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Dare I Say It? - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Dare I Say It?
While at Urgent Care this morning, I had another strange experience with one of those people who plays the role of doctor without actually being a doctor. I know that nurse practitioners and the like are preferred by many because they tend to be more generous with their time and words. But I've found them to be lacking in the reasonably important area of medical knowledge. Today's non-doctor expressed bafflement when I told her my asthma was better during the humid times of year. "That's not possible. People with asthma do better in dry climates."

I protested that only some people with asthma do better in dry climates, while others, like me, do better in wetter climates. She wasn't buying it. Finally, I said, "Why do you think they use vaporizers and/or steam for people who are suffering from a bad cough. "I never thought of that," she replied.

Then she went on to argue with me that penicillin and amoxicillin aren't functionally equivalent for the treatment of strep. "You're getting penicillin. That's all we prescribe for strep." I told her I was pretty sure that the prescription would be for amoxicillin. "No, that's for something else. You're getting penicillin." Guess what I just brought home from Walgreen's: amoxicillin.

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Current Location: 85704
Mode: uncharitable

6 comments or Leave a comment
elf_owl From: elf_owl Date: June 28th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I have never been prescribed penicillin for strep, always amox.

I had a PA almost kill me once by not recognizing all of my text book symptoms of Lyme Disease.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm sure this one would have made the same misdiagnosis. She couldn't even read my chart. Amoxicillin and Penicillin are only slightly different, but you almost never see the latter in its original form in the States, because of the resistance that has been built up against it. Of course, Amoxicillin is headed down that same path.
From: ex_benlinus Date: June 29th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I chaulk it up to the pool of medical professionals in Tucson being asses. Me and Lisa have had a handful of experience with fucking morons in the last year. We were probably spoiled in Mass.

OH, and my asthma is way better during the summer than the winter. I've been able to smoke like a maniac for the last month and it hasn't affected me much at all.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 29th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Better breathing through smoking!
kumaraka From: kumaraka Date: June 29th, 2006 07:06 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Uhh yeah, this was me.

For my own part, I've had really good experiences with PAs. It amazes me how good they are considering that they have less school. You don't need to know a LOT of the crap they shove down our throats in med school, and as such you forget everything except the clinically relevant parts. Amoxicillin is a type of penicillin, but people also use the word penicillin to indicate a specific TYPE of penicillin. I know it sounds crazy, but that's where the confusion came from.

Amox is first line for strep, ALWAYS, so there's little excuse for her not knowing that actually.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 29th, 2006 07:36 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Uhh yeah, this was me.

Thanks for commenting! I know the antibiotic thing is confusing, but I wish she would have listened to me. That was the frustrating part, her conviction that I couldn't possibly know what I was talking about. I've had some positive experiences with PAs and Nurse Practitioners too, but only one since coming to Tucson. The educational system in this state is pretty low, so the non-doctors, who tend to be from around here, are more likely to have gaps than they would have in the Bay Area, where I used to live.

(And did I mention that strep hurts a lot more now than it did when I was a kid? Ouch.)
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