Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Medical attention is for other people

I loathe going to the doctor. I am not sure if it is because it takes time out of my day or if it is because it is admitting defeat. If I go to the doctor then I am acknowledging that yes, there is a problem here and my preferred method of treatment - willing myself to heal, hasn't been successful.

If my children are injured or ill I am immediately on the phone to their doctor and call up a specialist at the drop of the hat. If my husband has a medical problem I nag him until he takes care of it. If I have a problem it will be months and months before I pick up the phone.

I have made an appointment to go see a physical therapy hand specialist next week. The part that is problematic is how long I have been injured. The actual injury happened in August. Almost six months ago. Six months I have been living with a bum hand. My right hand. The injury is in my palm, and when it first happened I couldn't twist things, like door knobs, or open jars of Advil. Now it is only a problem for things like push-ups, or making a pincher motion with my thumb and forefinger, like when you do a shadow puppet show. As you can imagine, this has adversely impacted my quality of life.

To make matters worse, I saw my orthopedic in early December and he referred me to physical therapy twice a week for four weeks. I never went. So now I must call his office and grovel for a new prescription and acknowledge that I didn't follow his orders.

This is the same orthopedic I saw last spring when I had terrible pain in my neck and shoulder. He suspected a problem with the disc in my neck, advised me not to run for six weeks and sent me to PT. That time I went to PT right away, and felt so good I started running again the next week. As luck would have it, I ran right past my orthopedic on the running path, going the other direction. Whoops. I am fairly certain that he is very close to firing me as a patient.

This problem with seeking medical attention is not limited to issues of a muscular or skeletal nature. I have endured a sore throat that hurt so badly I felt like I swallowed broken glass. After two days of not being able to swallow I finally broke down and went to the doctor who told me I had a horrible case of strep throat. This has happened on two separate occasions. Clearly I don't learn.

I am not a martyr, and I am not afraid of doctors. I am simply a person who can't stand the idea of sitting forever in a waiting room, then sitting forever in an exam room and later waiting forever at the pharmacy, or some other doctor's office. And for every incident where I finally must admit I need a doctor there are many many many instances where I am able to heal myself which only reinforces my resolve. It also means I will wait even longer to seek medical attention.

So if you don't mind, I am going to save all those doctor's appointments for the people who have some common sense. In the meantime, I will go see the hand specialist and get fixed so I can resume my career in the shadow puppet arts.


  1. I am EXACTLY the same way, but different. I go to the doctor in the first place, for the sole reason of confirming that I do not have cancer. I wait and wait and wait in all the waiting rooms (although, I have been known to beg the kids' pediatrician while I am already there with the kids anyway to just look at my throat or eye or skin, prettyprettyplease!!!), the doctor says you have (fill-in-the-blank, not cancer though) and I say ok. Then, he sends me on my merry way (cancer-free!) with a prescription for something-or-other (who cares what exactly? because I will never bother to fill it. Why? because it isn't cancer!) As long as it's not cancer, then my body can heal itself. Yep, I feel great.

  2. I'm bad about that, too. I walked around for almost a month last year with a really sore leg that turned out to be a blood clot. Yay me.