Saturday, July 3, 2010

To Be...Or Not To Be

I used to have a gynecologist who was also a real estate agent. Her real estate agent cards were displayed prominently on her desk. This disturbed me. I don't think it's a good idea for someone who literally has your life in their hands to have a vested interest in earning commission from the sale of your house. I switched to another gynecologist.

Now I find myself faced with another medical personnel dilemma. Namely, I am convinced my primary care doctor believes I am going to die. You can imagine how this might give me pause.

Several months ago I was diagnosed with a few things that, while demanding serious attention, are not believed to be life threatening by any of the specialists who have been called up to help me manage them. To date, I have had three specialists, including a cardiologist, assure me that I am more likely to get hit by a bus than to succumb to any of my ailments, conditions which I could consider more of an annoyance than a scare.

And then there's my primary care physician. She is the one managing Project Me, the one who tap tap taps referral requests into her little laptop and zips me off to a specialist a couple times a month.

She is not handling this very well.

During the first visit, when she ticked off the list of parts I had that were rusting, she gave me several of those looks - you know, the look someone gives you when they don't want to tell you directly that your pants don't fit, but also don't want to NOT tell you and have you blame them when your seams split after sitting down. You know the look. I tried to bring up a couple of other things that had been bothering me. "My elbow hurt a lot last night."

She waved my elbow away. There were bigger fish. She told me she'd never had a patient with my combination of ills. She zipped off referrals and upped my daily vitamin dose, and then left the room, parting with a sympathetic smile.

I saw her again yesterday. She remarked that I was certainly taking all this in stride.

Taking all this in stride? Why yes, because everyone else seems to think I'm going to be okay. She acknowledged that I wasn't sick. Yet. That we were just being preventative. Then she repeated how well I was taking everything.

So clearly, there are two options. She is macabre, sees her glass as half empty, is a bit put out by this floppy broken patient. She is, after all, a primary care physician, the type of doctor who prescribes ointments for achy knees and tells you when you weigh too much. She really isn't the type of doctor who prepares you for the big guns, like open heart surgery or leg amputation. Not that either of those things are on my docket - the point is, she ain't the bad news doctor. So maybe, to her, all this is out of her league significant.

And then there's the other option. That my specialists, who no doubt deliver bad news all the time, have simply tired of it and decided to smile and wave through any new patients. After all, you don't really notice you have died until after the fact, and then what are you going to do? Sue? Go haunt the doctor and argue? No... you're dead. Maybe all of them are wrong, and my primary care doctor, who looks as if she might just be losing sleep over my predicaments, is the only one who is trying to prepare me.

I think I'll give it a few more visits and then decide, but if one of her next referrals is to a funeral home, I will be really concerned.

2 comments:

My Notting Hill said...

You seem to have a very constructive and positive attitude. Like your idea to see her a few more times but then definitely reevaluate if she's the best for you. Hope this finds you well.

MarytrMom said...

Most physicians are just doing double duty of CYA. I hate to go anymore......all the tests....GRRRR