Dear Doctor from yesterday :(

 

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It is now 2:39 a.m, maybe you are asleep……………most people are. I am not though. I am sitting in my bathroom listening to my family sleep but I can’t. Why? I am now fully experiencing the effects of my time with you.

I woke in pain, my bladder full and screaming to be emptied and realized that in my sleep I had already assumed the position; my knees were already up to my nose and I was holding my ankles. The pain and cramping were late but not unexpected.

The amazing thing about sleep is that all you consciously/ sub-consciously shut out during the day……….has free reign at night. All I stopped myself from experiencing during the day………………is now here full force.

I’ve no doubt you are a great doctor, my doctor- who I have come to trust- speaks highly of you- I even saw some of what he said coming out; some I think you now need to learn.

So don’t take this as an insult but …………..more observations.

I came to you after years of drama, surgery, pushing and prodding……………………I know that on a literal, objective, left brain level you got this but you really didn’t understand it.

I’ve tried to not build myself up with expectations when going to a new doctor  or trying new procedures…………I’ve been disappointed so many times………………hoping that something would work and things won’t continue as they were before.

I didn’t build myself up with you. I accepted that maybe you would have options to offer…………………maybe there was something that you could suggest or do that could possibly improve my situation somewhat.

First, I don’t think you believed me. Not believed me in the strictest sense of the phrase but maybe it’s your nature to test and seek to prove everything that I say. However, to the patient who lives this it comes across as doubt. I was like that once ……………………maybe it’s my chosen profession that changed me…………………..I’ve learnt that listening is more than hearing. I don’t feel as though you listened. You heard me and your scientific brain went whizzing off making connections and testing hypotheses and probabilities and if x then y = z. Doc I’m not some formula in a book or test subject…………..it doesn’t matter what logic and science tells you……………listen to me.

On the subject of listening though………………..some of us need time to process………….a few seconds before we answer a question. So asking me another question in the midst of my answering the first or while I am thinking of the answer to the first is counterproductive.

Maybe you are an “E” on MBTI  and need to speak as you are thinking in order to process something. I am and “I” though. I need to process before I speak……………so too many questions all at once just serve to confuse and overwhelm me.

Can we look at confusion and being overwhelmed for a moment?

That examination- type and speed really did me in.

Let’s look at my reactions to your touching my abdomen.

So I’ve had years upon years of convincing people that I am fine. I’m pretty good at it. It’s my fall-back position. So understand that although I should drop all the pretense because you are the doctor and really need the truth……………..it’s a part of me. I am good at having pain and giving no reaction unless it is severe. I am good at smiling and going along. That’s an unfortunate side effect of my years of struggle with illness……………..really have to work on that I guess.

So, because I don’t flinch doesn’t mean all is well. Maybe I should add here that I am not crazy………truth is even I thought I might be a few times…………..but the verdict is in………..I’m not. So I do have more to do with my life than spend all my money, time and energy and continually disappoint my children, husband and family in pretense of something that is just in my head.

This is real……………actually the Psychologist in me should say “I am not mentally ill.” Well not right now anyway…………at this rate anything is possible.

Back to the exam:

So you started with the speculum. Note I don’t like them…………….plastic or metal/ warm or cold makes no difference…………..they signal invasion and next time It would be good to ask me if I am ready so I can say yes or no or wait. Yes I know I came to your office…………….it’s what you do yada, yada……….but still, this is my body.

Then the pap smear of the cervix that I told you didn’t exist but you had to see for yourself………….then said its undefined / just what’s left from the hysterectomy and then obviously didn’t need the swab….. that’s does hurt some of us, meaning me.

Speculum out, hand/ fingers in (did you notice my eyes were closed? My way of trying to shut the experience out or focus elsewhere to make it more acceptable?). I know you had to do what you did to really feel the ovaries and everything else but it does hurt. So stating …….because you didn’t ask really, as you started the digital exam that I didn’t have problems with intercourse begged a response from me. When I started to answer you cut me off with another question which really struck me as “you just inserted your fingers into my vagina, I did not scream, flinch, kick you or any such thing so the accepted conclusion is intercourse is fine”.

Not really doc. Remember I’ve had years at this. Truth is as I said its usually after not during but still. I love my husband dearly and the last thing I want is for him to feel as though he is causing me pain at the moment of penetration. I’ve worked on this for years………………..you have absolutely no idea the amount of therapy here……………so unless you had something with sharp edges or I started from a point of pain- which won’t happen anyway cause I am not crazy- you will see no reaction from me, I won’t even blink.

See how what they taught you may not necessarily apply to all of us?

Moving along, for future reference…….no matter how nicely you phrase “can I stick my finger in your backside” …..yes I know that is not what you asked, your words were “ can I do a rear exit exam?”- actually you didn’t ask because you said can and not may………you really weren’t seeking permission but wanted me to think you were…….no matter how you phrase it that is what I will hear “can I stick my finger in your backside” .

So let me play along and answer you. By this I mean wait for my answer. Even if I initially say, what? I am an intelligent girl, you are the doctor…..I would’ve come around in a minute or so.

Doing the exam (sticking your finger in my butt) and then patting my leg and saying I did well just adds to my frustration and feeling of helplessness…………. I’ve no control.

By the time you were finished there I was ready to run. I felt like you really weren’t hearing me or seeing me for that matter and I was just in another situation where I had no control. Remember, that’s why I came in the first place…………I felt as if the disease(s) had taken control.

Now is the trans-vaginal ultrasound. Something else going inside me yes! Again …ask if I am ready…………gimme a minute!

Anyway, by the time that exam was on the way you had lost me. My brain had checked out. Sensory overload.

Telling me to look at the screen was just background noise.  I was now in just pure survival mode, just wanted it over.

When you left the room for me to dress and went to the other patient I just dressed and sat there. Took my writing pad and wrote what you said so that at a later point when I was less stressed I could go over it. I said to you I was not in a good space in my head at the moment. I understood what you were saying as much as I could at the point but I don’t think you understood me.

I left your office at 12 and I couldn’t eat anything until after 6 p.m. After not eating since breakfast around 7 a.m. I was too overwhelmed both mind and body.

I couldn’t process anything and for me – the Psychologist- that is the worst possible state to be in………………. after all I help people do just that. I was a mess.

My defense mechanisms kicked in and helped me to survive. Therefore, I am sitting here in the dead of the night now experiencing the full painful effects of our time together.  Our bodies are amazing that way, when something is too much to handle we shut it down until a time when we can handle it. Amazing!

Dear Doctor from yesterday, I entered your office broken and left shattered. Honestly, I don’t think you realized. I don’t believe you did anything intentionally to cause me any distress, you were just working as you always do and with the knowledge you have. Just understand, there’s more to me than the diagnosis and more required of you than the medicine. As I said earlier……………not criticism, just observations.

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Author: mypcslife

I am a Psychologist by profession, wife and mother. Living in the Caribbean island of Barbados.

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