Went for my annual inspection at the doctor’s yesterday, armed with my mental list of four things to ask about or for and then get out as quickly as possible.
I was pretty impressed to have got a 2pm appointment, because that’s first after lunch, and they’re usually on time again.
One of the problems of living in regional Queensland is that doctors don’t like to stay here. At least we have doctors (after all some towns can't keep one at all), but the strong pull of Brisbane keeps them moving through, so if you go to the doc once a year you’re unlikely to get the same one twice. And sometimes you simply hope that they speak English better than I can get my mouth around their name. The principal of the practice is great and has been here for years, but you need to book about three weeks in advance to see him.
I like yesterday’s doctor - he seemed a gentle and polite soul – but I am hoping that one comment was the sort of dumb mistake that I’d make, not that he actually meant to say what he said.
On my list of things to ask the doctor I had to check that the antibiotic that the oral surgeon uses is okay, given that there’s two families of antibiotics to which I have a demonstrated reaction. The third thing on my list was to get repeat scripts for my asthma medication.
Then I made the mistake of mentioning a forth thing (should have made a real, rather than mental list). I was going to ask about vaccinations for our family trip to Malaysia next year. I had made a mental note not to ask about my allergies, because they aren’t too bad at the moment and some doctors tend to get fixed ideas about things like allergies and I wanted to eliminate food possibilities to my satisfaction first before they start poking and prodding about.
But in the heat of the moment I couldn't remember vaccinations and all I could think of was itchy spots, and so mentioned them. And the doctor asked me if I have any problem with allergies, any asthma or hayfever?...
…Hello?... I’ve just asked you about my allergies to antibiotics and you’ve just printed out a script for asthma medication. I think I might have a few problems with allergies, don’t you?
I dutifully mentioned my recent problems with itchy eyes and blocked nose, hoping that it was just a typical example sentence that he always uses and that he did remember the asthma and antibiotic issues.
So now I have to have blood tests. Of course, that’s enough to turn me against pretty much any doctor.
Doctors just don’t understand the facts that :-
1) I really hate needles. Ever since I was tiny. I can’t even watch them on TV. I would never contemplate a tattoo. I hate them to the point that if we had kids I’d be conning either my Beloved or my Mum to take them in for injections because I wouldn’t be able to be calm enough to do it; and
2) I HAVE NO VEINS. Particularly not in winter. I don’t. I tell you this is true. On one occasion it took four different nurses at the pathologist to be confident to have a go. Another time they saw what they thought could be a vein and hit the nerve whereupon I passed out.
The other thing is that the doctor wants to check all the usual subjects (including glucose) so it has to be fasting, which means early morning. Early mornings are the coldest part of the day, resulting in even fewer discernable veins. And not having had breaky, I’m not keen on a jog around the block to try to get the blood pumping.
The other thing is I need to find a day I don’t have to do anything in the morning, and when I can con someone into driving me down (and more importantly BACK again). I tend to go into shock with blood tests, even to passing out - so I can’t trust myself to drive home.
And so the doctor just wants a blood test. The chance that I appreciate the “just” part of that?
… Approximately None.
They just don’t get it.
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