Friday, 13 March 2009

The doctor(s) and me

*Overshare warning on this post*

I am not a fan of doctors. I know that a lot of people say that, but my reason is not a bizarre paranoia (I reserve that for ants), but the fact that I am not used to them.

My mom is a GP and as children she saw to most of my brother and my medical needs, apart from times where it went beyond her expertise (like the time I helped my brother to swallow a 50c coin and it got stuck in his stomach and had to be suctioned out). Now it is said that the shoemaker's son is never shod, and in my experience, the doctor's child is usually considered a hypochondriac by its medical parent.

I guess it's because doctors have seen so much worse than your scraped knee or bruised arm that they have a hard time taking little childish oopsies seriously. I remember clearly on one occasion having speared my finger with a knife when I was about nine. I ran into the house crying as only kids can do - big heavy sobs with huge tears running down red cheeks - shouting, "Mommmeeeeeee.... I'm bleeeeeeding." And, calm as anything, her voice called down the stairs, "You know where the band-aids are."

A few years ago, I realised that it's probably a good idea for me to find a GP of my own who will see me more objectively than my mom (although my poor mother still gets calls from me wanting a diagnosis over the phone. This hacks her off royally. And understandably). I also have not yet learnt to trust my GP and feel compelled to check her diagnosis with mom, who inevitably argues with it ;-)

This long-winded introduction is all to explain why I am a bit nervous of visiting doctors. I just feel like they're going to sense my inexperience. Or something. I dunno. Maybe it is an irrational paranoia after all.

But I went to the doctor on Wednesday. Not my usual doctor, mind you. I've been suffering from a cyclical, very specific pain for more than a year now, and my other GP seems to be my mom's (older and definitely not as friendly) twin. In other words, while she scares the living daylights out of me (to the point that she is always convinced that I have a really high resting heartrate because my heart is galloping by the time I sit down in her office), she tends to think I'm overreacting. I've spoken to her about this pain three times, and she keeps telling me that I must stick with the meds she's given me, exercise and eat healthily and it should go away. But it hasn't.

I've been meaning to find me a new doctor for awhile. But I am full of it and will only see female medical practitioners (whether they're gynaes, psychologists or GPs, I can't seem to trust men). And there are not many in the area where I live. And I wanted to try a new one when I had something non-embarrassing problem. Like a head cold or something.

BUT... After the last Bloggirls, where everyone was discussing all their friends who'd accidentally fallen pregnant while using strict contraceptive methods, and after ANOTHER person in my life found out she was expecting, when my cycle was a week late, I became uber-paranoid that I was pregnant. My recurring pain was also in full swing, I still had a sore throat after two weeks, and I decided that I needed to get my butt into gear and see a doctor and sort everything out at once.

I called our local medical centre and asked if there was a female GP on duty. Yes, Dr M. Fine. Off I went to see Dr M.

I began our appointment with the same sort of prefaace I used for this post, trying to explain that I don't really know the protocol for how to behave in a doctor's appointment. Dr M was very funny. She told me her daughter is a doctor and she refuses to treat her because her daughter always argues the diagnosis and won't comply with her recommendations. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when she said, "I told her very simply... I have one piece of advice for you: I have 20 years experienc, now f*** off!"

After I'd finished giggling, I launched into an in-depth personal medical history. Dr M listened and nodded and scribbled illegible doctor's notes before examining me, which always freaks me out, even though in this instance I didn't even have to undress.

She then told me right off that my previous doctor's diagnosis sounded a bit dodgy, prescribed me some new meds and gave me the number of a specialist. She stood up to show me out, and I managed to squeak (blushing furiously), "But what about a pregnancy test?"

She handed me one of those pee cup things and sent me to the bathroom, telling me that a nurse would assist me with the test once I was done. Now here's the embarrassing bit. I really cannot pee on command. Seriously. Every time I have to do a urine sample, I end up hanging around for hours waiting for my bladder to oblige.

