Tuesday, September 04, 2007
To The Doctor
What, you might ask, does a calming photo of a Rhode Island glacial pond with a canoe have to do with the title of this blog: to the doctor?
In a few minutes, I'm heading out for a physical--the first I've had in several years. I used to be an extreme hypocondriac, until my own son died and then I suffered some very real (life-threatening) health problems. It's a good cure--reality--but I hate to recommend it. Now I just want to, you know, live every day to the fullest and all that.
Ok, so I'm no longer a hypocondriac but, still, the thought of sitting in that chilly, sterile exam room in a paper gown is making my fingers shake right now. So I carry in my mind a comforting image--the canoe on the pond.
In workshops where we're writing about difficult material, I tell folks to find a calming place. I have people write about the place--the smells, sights, sounds. I'll write about this canoe scene
. . . in the doctor's waiting room.
It's not that I'm nervous, really, it's just that I comfort myself, always, by jotting in my trusty journal.
When I'm with the doctor, I will record what she's saying to me--just in case I find myself leaving my body or something.
Yes, I am nervous, day of appointment, but I'm not a hpyocondriac. My mother, on the other hand, goes to the doctor twice a day and takes her temperature six times a day. She is perfectly healthy. To create balance in the universe, I go to the doctor about twice a decade.
Anyway, here'a a book I highly recommend: How Doctors Think
I adore medical writing--stuff about other people's diseases and struggles. Here Groopman gets inside doctors' heads (he's one himself as well as a patient in his own book) and lets readers know the assumptions doctors are making as they look at patients, and much more. I'm a little edgy right now so can't think straight and write more about all of this-- except to quote advice one of Groopman's mentors says to him, about a doctor's urgency to diagnose, prescribe, solve--maybe too quickly:
DON'T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE.
I'm going to tell my doctor this . . . but I'll write it in my journal before I leave. If I don't I'll forget--I'm not a hypocondriac, honestly, but I do still get white lab-coat amnesia.
I'll post again soon . . . if I'm still alive.
Posted by Carol Henderson at 9:51 AM
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