Thursday, June 21, 2012

Journal entry on empowerment - long

Yesterday was interesting, empowering, and very satisfying - even if it was a bit disconcerting. Since moving to The Villages, I've been searching for a primary care physician that would listen to me. Instead of finding that, I've found one two who wanted to walk in and begin telling me the results of tests and what they were going to do about that. When I would try to describe what I was feeling, I was shushed, ignored or else I felt that the doctor was making fun of me.

Yesterday on the second visit with my second primary care physician, the doctor walked in and began talking about my tests. I had a cartoid artery doppler sonogram, and the results were not very good. 50% blockage one side, 40% the other. Of course, the doctor said that this test did tend to provide an screening and the results were often a bit higher than actuality. I asked if I could speak, and I told him that I thought I might have been having TIAs because I occasionally felt as if I were "bonkers". That was the only word I could think of to say. He said something about turning to his ???? - perhaps he said thesaurus. But, the important thing to me was that he interrupted me when I was saying something I felt was very important.

Now, the first visit, he spent some time telling me that he allotted only 20 minutes per person and that if I had more problems than 20 minutes allowed, I would need to make another appointment. I felt some discomfort with his manner the first visit, but I was trying hard to find someone for primary care since I have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The doctor said that "bonkers" was not in the medical dictionary - You did say "bonkers". Yes, sir, I did. He turned to his computer and pulled up something on the screen and displayed it on the large screen. I don't remember what else he said, but this dialogue made me feel he was making fun of me, and I said so.

He became angry and said I might need to see someone else. I was a bit stunned. So, I asked, will you tell me my A1c number? He said, "NO. This session is terminated. Your next doctor may request your records." And, he stood up.

I stood up and said, I believe I'm entitled to my records; then he called the front desk to tell them that I was terminated as a patient. I am still in a bit of shock, but I stood and walked out - somewhat shocked.

So, I stopped at the desk to ask about my records, and the standard charges would apply: $1 per page for the first 25 pages and 25cents per page thereafter. I thanked the women in the office. At the office window I saw the woman who had referred me to this doctor. When I said we had terminated our relationship, she was not surprised but said, "Well, it took us four tries before we found someone."

End of incident description.

For several weeks, I've been having times when I can't think properly, times when I feel disoriented, anxious, and unable to express myself. My vision has blurred, but I thought that was because I had been working on small crochet projects, intensely focused. I found that I could not figure out what was going wrong with a computer program that I had been able to work just fine previously.

I really wanted to tell the doctor those things. I am concerned that I'm having TIAs, and his findings with the cartoid artery emphasizes that. I need to make some changes in my lifestyle - more than I've already done with the diabetes (which hasn't been going well). I have also been very depressed. And, I've been alternately very angry and apathetic.

The empowerment comes from being able to tell the doctor that I felt he was making fun of me...from resisting any retorts or anger and just walking out. I did not have to feel put down, made fun of or talked down to. I did not have to put up with his attitude. (And, I'm sure he felt that he did not have to put up with mine since I did not laugh at what David said were probably jokes. I sat there quiet and probably stony-faced.)

Outside, David and I talked for a moment as my anger built, then I walked to my car and drove away. I went to Cracker Barrel Restaurant to have some tea and think and maybe cry. David, God bless him for being so loving, simply followed me there, and we sat quietly while I cried in my tea for a bit.

I am not crazy. I may be having TIAs, but I have taken this doctor's words about my cartoid arteries and my triglycerides to heart...literally and figuratively. I am no longer depressed. I can do something about the triglycerides, and I have researched cartoid artery problems and TIAs. I know what to look for now. I am not helpless nor losing my mind - at least not yet.

Meanwhile, the computer problems are primarily incompatible software communication and my ignorance (not stupidity nor crazy) of html computer language. A kindly person has taken over what I have done, and I was able to figure out how to send him all of my files. I am still me.

I know that I am still in pain with my fibromyalgia, that I need to monitor my blood sugar more closely and my diet, that I need to begin an exercise program, that I need a primary care physician who will listen to me and help me understand the changes that my body is experiencing as well as run necessary tests and who will practice the "art" as well as the "science" of medicine with me.

So, I am enlightened, empowered, and on my way to better health. Thanks to a doctor who was not my style.

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