Which is exactly what happened. I spent my first 15 minutes in the loo, which is a single stall in the middle of the passage of procedure rooms. You can hear everyone walking up and down and talking, and I just couldn't make myself pee - what if someone could hear me?

Eventually, someone knocked on the door and I sheepishly exited - it was the nurse. A MALE nurse, wanting my sample. I explained that I couldn't pee and asked if I could have 15 minutes to go and get something to drink and wait awhile.

I joined poor TSC in the foyer, who was waiting for me after having been for an eye test in a different section of the centre. 15 minutes later, with a bottle of water in me, I went to try again.

I sat in that cubicle for 45 minutes. I can tell you exactly where the cracks in the lino floor are, what colour the ceiling is, and every other detail. I ran the water, tried to relax and thought of waterfalls, but nothing helped. Eventually, my bladder felt like it would burst, but I still couldn't fill my sample cup.

I ducked out and explained my situation to the Russian receptionist and asked if there was a loo somewhere a bit more private. She laughed loudly and said so that everyone could hear, "Zey should have given you beer to help you vee-vee in ze cup."

Cringe! Thankfully, she pointed out a loo far away from all the hustle and bustle. I set TSC outside as a sentry, and within 5 minutes, I was able to relieve my bladder. I then had to carry my cup through the reception and waiting areas, through the doctors section and to the male nurse in the procedure rooms area.

"Finally!" he said. He then ran a test on my sample, printed out a little slip of paper and handed to me. "Here you go". There were a bunch of chemicals and numbers listed.

"Ummm... what does this mean?" I asked.
"Clear." he said. "Normal."
"But am I pregnant?" I asked.

He hadn't realised I'd wanted a pregancy test, so he took out a little test stick. I asked if those were the same as the store-bought home pregnancy tests. "Pretty much," was the reply. I told him I'd done two of those, both of which were negative, but that my friend, AF, had done three that came out negative before discovering she was actually six weeks pregnant through a blood test. He told me that happens quite often (way to reassure me, guy), but that the one he was using was quite accurate. I let myself believe it, and let out a huge sigh of relief when it turned out negative.

I fetched TSC, paid my account, and more than two and a half hours after we'd arrived, left the medical centre. The Russian receptionist waved at us as we fled. "Ah! I see you vere able to vee-vee in ze cup!" she called. Thanks, chick, for making sure the world knows.


boldly benny said...

Ha ha! Sorry to laugh at your situation but that was hilarious! Glad to hear you are all healthy :)

Charmskool said...

Hee hee that sounded like fun. I'm glad that you are well tho. I also have trouble peeing in a cup while a nurse/doctor waits outside tapping their foot impatiently. I am not all that mad about doctors too and really only ever liked my female doctors.

Anonymous said...

that was hilarious- but at least you're all better and your new doctor sounds like you won't be ringing mom too often. :D

Anonymous said...

Hilarious!!! I'm glad you're healthy though!

Kim/2 Kids said...

Very funny! I am the daughter of two Drs and know the feeling of being on your deathbed before an issue is taken seriously. I have heard, you know where the band-aids are so many times and am guilty of saying the same thing to my own daughters. I married an emergency room Dr. and he is completely the opposite, every sniffle is meningitis. I don't know which is better. I still call my mom for advice and I still hate her advice. The peeing in a cup, hopefully you won't have to do that too often!

Ruby said...

My dear dear on earth do you manage to get yourself into these situations??? Allthough, after the other night, if I was late i'd be suuuuuuper paranoid...all my sympathy.


Poetry Sue said...

LOL I love your style! I'm sorry you have such an anxiety about Dr's. I have had to see so many these days that THey're like my best friends now!!

po said...

Haha rather you than me! I am not sure I could ever pee on demand!

angel said...

Oh my word- 45 minutes, seriously!!?!??
I'm sorry all the baby talk got you sp worked up Tamara... I was actually sitting the other day trying to work out who the instigator of these conversations is every time!

31337 said...

only you can tell this tale and have me rocking about laughing yet somehow be "with you" in the tale. i am glad all is well.