This is the thread to gripe about a spouse who won't go to the doctor

Spinning off from this week’s MMP, by request.

In my case, it’s my husband who eschews doctors. He’s 72 years old and he hasn’t seen a doctor in years. His reason: doctors are quacks who don’t know anything. The real reason: a doctor would spot in a second that he’s an alcoholic and tell him to stop drinking. And to get that suspicious large sore on his head biopsied. And to get that obvious umbilical hernia fixed. And to lose weight.

He had gout a year or two ago and it was horrific. His big toe joint was swollen and red and it was excruciating. Eventually it went away, but it returned with a vengeance the day before yesterday. At first he pretended it was an injury, but now he can’t hide the fact that the gout has returned.

He’s upstairs bedridden at the moment, because he can’t even touch his foot to the floor. I went out this morning to buy him Aleve and a cane, but he couldn’t balance well enough to use the cane. I then went out and rented a knee scooter so he can get from bed to bathroom, and that’s working.

The probable reason for his gout is that he downs at least a half pint and frequently a whole pint of bourbon every day. On the list of things that trigger gout is alcohol, in particular, alcohol from grains like whiskey and beer. I have no hopes of his giving up alcohol, even if it cripples him.

And he absolutely refuses to go and see a doctor.

Sorry for doing spousal ranting on the board, but it’s so damned frustrating to see someone do this to themselves.

Alcoholics are examples of self will run riot. I surely was like that before sobering up. Have you tried Al-anon? It saved my wife’s sanity and now we both enjoy our lives.

I’m someone who is often reluctant to go to the doctor. It’s not that I think doctors are quacks, but most of the time I’ve been to the clinic it has been a waste of time. I’ve had chest congestion that they prescribed a nasal spray for (the congestion wasn’t in my nasal passages and the spray did nothing). I once had a persistent sore throat (which lasted a month) and they just basically shrugged and said it would go away. (I wanted to test for strep throat, it was really painful, but they didn’t want to run any tests.) Essentially, I got the impression from doctors themselves that I shouldn’t waste their time on minor issues, and so I don’t.

But if something like that happened to me, where I couldn’t even touch my foot to the floor, that would absolutely get me to the doctor.

The issue has got to be the alcoholism. I can only imagine that if you are ruled by an addiction, you will protect whatever you’re addicted to, and as you said that means avoiding doctors when your addiction is causing serious medical issues. It’s sad and I feel for both you and your husband.

My husband is 60 and diabetic. He has not been in for a physical in at least two years, even with a couple of foot injuries in that time. Yes, said injuries did heal, but STILL… OK, he does have regular phone visits with a pharmacy doctor who’s monitoring the diabetes-related issues, but has not bothered with in-person medical care since his broken leg healed.

Bonus points for horrific snoring that’s causing ME health problems due to sleep deprivation. Earplugs are not a good answer if I need to be sure of hearing my alarm in the morning. I’m frankly worried if he’s going to suffer neurological problems soon from insufficient oxygen due to airflow issues. He’s firmly convinced that the only answer is surgical. I can understand being reluctant to take that big a jump, but dammit, I’m SURE there are less drastic things that would help!

Why are otherwise intelligent males who understand the need for maintenance on cars so reluctant to apply the concept of preventive maintenance to their bodies?

So that would be me. Oh I go to the doctor.

But my wife is concerned about how loud I SNEEZE!!!. When I sneeze it scares the wildlife, it’s not this little achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo. Those, frankly, seem fake to me.

Wife want’s me to go to an ENT.

I’ll think about going to an ENT, but it’s just the way I am with sneezing.

I’ve looked into it, but there’s only one place that it meets in my podunk town, and that’s in the basement of an extremely proselytize-y chuch, so I’m not interested. On my own I’ve learned that I can’t cure it and to detach from the situation.

I totally see his point here. Why go to someone and pay them to tell you to do something that you don’t want to do, indeed will not do?

I’m totally cool with a doctor pointing out the negative impact alcohol may have on me, but a doctor who “tells me to stop drinking” can go to hell.

I have gout. I’ve had two flare ups during the past 6 years, despite the fact that I drink lots of beer and eat a diet high in purines. I drink a huge amount of water. For me, this diuresis keeps gout at bay. I take no gout medication and I don’t avoid beer, mussels, red meat, anchovies, etc. But, I drink water constantly throughout the day.

Heh. My gf would never allow me to stay off my gout inflamed foot. We both know I’m responsible for my own health and choose to ignore it. I have to go to the store, work, run errands, etc and I do, even if I’m shaking with pain.

My wife kills birds on the fly with her sneezes. And she’s a serial sneezer, with strings going up to at least ten. It’s deafening. I don’t think she needs a doctor for it, though. She does need to see a doc about her sciatica and her knees, but would rather just natter at me about my joint issues.

