the doctor. I don't find myself questioning his good judgment so much when I feel my opinions are respected.

Perhaps it's just me, but generally, the questions physicians and nurses ask are becoming more intrusive. Bad enough you have to tell the ER triage nurse when your last BM and "cycle" was when you've just busted your toe and think this has nothing to do with anything. But when, "And do you feel safe at home?" is a standard question, I have to wonder if it isn't time to just lie or make up some stupid answer.

I usually tell them NO, I don't. I have a lot of stairs and I'm always falling on them. That's why I'm here!!

"Oh, no, that's not what we mean... we mean whether you're getting abused by your 'domestic partner'," the nurse tells me. ("Domestic partner???" Oh, good grief. I'm laughing through the paaaain...)

"And that's relevant to my busted finger... how?"

"We just want to be sure you're safe at home -"

"Well, just write me down as a belligerent 'refused to answer' patient because this is total crap that has nothing to do with anything, and you're wasting my time."

"Ma'am, we're trying to help you here, so don't speak to us like that..."

*sigh* "Ok, whatever... (notice no "sorry"? I'm rude that way) I'm totally and absolutely safe and everything is all hearts and flowers at home, but if I WERE getting throttled, I sure wouldn't tell you right here, now, would I? How often do you get confessions like that here where everyone in the waiting room hears everything?? Like, as if."

"I can't tell you that because of HIPAA..."

"It's 'none,' isn't it? I thought so," I snort. (Would you like me as a patient? LOL) "You going to ask me about secondhand smoke in my house now?"

"Not for awhile. That's further down on the form..." First she has to ask me about my drug history, and my parents', and my cousins' medical conditions...

Eventually, after enough dumb visits like this, I get to the point where I lie or give a pat answer. NOBODY has any medical conditions in my family. That form I filled out 10 years ago about Aunt Sadie having corns on her feet and a heart murmur? Oh, I was mistaken about Aunt Sadie. Yes, I feel safe at home.

Yes, the children are all up to date on their immunizations. (Hey, if I'm not getting any, that's up-to-date, right??) Yes, we wear our seat belts always. Yes, we wear helmets always. Yes, I'm sure our helmets conform to REVPER standards or whatever insane stupid question is asked. Yes, my children eat a well-balanced diet of acorns and carrot sticks. No, they never watch TV.

And thanks so much for asking! I hope that information was helpful to you...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Deleted previous comment for typos.

    That is so funny. I feel the same way and my kids get immunizations. Last week we took our 12 mos old to the doctor for his asthma/cold. We had to see the new partner who I saw a few months back for a prescription refill. I warned DH that she would have a lot to say about our weight. This woman not only talks too much in general, but thinks fat people are fat because they are stupid and don't know that they are eating too much or eating things that aren't healthy. She has no problem calling you fat and telling you her life story and how that all adds up to her being skinny. It's really offensive and weird. So--I just lie to her. It's easier on everybody.

    Early childhood is usually monitored here by a public health group that organizes free shots, play groups, nutrition help, and a visiting nurse who will come to your home to "encourage" you. Thanks to DH we didn't join (believe it or not its not mandatory even in our socialist country). I would lose my head if I had to listen to someone else tell me how to feed my kids, what to feed them, or that my house wasn't clean enough. We have already gone through all of this here because our 22 mos needed Pediasure (you know stuff you buy at the grocery store in the USA). It is controlled by the pharmacist here and I spent 30 minutes one day arguing with a young woman over what I feed my child. Probably because I am fat and have no concept of good nutrition--she thinks. Never mind the fact this child was born with very severe reflux that has required medication from week 3 or that she has horrible constipation and has to take medicine for that too. She's a bit of a picky eater, but that doesn't keep me from trying everything. And even though we are fat I don't feed her cheetos and chocolate milk all day long.

    Anyway--way too long a comment--but I totally understand. It is easier to trust a doctor who doesn't question your parenting or treat you like an idiot. I'll be rude right along with you!!!

    PS--my 22 mos old still has 2 bottles a day. She likes the cuddles and that's perfectly fine with me! I told DH if I were breastfeeding I would have done it until she was 2 so we still have a few months left. She drinks her juice from a sippy cup.

  3. They really ask you all that crap in front of everyone in the waiting room? That is nuts, In NY at least in my experience they take you in a separate room and ask you stuff that stuff..

    I worked for a Doctors office, sometimes they and the nurses think they are better then the rest of the population..

    we are all idiots compared to them. at least most of them, there are some good doctors out there!

  4. I hate to say it but your system sucks. No~one gets asked all that junk out here ~ though some of the questions on forms are just as insane. What's with that?

