I met the new doc, who is not the same as the old doc at all. She’s got gray in her hair and a round, young face. It’s more obvious in her hair than in mine, but I am, undeniably, beginning to gray. It’s just that mine can be taken for blonde because of all the soft brown around it; her hair is just the brown side of black. It also looks about as tame as mine.
The first sight of her put me at ease.
I’ll admit she didn’t see me at my best. I’d waited a long time to see her — I’d made the appointment at least three weeks back — and here she was telling me that some bizarre practice policy meant she was obligated to wait twenty minutes for each latecomer, so she was forty minutes behind. I very nearly burst into tears of frustration: forty minutes seemed insurmountable given the number of times my legs had been too painful to hold me. All I wanted was a PT referral. Was that so much to ask?
And there was one mum who really should have borrowed at least a teenager to help her corral the five under-tens with her (one in a stroller, four ambulatory). While the mum was in with the doc, leaving the big sister to mind the rest, I don’t mind saying I lost it a bit. When it looked like one boy was about to injure himself roughhousing with his brother, I went over and told them to get up, sit in the chairs, and try playing the Quiet Game. I don’t care if it’s not done to interfere with another woman’s children. It’s also not done to leave your children in the care of a young girl — and that young girl was grateful.
Whatever your belief, I think people are inclined to offer each other small miracles at Yuletide. The nurse came out looking for a patient. I was, at this point, resigned to waiting, so imagine my shock when he said “Oh, no, I was a walk-in. The young lady’s been here longer.”
I wish I had asked his name. I thanked him profusely at the time but it doesn’t feel like enough. So if you are out there, you wonderful man, please know I appreciate the chance to get out of there just that little bit faster. Sensory issues coupled with a fear of catching whatever one of the children had, with a side order of “The hell I’m being punished for getting here on time” — well. Thank you, sir, for letting the nurse take me back to a nice, quiet place and begin the workup.
The doc was a complete surprise. I thought I would like her. At first I wondered why she was asking me things to confirm the fibro diagnosis — until I realized she wanted to explore what might be hurting me, and whether it could be something not fibro. And I knew that I liked her then. She listened when I said no drugs, not even changing my SSRI dose. I can’t risk what mental health I’ve still got, you know? I won’t fiddle with my brain chemistry if I can help it. That has to be a last resort, when PT fails utterly and there’s no other way to alleviate the symptoms. I told her no opiates absolutely none no way. (Not because of appearance. Because I honestly doubt they’ll help.) So I was referred for PT, on land this time so’s not to leave me woozy like after the water kind. A thousand pities that my body is efficient when it comes to burning calories and using up its sugars.
She seems an investigative sort. Maybe she’ll be willing to send me to a proper inner-ear specialist instead of telling me to pop a meclizine and cope (meclizine does nothing for the intermittent sudden hearing loss/tinnitus). Maybe she’ll look over hormone function and sort out the fatigue, to see if that’s independent of the fibro. Maybe she’ll help me sort out why I didn’t get sick until $utherland, and why I crashed so hard, and was never the same again. She might insist on trying the Lyme tests again, or she might trust that the Infectious Disease person at Strong knew what she was doing. She actually wondered if it was RA. If my knees wanted X-raying.
I think she will listen when I say I lived with depression much longer than I’ve lived with this, that it was so much worse before and I still had a ton of get up and go. That I was, if anything, the most loved and supported I had ever been when I fell ill.
And I am a terrible feminist for this: I am happy she will only take six weeks’ maternity instead of passing the buck. In some professions, you do have to be ready to get up and get back to work. If you have clients or patients who rely on your understanding of their condition, you need to at least be able to consult! I’d do the same. I am a terrible feminist and you can be grateful I do not intend to bear live young.
So that went well.
One worry down.