"Practicing Medicine"

Like many of us, I pretty much figure my own insulin doses, I:C ratios, Correction factors, etc. I could have used an endo badly when I was trying to figure out my correct diagnosis, but one wasn't available so I figured it out with a lot of reading and talking on places like this. I'm not opposed to doctors or endos; if I had a problem come up and needed help, I'd seek one out. But I'm doing fine with my PCP just prescribing my insulin and other meds and he is fine with that as well.

What I realized today is how that attitude of "practicing medicine on myself" has generalized for me. I had a further push to think this way because I lived in Guatemala for two years where if you knew you needed a particular medication you could just go to the pharmacy and buy it without the need to see a doctor unless you wanted to.

So recently I was questioning the treatment of the arrythmia I've suffered with for many years. I've had all the cardio tests to make sure it isn't something more serious. When I last saw a cardiologist in Guatemala she prescribed 50 mg of Atenolol and said to return in a couple months and we might look at raising it to 100 if needed. Then I moved back to the states. My arrythmia has been bothering me more so I decided to go ahead and raise it just to 75. That didn't make it better so I talked to my PCP today when I was seeing him for other things. He told me that sometimes a medicine like Atenolol can actually make the arrythmia worse and explained the physiology of why. OOPS! So I was doing the exact wrong thing by increasing it! Of course rather than go to the cardiologist he recommends I am now considering slowly titrating it down and seeing if it improves!

So am I the only one who has in effect become their own physician, both with diabetes management and other things...and sometimes goes too far?