    Yes, I lie. Lots & lots. No~one's business but mine & if you insist you get *parent behaving badly*. I'm like that. I'm as sweet as until you start laying down the law & bullying me then I turn into a solid block of rock & mean as hades.

  5. I certainly understand your frustration and I certainly share it. Who are doctors that they are expected to have access to private information that is none of their business. Oh and they get paid to violate that privacy! I do try not to lie, but I certainly do not offer information they do not need. I don't have your boldness but there are times when I wish I did!! We are a consumer seeking medical attention and we should be able to answer only those questions we wish too. Yes, there are times they are relevant. What medications you are on can help with a diagnosis or treatment, but the first time I read the seat belt question, I was like...are you kidding me???? We won't even go into the immunizations...don't get me started there!

  6. I had to laugh, Amy didn't even take a bottle until she was 14 months old and I was night weaning her! Saved my sanity though.

    And yeah, ugh. The 'do you feel safe at home' question bugs me. Lots. If I didn't feel safe, do you think I'd be admitting it to you? Sigh.

  7. I'll say it again. You crack me up!
    I haven't really been in the medical system over there since moving over here so long ago, and not at all really since having kids. I can't believe the nerve! We don't get that here in Japan at all. We have that wonderful socialized medicine. The nurses here don't have time to ask that many pesky questions!

  8. Mrs. C, has anyone ever told you that you remind them of the mom character in Malcom in the Middle? Don't get mad. She was sassy and she was the best, I think she won an Emmy.

  9. Amen.... I agree. I always give pat answers also. Another thing, I will only be giving them certain vaccinations AFTER the age of two. So Ashley does not have any yet. Yes, I'm given a hard time BUT oh well.

  10. We haven't gone to the doctor much, so I haven't experienced this kind of thing yet. And, I kind of doubt if they're ever going to ask if I feel safe at home...


  11. ((Bonnie)) I hadn't stopped to think about how much flak I get at the dr. for being fat. Hm, I thought they were like that to everyone equally LOL!

    Shelly, I don't know if I'd be MORE scared if they pulled me off into another room... they did that to G after he fell at school... I had a NOTE FROM THE SCHOOL stating injury happened there in PE class, but they still dragged him off to interrogate him. What was I going to do? Leave his head injury untreated!??

    Ganeida, I'm comforted to know that even NICE Christian ladies can get mean sometimes.

    Lori, I'm going to have to poke around your blog soon and see you "get started." I sure welcome other points of view. You know, I usually let the doctor be the doctor, but I've come to distrust the specialists who have a brand-name answer for everything.

    And yet, sometimes, you HAVE to see a specialist. Tough to do when there are few specialists of a given type and you don't get along well with what you have. What little I've read on your blog makes me *imagine* at some point you must have BTDT. :]

    Veronica... ((((hugs)))) been thinking of you and Isaac all day today. Will keep updated in my reader. "Prayers" sounds so inadequate, but you have 'em.

    Sue, I'm not sure how you managed to stay out of the system... LOL or I am accident-prone.

    Catherine, haven't seen it so I must assume the character is elegant, beautiful, and well-refined.


    Virginia, my attitude exactly. Except I try so hard not to let on... and fail LOL.

    Oh, Luke, just WAIT until you bring your children home. It becomes *personal* then in a wholllle new way. If you think you're a homeschool defender now, I would love to see what you'll say when someone snidely remarks that Eduardo's "speech delay" could be better helped in public ed.

    (Just a general quip; have no clue if Eduardo has a speech delay LOL! No anger pleeeease!)

  12. ROFLMBO! Been there done that but not with all those questions. I've changed doctors because the first one and his nurses couldn't seem to read a file. I got the third degree on why my three year old is still drinking a bottle. Wellll, let's see. He has a feeding issue among other things like his autistic brother. The doctor is the one who said to keep him on formula or pediasure to make sure he was getting on the vitamins/nutrients since he'll only eat baby food bananas. Every time the boy is sick and I have to call the doctor or go in we get the same crap. A millon questions and the "you know, he really should have been taken off formula when he turned one". No really???? I thought I'd just keep throwing my husbands hard earned money out the window every week because, hey it's a lot of fun to have to go without some things so your kid can be on something he should have been taken off two years ago. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.

  13. Just to clarify, I was in the US medical system a lot before moving to Japan -- having arthritis as a child made it necessary. I don't remember encountering anything like what you described back then, but I have lived in Japan since I was 23. So, either I was too young to get interrogated in that way (being unmarried and without kids), or things have gotten a lot worse in the past 15 years. I would guess the latter is true. That's what I was trying to say to begin with. Whew!


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