I understand your hesitancy, but know that the church doesn’t run the group, it just provides space for it. My wife’s meeting occurs in a Unitarian church and is quite non-religious (but then so are the Unitarians). So you could just check it out once, see if it fits your needs or not

Been there my friend. But is was a big toe. Like you, I enjoy my beer. My Doc recommended Allopurinol pills

Life changer for me. Haven’t had a twinge of gout since. For those that don’t know, gout is like grinding up some glass and putting it in a joint.

I used to frame houses, and did plenty of stupid stuff as a kid. None of those injuries compares to gout. Not even close.

Mrs. Cheesesteak has met exactly 2 doctors she likes, her OB/GYN who she only saw during pregnancy, and her dentist. All other doctors are either useless or actively harmful. It’s frustrating because it isn’t as though she is hale and hearty, she is beset by a variety of problems which occasionally incapacitate her. Whether it’s her Vagus nerve, or her digestion, or her knee, now it’s eczema flaring up painfully. Doctors tend to comment first and foremost on her weight, and she feels judged and unheard when they don’t believe that her diet is actually not filled with doritos and McD’s.

I am thankful, though, that she has agreed to an online consultation with a dermatologist who has prescribed a pricey non-steroidal cream. Yes, I had to basically do everything myself, but she seems keen on trying the treatment instead of deciding to fix her eczema through lifestyle changes.

Similar to me, except that I don’t think going to the doctor has ever been a waste of time and I certainly don’t think they’re quacks, but I just have a strong aversion to having medical care inflicted on me so I avoid it whenever possible and for as long as possible. Ironically I have an appointment in an hour with a cardiologist, but I’m fine with that because it’s just a routine how-ya-doin’ sort of visit. If he has any tricks up his sleeve, like the time he tried to send me for a nuclear stress test, I’m ready for it and will refuse. OK, I’m being a bit glib here. More precisely, I will exercise my right to informed consent and agree only if there is potential for a meaningful outcome. If the only two possible outcomes are “you’re fine” or “you need triple-bypass open-heart surgery”, neither of those are useful because both will result in the same (non)-action.

Understand why you wouldn’t want to go there. It’s seems like in this post-Covid of Zoom there must be a virtual support group you could get support from.

Any Dopers out there who know of any virtual Al-Anon type resources?

Al-Anon Electronic Meetings
Plenty of different options there.

I think the first step for snoring is more likely to be a sleep apnea test, and possibly a CPAP machine, rather than surgery. Would he be at all willing to see if that could help?

Since I can’t even get him in for a basic checkup, and he hates having something on his face (masks are a major discomfort for him), could be iffy.

Seconding @Qadgop_the_Mercotan, give al-anon a try. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a church. NO proselytizing will go on. I went to al-anon for a few months when I was involved with an active alcoholic boyfriend. At first I was afraid to go, because I thought I’d hear my future coming at me. Or people would tell me to dump him. But no one there talked about the alcoholic in their lives. They talked about themselves and how they were taking care of themselves and not letting the alcoholic live in their heads. It’s all about detachment. The alcoholic is gonna drink (or not) and there’s nothing you can do about it one way or the other. You have to take care of yourself so you will survive. THAT’S what al-anon is all about. Taking care of you.

The one thing I remember most about those meetings is that even though I never said one word out loud, the whole time I was sitting there, I felt buoyed up on an ocean of love. Don’t ask me how. But it was in the room and it was palpable.

Abandon all of your preconceived notions about the meetings. Go to three meetings, don’t say a word, arrive late and leave early and then decide if it has something for you.

My father has had several gout attacks, and says this old painting is very accurate.

And there’s also this. I know it’s not Photoshopped because I drove by that billboard many times when I lived in that town.

Well, followup from my above-noted visit to the cardiologist, which perfectly illustrates why I have the avoidance attitude I do. I thought I was fully prepared to avoid having medical care inflicted on me, and was comfortable with this just being a casual how-ya-doin’ visit. But the doctor was clever and too quick for me. Before I knew it he had tricked me into agreeing to an ultrasound appointment, and then on the way out I found out I had been secretly booked for another night with a halter monitor, and also a visit to a vampire, allegedly for a blood test.

Why do doctors do this? My theory is, because they can, and some of them are probably sadists. If they could stick pins in you and repeatedly bonk you over the head with a rubber mallet, they’d do that, too. I’m convinced they learn all this in medical school. :wink:

ETA: In all seriousness, several years ago when I was in hospital this cardiologist saved my life. Still, I object to their extreme need for data gathering.

Grizzled old night nurse here. He sounds like he is only attached to keeping you alive after he saved your life. None of that is extreme data gathering, it is actually quite restrained.

It’s a Holter monitor BTW. Kind of confusing since you sort of have a halter to wear one. I just did 48 hour one this summer~man, was I glad to turn that annoying contraption back in!

I’m sorry you are going through this, Teela.

Please do check out Al-Anon.

Thelma Lou has first hand experience and you really need something that is all about you.

and no reason to ONLY try the one in town, try a virtual group, too. with the internet, there ought to be a lot of options and worth checking out.

he won’t help himself; you need to help yourself.

:hugs: < wtf, this place needs a group hug emoji