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January 21, 2006 - 5:15 am

I have to admit–I am afraid to go to the doctor. I have always hated hospitals–they seemed so depressing and scary–which is why I have a PhD and not an MD; I figured fainting at the sight of blood would probably be a bad quality in a doctor. While I am over the fainting at blood part, (you get used to all the blood drawing when you have a href=”http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2005/10/more-than-you-wanted-to-know-about-my.html”heart problems/a) just the thought of going to a medical facility starts my heart palpitating. Yesterday, it was time for another three month check-up of my a href=”http://www.hrspatients.org/patients/treatments/default.asp”ICD/a. My check up was with a heart rhythm specialist who does an interrogation of my cardiac device by hooking me up to a computer and running a magnet over my chest to control the defibrillator. Somehow, just the thought of someone else being able to control my heart is enough to send me over the edge.br /br /In preparation for my appointment, I packed an interesting book, bottled water and some food to calm my nerves after it was over. However, I found that nothing could distract me once the doctor started talking. I can usually interpret with fair accuracy what my own clients are trying to tell me but my translation of what a doctor is saying about my medical condition is so far off the mark, I sometimes wonder if a diagnosis of “medical psychosis” should be added to my chart. My translation goes something like this:br /br /strongDoctor/strong: Hi, I’m Dr. so and so, nice to meet you. br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: I’m here to give you your last rites.br /br /strongDoctor/strong: Your potassium is a little low.br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: You’re lucky your heart is beating at all.br /br /strongDoctor/strong: Your heart is beating a little fast, are you nervous?br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: Your heart is pounding out of your skin, you’ll be lucky to make it out of this office without a major heart attack.br /br /strongDoctor:/strong Did you have a nice Christmas Holiday?br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: You’re damn lucky you made it to Christmas.br /br /strongDoctor/strong: We’re going to try some new meds.br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: Lord knows, the old meds weren’t working–it’s amazing you made it into the office without a gurney.br /br /strongDocto/strongr: Well, we’re all done, see you in six months!br /br /strongMy Translation/strong: Sucker! You’ll be lucky if you make it three.br /br /Well, you get the idea. For my next appointment, I think I’ll bring a tape recorder so I can actually hear what the doctor said!br /br /Update: a href=”http://shrinkette.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-dr-helen-hears.html”Shrinkette /ahas more on why it might be risky for doctors to reassure patients.

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