The Doctor will Devour You Now

photoI’ve established a kind of dรฉtente with seeing the doctor. That makes me one unusually fortunate human being, as far as I can tell. Let’s face it, doctors are stuck in the same unloved House of Horrors where we go with cringing reluctance to visit lawyers, last-ditch tech support professionals, tax collectors and disliked distant relations: the Office of Last Resort, so to speak, because we don’t go there unless we absolutely have to go there. Anyone I see mostly when I’m at death’s door is not bound to be my first choice as fun-time playmate.

The dread I used to feel when the mere word “doctor” was mentioned in my hearing, let alone when I had to visit one, was undoubtedly exacerbated by my larger than life anxiety issues, but I know I was far from alone in the general pool of enmity and avoidance. Amazingly, the cure came to me before I got successful treatment for the extremity of my anxiety. It turned out to be ridiculously simple: get the right doctor.

It turns out that despite all of the docs I’d seen in my younger years having had all of the requisite starry credentials and, in many cases, references that glowed like halos, they simply weren’t the right fit for me. Sounds so obvious, but if you’ve never had that good fit, you can’t really conceive of such a thing, so the miserable one you got stuck with is the unwillingly accepted norm. It was such a shocking revelation to me to discover that my new physician was at the opposite end of the spectrum from all of my previous ones that I didn’t quite realize what had hit me at first. What?? No distance, no intimidation, no obfuscating or condescension or inappropriate levity or inflexibility?

She may have started at an advantage, this new doctor, having been my then-fiance’s respected physician for some years already and with my being in good health when I saw her for my new-patient checkup. But she was so no-nonsense, calm and attentive to detail from the start that when the inevitable episodes of viral attack or other pains did come, a trip to her office promised comfort and healing rather than fear and further pain. What a concept!photo

It’s not like I suddenly began craving any excuse for a visit to the doctor’s office, but I can’t overstate the immensity of going from a state of perpetual terror and revulsion at the mere thought of such a visit to one where I could go in for a wellness check at regular intervals and even–stunningly–make the appointment for one when prompted and then forget about it until the appointed date appeared on the day’s agenda rather than spending all of the intervening days or weeks actually making myself sick enough with fear and worry to need a doctor.

Now, I also understand those for whom the nuisance factor of giving up precious time to do this is tipped to oblivion by the dislike of the visit. And I truly empathize with those for whom the expense of medical care is impossible or too daunting: I am, after all, resident in a Two Artist Household and live in a country where if one or both of us hadn’t the luxury of Real Jobs as educators rather than always going freelance, the whole concept of regular physician visits might have easily been moot anyway. I am certainly grateful that my life has allowed me to choose to go to the doctor when I’m not unusually near death’s door. If nothing else, I guess I sort of feel karmically compelled to take that step since it’s available to me when it’s not there for everyone. And as an instant payoff, I discovered that being a generally very healthy person not only is its own reward but getting a good report, a Clean Bill of Health, from a wellness visit to the doctor even feels as cheering as crossing something off of my famous To Do list as DONE. That’s my favorite benefit of wellness, I admit–the smug, snug satisfaction, however temporary, of feeling just that little increment closer to invincible.

Why, you ask, is all of this on my mind just now? Well, I wrote the majority of this post while sitting (extra time, of course) in my doctor’s waiting room for my annual wellness physical. I did get generally pleasing news and no particular scoldings for any of my known bad habits, and no obvious findings of internal systems gone awry or organs gone missing or anything like that. Far more significantly, it’s very much on my mind because my mother is in an operating room two thousand miles away having a second spinal fusion surgery to attempt to correct some of her scoliosis and the effects of spinal stenosis, laminar deterioration, bone density deficiency, medication interaction, and a whole host of other physical trials that have had us all simultaneously marveling at and agonizing over her fortitude through years of debilitation and pain and sending up innumerable wishes for healing and hopes for relief in every way we know how to do so. I’ve never met her team of surgeons, physiotherapists and other caregivers (besides Dad and my sisters and our other family and friends), but let me tell you, my gratitude at being able to go, quite healthy, and sit talking with my physician about ways to keep my own body healthy as long and as well as I can–my gratitude at having a fine doctor and being able to see him just to make sure I don’t need to see him more–is immeasurable.

I hope that tomorrow I can tell you that Mom’s future visits with her doctor will become simpler and less dread-worthy rather soon

39 thoughts on “The Doctor will Devour You Now

  1. The moment i started reading this, I thought to myself, she’s probably sitting in the waiting room…a good place to get a LOT of work done….here’s hoping yer momma’s surgery goes well….miss seeing your face!!!

    • We sure miss you two as well! Hope it won’t be too long until the next visit *somewhere* . . . .

      Meanwhile, good guess, mister. Yes, I was sitting around waiting for the doctor. But then we’ve all spent enough time in waiting rooms to get a certain familiarity of tone when the subject arises! I’m so glad Mom’s waiting for the surgical part has apparently gone well, and now begins the uphill trek to recover from that other form of battering. You know what a teeny shrimp she is–but she’s certainly stronger than most people could guess, to have gotten this far. Thanks for the good wishes!

  2. First, I’m glad you’ve found a physician and feel more comfortable in keeping and attending to your health as prevention is so very important. I do wish you mom a speedy, healthy recovery!

