How some negligent doctors almost ruined my life

A normal life

It all started in march 2015. But let me first introduce, quickly, my pre-march-2015 self.

In 2015 I was 19years old, I just finished the high school and I've been working for almost two years. At that time I was working on a very stressful project, I dedicated my days to working in order to reach my goals. I was a very ambitious guy, I wanted to be successful in my field and to inspire new comers one day.

Everything was going just fine, I had a well paid job, my family was happy, me and my girlfriend used to go on trips at least 1–2 times per month, my closer friends were proud of me (they still are, I guess).

Then one day in march 2015, while at work, I felt something strange in my throat. It felt like I was choking.

“Distress” by Marianna Arneodo

Distress

I rushed to the hospital with the fear of stopping breathing at any moment. When the doctor visited me, I told him I felt something strange in my throat but he did not visit it and just told me that I had a panic attack. I din't even know what a panic attack was about.

Here it's a recipe for you, it's XANAX an anxiolytic, just take 15 drops in the morning & 15 extra whenever you feel like that, and you will be fine. — Said the doctor.

I trusted him without saying anything, I supposed he was right. So I started taking XANAX.

For a few days everything went just fine, then one day I had that feeling again but much stronger. I went to the hospital and again I told the doctor (a different one) that I felt something strange in my throat, the doctor told me:

Oh you have been at the hospital some days ago because you had a panic attack, let's just increase the dose. Take 15DROPS x 3 times (45 drops of XANAX) a day with regular interval.

Again they didn't check my throat even if I asked it.

This routine went on for 1month, I went to Hospitals and Doctors kept saying that I had nothing but panic attacks.

I left my job because I was not able to work anymore.

Then I was sent to a psychologist. He seemed not interested in what I had to say, at the end of the section he just said:

Dear, you are a little bit depress. It's better if you start taking also Zoloft 50mg (sertralina) and not only XANAX.

So I started taking Zoloft as well.

They asked me to do a lung capacity test, and after the test they said:

It seems like you have asthma, we have to be sure of this so you have to use Ventolin (and another bronchodilator, but I don't remember the name) for a 1 month then we will check again.
“Hysterical Bolus” — by Marianna Arneodo

So I started to take 2 news medicine.

The feeling of chocking at that point was there almost the whole day, moreover it was a very hot summer so whenever I went outside I felt ill. So I quitted going outside.

Then one day, while I was with my girlfriend, I felt that same feeling stronger than ever, and I started to hyperventilate. She called the ambulance. They took me to the hospital. And this time yes, it was a real panic attack.

I think that is the point when I started getting a little bit depressed. I was 20years old by then and I used to take 4 medicine per day, I used to stay home whole day. I stopped coding, I stopped reading. I stopped going outside with friends. I stopped going to the gym and doing sport. I stopped going on trips with my girlfriend because I was afraid to being ill while we were far away from the nearest hospital.

And you need to hit rock bottom before you can change

I didn't want to witness my life going in pieces without trying to do anything.

So I tried to get all the pieces togheter again and move forward.

Eventually I got hired by Caffeina as Platform Developer, I was so enthusiast. I literally loved Caffeina's vision & mission. I was so proud to be one of the team. It felt great.

Unfortunately I was not strong enough to fight my illness. 2 weeks later from my first day in Caffeina I was carried away on a stretcher from the office & then in ambulance till the hospital.

I had to stop working at Caffeina. It was a hard blow for me.

At the point I was depressed, I felt like I was not going to be "normal" again. That was not the life I wanted for me. I lost my job, I din't had a social life, and I felt useless.

The turning point

Several month passed since then. It was late September 2015, I had an nose operation and I was laying there in the hospital.

I was tired of feeling ill, I decided to fightback my illness.

I decided to stop going to public hospital, I lost faith in them since a long time by then, and I went to a private hospital and requested a laryngoscopy.

Guess what? I had gastroesophageal reflux. That was what made me feel bad all that time since day 1, the fault was my diet I just needed to correct my diet. I did it, my throat was magically fine.

Eventually me & 2 of my friends started to work as freelancer from home, delivering IT solutions because in that way I could work from home as I was not ready to start working regularly.

I wish I could just say "And that's the end" because it wasn't. By then I was already so scared of having panic attack or feeling chocking that I started to immagine to have that symptoms.

Eventually after changing many psychologist I've found my current psychiatrist. I started a psychotherapeutic process, it was December 2015.

What I liked about him it was that he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. This helped me to be more confident and expose everything I felt.

The one day while I was speaking, sat one in front of the other, he just laid his hand on my knee and said:

"It must be very Hard, I am sorry". — I never felt so understood, I started crying.

R.W. talking to M.D. in Good Will Hunting

Thanks to a long process of psychotherapy I finally managed to convince my self that I never had anything but a simple gastroesophageal reflux.

Looking backward I am stunned to how a negligence of some doctor almost ruined my life, I mean I am not a doctor but if the just had done a laryngoscopy the first time I went to hospital and told I felt like choking it all could have ended there.

What I learnt from this experience is that how much important it is not grant for true whatever somebody tells you just because they claim to be expert. But for sure the most important thing I learnt is to lose faith, to not stopping believing in yourself losing control on your life.

20 Months Later

It took me over almost 10months to find out that I just had to eat cleaner. And 6months to convince myself that I had nothing.

I've managed to scale down XANAX and remove it slowly, following the instruction of my psychotherapist. I found out I don't have asthma. I still take Sertralina, which is more difficult to scale down & to remove.

I started a new job as senior .NET developer working mainly on cloud platforms, the thing I started with my friends as freelancers eventually got some attention and now they are going to deal with some angel investors.

Everything seems to be fine again :)