I hate first appointments with new doctors. Seriously, I can’t stand them. I always feel horrible afterwards.
Yes, I know that for some people this sounds really strange, but hear me out. This actually makes some sense (at least, it makes sense in my head.)
First, there’s the uncertainty. Will this doctor be any good? Will they help me? Will they hurt things? If it’s a primary care physician (PCP) like today, will they give me the referrals that I need/want? Will they order the right tests? Will they prescribe the right medications? Will a PCP give me the letters that I need for my FSA? What if it doesn’t work out and I have to start all over again someplace else? Will my insurance allow that?
But to be honest, those don’t matter as much as the other thing. I know they’re important, but it’s the other thing that makes starting with a new doc so hard. Those are just uncertainties, and those questions will all be answered soon enough. The other thing, though, that’s emotionally rough, and it makes the appointment itself difficult to get through.
Every time I meet with a new doctor, I have to give them the list. It’s bad enough to have a bunch of illnesses, but having to list them out, one after another, is wrenching. I feel ridiculous; even to my own ears it seems like I must be making this stuff up. And even when the doc is nice and professional and accepts the information appropriately, I still have to review it all. Going over everything, all at once, is just too much. Those 20 minutes are draining, and by the time I leave, I have trouble getting out of my own head. It’s too easy to just keep thinking about all of the illnesses. Connective tissue disease? Let’s go over details. IBS too? Describe the diet. Hypothyroid? Review the treatment. PCOS also? Give the family history. High cholesterol and seasonal affective disorder and two forms of scoliosis? Detail onsets. The list just keeps going and going and going. It’s worse than the Energizer bunny from those old commercials.
I left my first appointment with the new PCP today feeling lousy. I was sad and discouraged and tired. At first I didn’t know why, but it hit me fast: I spend a lot of time and energy trying not to think about my myriad health problems, and here I was just forced to confront them all simultaneously. What a cruel form of torture. I sure hope I don’t have to go through that again any time soon!
If any of this sounds familiar, if you can relate, please share it on Facebook and/or tweet it on Twitter so others know it’s not just them, that they’re not alone.