    • Thank you, my Spicy dear, it means so much to know how many people are rooting for Mom! So far, so good. And yes, I feel mighty lucky to have a really good doctor, the second in a row no less. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’d never thought of it that way… I’ve been on my doc’s good side for a number of years. My friend told me how she brings them treats every time. I do the same now and if I need an appointment in a hurry they always get me in:) I will pray for your mom to recovery and have less pain… is this from calcium deficiency? It seems so painful.. hugs to her and to you! xoxo Smidge

    • Don’t know how much is from calcium deficit and how much from other things. I’m not even sure whether her longtime Parkinson’s (runs in the family) is a contributing factor or at what level. All I do know is that she suffered from/through what many do: having the same team of medical ‘overseers’ for so long that they ceased to see anything new in her or that they could do for her, so we were very fortunate that she and Dad moved and needed new doctors, which in turn led to new diagnoses (much worse bone density than the previous team had seen, when they were reading her riddled bones as arthritically inflamed, not porous as sponges) and new prognoses (something worth attempting to halt and possibly even reverse with a combination of surgery and super-potent new meds. I realize it’s not a miracle cure, but frankly if it makes her feel like living again and not just giving up entirely, that’s as good as a miracle. So far so good! Thank you for the hugs. I know she’ll appreciate them as much as I do, my sweet!

  4. Wishing your mother a speedy recovery! Hope she feels better soon.
    Growing up in India, we were a bit spoiled because we had family doctors who also were/are family friends and make home visits when one is too sick to leave the room. So they are more ‘Uncles/Aunts’ than doctors who even stay for a cuppa after the patient has been treated and made comfortable.
    After moving here, it took a while to get used to the impersonal and hurried (quite akin to the rabbit’s ‘I am late, I am late’….for the next appointment) touch. Or maybe as you said, we just need to find a better doctor.

    • As I say, I’ve felt incredibly lucky to discover that there are some *non* White-Rabbits around still. Our last doctor even used to schedule us last on the work-day so we could stay and visit with her after-hours (once I missed getting my labs done for blood samples and had to come back the next day because we were having so much fun visiting that we stayed until the whole facility was closed for the day)–and this doctor doesn’t make any signs of getting up to leave until he’s asked me at least a couple of times, “Are there any more questions you wanted to ask me today? Anything else you wanted to have me check for you?”. So I think we are incredibly fortunate. The idea of home-visiting doctor Uncles/Aunts is a great gift indeed! And a much better way to practice real Wellness medicine, when it comes right down to it, no? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, my dear, the latest reports are good and encouraging. I would love for the time to race by until she’s recovered enough from the surgery itself to see just how much it’s ‘fixed’ for her too, but we must be patient. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m the opposite – I had wonderful doctors in my youth and young adulthood.
    And then I moved.
    17 years later, and I still don’t have a doctor that I connect with. Glad you finally found one – I’ll keep looking…
    Sending prayers your Mom’s way – hope everything went well.

    • I could recommend fabulous doctors here and in Washington, but so sorry I don’t know any up your way, Marie!! Thank you for keeping Mom in your prayers. So far it’s very positive and hopeful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I got lucky on the dentist front, both from having great teeth and great dentists throughout my years, but I do sympathize, if you feel even remotely about the medical-tooth-fairy the way I did about going to general-practitioner physicians!!! All I can say is the preventive visits beat the heck out of more extensive curative ones on both counts!!

  6. The pictures are stunning. I do hope your mother has good success with the procedure.

    The right doctor makes all the difference. Like you, I need to be close to death’s door before I will go see a doctor. What with the internet and all, I’m sure I can find my own cure – there’s got to be wikis for surgery, right? Sadly, the doctor I have now and that I like is moving. Now I must find a replacement for her.

    • Glad you like the photos; the pansy is one of my favorite floral shots I’ve taken, and it’s straight out of the parking lot racks at the local home improvement store! The others were photographed in actual gardens. ๐Ÿ™‚

      So sorry your doc is abandoning you. I *hate* having to doc-shop!!! We were incredibly lucky with this latest one, getting a referral from a friend who was a long-time patient of his even though he was already overbooked with patients and not taking any new ones. Fortunately too, he’s taken on a couple of new partners in the practice, so it’s beginning to ease his load a little as well, I think.

    • I did once get checked for a possible gallbladder problem a few years ago and none of the ultrasound technicians could actually *find* mine, so I can’t prove that none of my parts are missing so much as that nothing recently *sought* has been un-find-able. And I haven’t keeled over, which is more to the point. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Sending your Mom wishes for a speedy recovery and a future in which fewer doctors are involved.

    I’ve been fortunate to have found very good doctors and there were a few times when I really needed good doctors. Good to hear that you’ve found yours. Very good to hear. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, my dear–yes, oblique though your references are generally, I can tell that you know the real deal from a pseudo-competent doctor in a very personal way, and I am very glad for that too. Thanks for the well-wishes too. We’d all love for her to spend less of her quality time with doctors and more doing what she’d like to do (like, oh, walking and being relatively pain-free, and stuff like that), so here’s hoping! I’ll bet if I brought her some Pasta in Bianco . . . instant cure!!!

  8. So sorry for your Mom’s many pains, Kathryn! I can hardly imagine what living with pain daily would be like – so i try to notice and give thanks every day i feel none. May you be forever free of such things as that yourself. (off topic, but have to say, some very lovely photos here!)

    • I’m glad you like my flowers too. I’m a sucker for pretty flora–ahem, you may have noticed! And there’s something about the most old-fashioned, the simplest ones . . . .

      I’m as happy to be free from constant pain as anyone, maybe the more so for having seen what a horror it can be for those who do suffer it. I am *so* hoping Mom will find some true respite after this set of surgeries.

  9. I am going to stay far away from the doctor commentary – everyone else has handled that subject well – and instead, I am going to ooh and ahh over that last photo. The color is fabulous and I can almost feel the velvety softness of the petals. It is “shiny” in my book!

  10. Pingback: Death is Inevitable! « The Epigenetics Project Blog

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