I Also Have Really Terrible Social Skills!
I hate going to see doctors, as you would expect of a mentally ill drug addict with chronic pain, stomach problems, and a history of an eating disorder. I’d say most people don’t like going to the doctor, but when you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re living off stimulants and apples, you really hate going to the doctor. Plus, I usually get the runaround on my chronic pain “it’s all in your head, go see a psychiatrist!” a family medicine doctor will say, then the psychiatrist will say “this isn’t in your head, go see a doctor!” and the doctor will say “you’re just drug seeking!” and the loop that lead me to actually become a drug addict continues for 12 years.
Anyway, going to the doctor sucks. I am a major germaphobe so sitting in a waiting room for 2 hours with a kid coughing in my face waiting for my 15-minute appointment where all my problems will be brushed off is my idea of hell. After your 15-minutes of poking, prodding, and judgment are over you have to schedule a new appointment 45 years in the future that if you’re 10 minutes late to they cancel it and you have to wait another century for a spot to open up. The medical system sucks, and I loathe going to the doctor.
I loathe going to the doctor so much I hadn’t been in years, my doctor retired, and the practice closed. That’s how long I avoided a doctor. But my psychiatrist and therapist were concerned for my health and made me go see a doctor. I was not happy to say the least, but I looked some up in my area, and so did my therapist and the good doctors had waiting lists until November (yes, I’m writing this in early February!) So considering my hatred for typical doctors, my therapist recommended a non-insurance based/self-pay system doctor. I was reluctant because I assumed doctors were assholes by nature and paying a monthly fee out of pocket to see (or not see) an asshole sounded even worse. But she had her connections with this doctor and told me she thought I’d like the practice. As I learned more about it I warmed up to the idea; they even give you a free hour-long “meet-and-greet” with the doctor at their office to see what it’s like.
A couple days ago I decided to meet with my potential doctor. The doctor seemed really lovely and non-judgmental, she told me about some of the benefits of their practice like: they only take on a couple of patients at a time, they do hour-long appointments, you can get same or next day appointments, there’s pretty much no wait time once you get there, they do phone and video chat “visits,” they even have texting, and you’re pretty much never without contact with your doctor 24/7/365 (she literally said I could text her at 2 am) and if your doctor is on vacation you’ll have contact with the other doctor. They also had a lab onsite so I wouldn’t have to go elsewhere, but if I ever texted/called in an issue they’d send it to the closest lab to my house. So it sounded pretty rad, so I signed up to be one of their patients (my therapist knowing the doctor might have helped me skip their waitlist, so thank you [we’ll come up with a fake name for you later]!)
So today, appointment day, I am literally shaking because I haven’t been to a doctor in so long and I’m still convinced things are going to be a nightmare. I end up showing up early; I wait in my car listening to music to soothe myself, then suck it up and go in. I was first greeted by a doggy who’s fur felt like the softest pillow on earth. They sat me down in the waiting room and wow, ok first off, comfy chairs and an actual attempt at interior design, nice! Then they ask me if I want anything like a drink, and damn, they had one of those coffee/tea/cocoa/cider pod machines and a mini-fridge filled with seltzer (listen, it’s big in New England) and juice and stuff. They also had little snacks. WTF!? The waiting room is nicer than the one at my hair salon. Aren’t doctors waiting rooms supposed to have those uncomfortable chairs that look like they’ve seen hell, magazines from 1998, and that unsettling smell that only doctor’s offices have? There was no unsettling smell either. I am already pleased, but I didn’t get to sit in there too long because my doctor was ready for me before my scheduled time.
So I’ll keep the visit review short and just say that my doctor was super understanding of my past medical issues and life choices and wasn’t rude about them and didn’t brush them off at all, which was shocking and warmly welcomed. It was also really nice to have a full hour to talk to my doctor so there weren’t any miscommunications and I got to mention just about all my medical concerns that I could think of (note to self: write a “note to self” of your medical concerns before your next appointment so you don’t freeze up and forget them.)
Ok, onto the funnies. Ever since I got clean I noticed my social skills are absolutely horrible, my doctor and therapist even commented on it, I just don’t know how to appropriately communicate with people while sober.
Now let’s play a highlight reel of my poor social skills at my brand new doctor’s office today:
My doctor was asking questions about my past sexual desire (regarding things I mentioned in this post) and asked if I’d always been this way; I stretched across the table laughing and said “I was a SLUT!” my doctor made the most shocked expression and was like “oh, no, no” and I laughed, pointed to my paperwork and said “you can look at the numbers, there are question marks, I only have a rough estimate!”
I was going to get an EKG and didn’t think to wait until the doctor left the room to start taking my shirt off.
While I was getting my EKG, the nurse kept having to cover my boobs for me because I didn’t think to do it.
Later, my doctor asked me if I wanted an HIV test and I said “Yes… Actually, you know what? I think I should get an STD test too, just test me for everything. All the STDs!”
When I went to get bloodwork done, I sat in the chair and the phlebotomist asked “which arm is better” I stick out both my arms and say “My [left one] is my go to, but I have pretty great veins on both arms” she looked at my arms and said “Wow! You do have great veins!” she prepped everything, and the was like “Are you squeamish? Do you not want to see the needle, or do you need a countdown, or do you need to look away?” and I just blurted out “I used to do drugs … uh … no, I’m fine watching.” We then had a conversation about the kind of needle she used and then quickly shifted the conversation to the weather while I kept the 5 vials of blood she had already taken from me from falling on the floor.
These (and many, many more) are being added to my “things that are socially inappropriate” field notes.
Also, saying you have a psychiatrist and therapist in a place where other people could hear is apparently frowned upon.
Anyway, I’m really nervous about my lab work results. I know I’m really thin, but I feel fine, but I also felt fine that time I almost died. I just hope nothing major comes up, but I guess it’s better to know and fix it than let it kill me. So queue me having a panic attack until I get my results in. I may text my doctor like a crazy ex-girlfriend asking if she’s got them yet. I also got a prescription for Zofran again, which is like a gift from the gods to me! Send me good vibes.
Ps: Yes I know it’s extreme to go all the way to pay-out-of-pocket attentive doctors, but I’ve had horrible experiences in the past, have a severe case of “only child syndrome” and think I’m goddamn special, and really need a doctor who won’t brush my issues to the side because of my life choices and psychiatric conditions. I also realize I’m very privileged to be able to afford care like this and I do not take it for granted.