Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello, My Name is Ruth, and I'm Scared of Doctors...

Can you hear me out there? Am I loud enough? I'm just checking, because I'm actually hiding under the table at the moment. No, no, theres no chocolate under here, its just that if I stay here he might not find me. Maybe he'll forget that I have an appointment. Maybe that nice lady in the office won't call with a gentle reminder that I get to visit my Doctor at 2pm tomorrow.

Maybe if I stay under here....

Those of you reading this will probably be split equally between two groups...the "Whats the problem?" people and the "can I join you under there? I have a physical coming up.." people. Guess which group I relate to?

Let me explain my Doctor history. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis at the age of about twelve, which mean't that I spent an awful (and I mean awful!) lot of my teenage years being poked about by Doctors, and I was blessed for much of this time with the most condescending Doctor you can imagine. I dreaded these appointments for weeks in advance because I came out of them every time feeling that I had been talked down to, that I was not being heard, and that I was somehow responsible for having arthritis, not to mention being overweight, which was heavily (if you'll pardon the choice of word) emphasized at every opportunity. At that age, I knew I was feeling these things but did not have the capacity to express them. Nor did I feel I was allowed to question anything. They were the adults, right?

The interesting thing is, if I look at photos now of when I was that age, I was really not that big. Which makes me wonder how much of my future weight issues had to do with being TOLD I had a problem before I ever had one, and being made more aware of my body than a twelve year old should have to be? So, even though I like the Doctor I have now, before every appointment I have that same feeling of dread, like I am being summoned to the Headmaster's office, because I have done something wrong.

This appointment is a follow up to the change in my diabetes medication. It is so easy to feel that way with diabetes, because there are such a load of misconceptions about this disease, and on a bad day I take those on myself. I have often had the discussion with people about how diabetes is not just about people eating too much, living a bad lifestyle and getting it. Yes, you can definitely contribute to it that way, and I believe that most likely my years of eating disorders triggered it. But I also know thin people with diabetes, and people three times my weight who do not have it. I know there is a genetic tendency in my family. I would not be at all surprised if the diabetes actually started before or during the eating disorders and helped to create the cycle that kept me there.

But in a way, that is not the point. However someone has ended up with the day to day struggle that diabetes can be, how does it help to add guilt and shame to their burden? How does it motivate someone to be told if they don't do it perfectly they will have a list of complications as long as your arm? (Oh, actually, you may not get to keep your arms, so PUT DOWN THAT DONUT!!!) How about a little motivation from the other direction?
Let me give you an example....if I learn to control my diabetes....

I can live.
I can stop being afraid.
I can lose weight and feel healthy.
I can have energy and not be tired all the time.
I can limit the scary depression and mood swings.
I can stop the equally scary food cravings that come with high blood sugar.
I can fully participate in my life, and not have to stop when we're out because I can't breath.

Doesn't that make you want to be healthy more than if you were just told "well, you'll probably have a heart attack and stroke and amputations and blindness, and goodness me, all manner of hideous things" ? I am not in denial. I simply believe people work better from a place of love, not negativity. My fear of the Doctor is because I take on all of those things about it being 'my fault'. Its not. Its a disease, and its hard enough to fight without fighting myself. So I will get out of my way, pray (well, I am already down here on my knees!) get out from under the table, and go to the Doctor.

If another type of Doctor wants to come along with a Tardis before then, make it before 2pm, 'k?



  1. ugh. I hate that too.

    I have to go to the doctors tomorrow because I've had a cold for three weeks and it doesn't want to shift.

    I've also lost nearly a stone during this three weeks which I don't consider good (especially as its not reduced my waistline any- grr!).

    Last time I told a doctor about unexpected weight loss they turned round and said "well you could stand to lose a bit more" rather than dealing with it.

    It doesn't help now they reduced the BMI limits. I know they did because about 6 years ago I got told i was 27 and then the next year - without changing weight or height - was told I was over 30.

    Good luck with the doctors appointment. hopefully the doc will be nice.

  2. I think they teach 'Rudeness and Belittling' at Medical School....lol

    Its all about finding that rare Doc who 'gets it' I think. For example, I am not afraid to go to my Dietician now because I feel like she has listened to me and worked with me in a way that is appropriate for ME specifically.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!