Time for some candid honesty.
I dislike going to the doctor.
I hate going to the doctor. Not how I hate going to the dentist. There is something about people rooting around in my mouth and picking stuff out of teeth that slays me. I would rather get a million immunizations and pap smears than go to the dentist. They do great work. I advocate going to one’s dentist. I go to my dentist. I am just not happy about it.
I know, I am a doctor. I tell people all the time how they are just out to help you and how they are normal people. This all is true.
I can tell you that I don’t like to take time out of my day to go to the doctor because I am busy. That is completely true.
Doctor going requires time to schedule the appointment, then time to get to and from said appointment, the wait time in the office, which can be painful and prolonged and then the actual duration of the appointment time. Plus, I always factor in the aftermath… The time spent getting prescriptions or getting other tests done and then having to go back yet again for the follow-up.
I don’t like wasting time. So, even though this really isn’t wasting time, it still bugs me.
Plus, even though I work in a health profession with doctors who make people wait, send people for tests and put people off work, they really aren’t always so accommodating when it is one of their own.
I know, go figure!
Clearly, residents aren’t supposed to get sick. At least not without developing a secondary pathologic guilt complex.
But, I am excited to report I have an appointment tonight. Yes, an evening appointment. I am grateful to the university health physician who sacrifices an evening at home to see saps like me who refuse to take any extra time off of work. This person is already a bit of a superhero in my books.
But really, time isn’t my only issue with seeing a doctor.
You know the old adage a doctor makes the worst patient.
That is true.
At least partly.
I would argue I am an excellent patient in that I can rattle off my entire medical history and complaints succinctly and accurately without wasting time. I always know my medications and doses and when I *should* take them.
Some people might also say I am an excellent patient because I am able to self-manage. If I am given directions to wean a medication or titrate accordingly, I am all over it. Particularly if it means one less thing to take.
I am a terrible patient because I have been known to fiddle with my medications on my own without asking first. Yes, I know how they work and yes, they are mainly for allergies and asthma for which most people are told to fiddle, but nonetheless, I do it.
I am a terrible patient because I don’t mention things I don’t want to deal with, even if I know they are relevant. Case and point, I had migraines for years and it wasn’t until they became so frequent I ceased to function well that I mentioned them, even though I saw the doctor routinely for other issues. I often stockpile problems for visits. I am THAT person who hammers you with three issues per visit.
I am a terrible patient in that I secretly get annoyed with you if you don’t share my differential or do things in a way that I have been taught to be wrong.
My bad patient-ness makes me not like going to the doctor a bit.
Mostly, it is a pride issue.
I feel like when I go to the doctor and they find something I didn’t think of, I have failed myself in some way. I feel like when I go to the doctor for something beyond routine screening that I, in some way, have failed. I feel like I should have known whatever thing is happening and should have fixed it.
Plus, I just don’t want them to know I am a bad patient. That is my little secret!
It is irrational.
I know that much.
We are all biased when we look at ourselves and our families. It is easier to over or under call things. It is harder to look at things with an objective whole-person lense. I know it, I just don’t like it.
Going to the doctor is not the same as an exam in med school or residency. I am not supposed to have all the answers or know everything.
If anything, being in medicine has taught me how much I don’t know. I should apply that piece of knowledge here.
So, I am going to the doctor. And I am going to be a good patient and I am going to let them be the doctor. I will have many, many visits ahead of me and I need to remember that I am not a family doc, nor would I want to be. I am not the expert or the student. I am the patient.
I need to get over my silliness.
I am going to the doctor.