I’m not a particularly sickly person. On top of my general good health (knock on wood), I grew up with the minimal-medicine lifestyle.
My mother was an nutritionist, and a big believer in the phrase “You’ll be fine!” Don’t get me wrong, she was a great mom and went above and beyond us kids were sick, but medicine was always a last resort. We occasionally got some Dimetapp for a cold (grape flavored all the way), or some antibiotics when you had strep throat or an ear infection, but that’s about it. By the way, I was queen of ear infections, and even occasionally get them as an adult. Reason #688 I’m actually a toddler.
When it came to school attendance, unless you had a fever above 99 or were throwing up, you were gettin’ on that bus. No ifs ands or buts about it.
I have only thrown up a handful of times in my life, dating as far back as I can remember. I remember pseudo-vomiting in 3rd grade, but nothing came out except lots of saliva (you’re welcome for the visual). I didn’t throw up again until college. I won’t say what triggered that episode, but you might be able to guess. (If you must know, it was raspberry vodka. The most terrible invention of all time.) Since then, I think there’s only been two other instances of vom-town, including the unfortunate time I got food poisoning and had to ask the Uber driver to pull into an abandoned parking lot so I wouldn’t mess up his backseat. #5starpassenger
Truly, that’s it. I can count the times I’ve gotten sick like that on one hand. Thus, in order to get out of school, I’d drink really hot water and then put the thermometer in my mouth to have proof for my mom. It worked exactly one time. And then a few hours later I felt so guilty (and bored) that I called my mom on her work phone and confessed. Every parent prays for a kid like me. (JK I was terribly sassy. Just guilt-ridden and sassy.)
My occasional lapses of sickness these days are generally terrible colds that last about 2-3 weeks. I didn’t start using medicine to battle them until about 3 years ago, when a friend force-fed me NyQuil. Now I’m a huge fan of NyQuil. Sometimes I even get excited when I get a cold, because I know I’ll get to take some!
Another friend introduced me to Advil after a night of drinking, only about 2 years ago. Love that stuff. Even still, I rarely use medicine to combat hangovers. To me, it’s important to feel like death the day after drinking too much alcohol, because it’s my punishment for poisoning my body. I need that reminder to be nice to my vessel.
Now that I’m a little more open to over-the-counter drugs, though, the only reason I ever need to go to the doctor is for freak accident. Like when a giant wooden pallet fell on my ankle when I was painting a rustic sign for my friend’s wedding. Or when I was doubling over in stomach pain during and after my honeymoon. (Emergency room two days after we returned! Yay!)
For someone as paranoid about contracting a terminal illness as I am, you’d think I’d at least get a check-up every few years. Nope. I hadn’t been to a primary care physician in…I don’t know…10ish years until last week.
The military has lots of perks– one of which is great healthcare. I’d heard a few complaints here and there about doctors on base, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Sure, the room wasn’t as fancily decorated as commercial doctor’s offices, but for the first time in my life, I felt completely taken care of by my physician. In the past, I could always tell that the doctor was just trying to get their job done as fast as possible, and assure me that xy and z symptoms I had were completely normal.
To quote the doc who told me the results of my ankle last autumn (after the pallet accident): “There might be a fracture, but I can’t quite tell. Come back in a month if it still hurts.”
WHY DID I JUST PAY YOU $50 IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TELL ME IF MY ANKLE IS BROKEN?? Fun fact, it’s been over a year, and it’s still swollen with alarming scars, still throbs heavily every once in a while, and on the occasion that my husband accidentally touches it with his foot when we’re sleeping, I black out in pain.
I’ll be getting it re-examined soon, I promise.
This crazy-long introduction is to say that I’ve never found the point in going to doctors. They’re a lot of money for very little results, in my opinion. Until now. I love my new doctor. She can take all
the government’s my [husband’s] money.
After some deep thought about why I never fully liked other doctors over the years, here’s the Top 5 things that make me like my new one, and I suggest looking for in choosing your own doctor. Yes, as adults, we eventually choose a primary care physician that we visit on a regular basis. This means you can shop around a bit. So look for these qualities:
Obviously, I want someone who knows what’s going on. I will say that, save the guy who read my x-rays last fall, my past doctors were knowledgable. Still, I couldn’t leave this requirement off the list of things to look for, because it’s like, minorly important I guess. I like when I can tick off a list of symptoms, and the doctor says “Oh, it could be this, this or this.” Not any of the, “Hmmm…interesting. Let’s see what the test says.” Really? You have no clue what could be going on before I take the test? Did you go to school? Should I let you put metal things in my body?
My husband’s father is a doc, and I told him about my ankle last weekend when we were visiting the fam. He listed like, 8 things that could be wrong. Now, none of them might be the real issue (I’m sure one of them is), but you better believe that I would trust him as my doctor. Plus he has a bushy silver mustache, which further encourages my confidence in his abilities.
2. Looks like a hugger
This may seem silly to you, but I’m telling you– someone who looks like they’d give you a hug if they were legally allowed to is someone who actually cares. And I want someone who actually cares to treat my illness. I’m sure that some stone-faced, rigid doctors are very good at their jobs, but I’m a cancer and we really need people to play to our emotions. A gentle smile and a concerned look goes a longgggg way.
I’ve told a few doctors about some random issues I’ve had in the last five years, and most of them have brushed it off and said I’m fine. When I told my new doctor about the symptoms, she immediately set up a time for me to come back in for a couple of tests, talked to me about my family history, and told me she wanted to have an answer ASAP. Wait, you mean, I’m not crazy for wanting to find out why abnormal things happen in my body??
4. His/her nurses seem happy
The nurse on base was the coolest. She told me I didn’t have to look at the scale when I was weighed, but of course I did anyway. Then she assured me how good I look and how healthy my weight is. Compliment me in the first 2 minutes, and we’re off to a great start. I could also tell that she liked my doctor, which is a huge sign as to what kind of person was evaluating my health. I only want nice people touching me, please and thanks.
If a doctor is clearly trying to leave the room as quickly as possible, I have no faith in his or her assessment. Listen, I’m sure that it’s annoying to explain things that seem trivial to you and your vast base of medical knowledge, but I’d really like to understand what’s going on with my insides in a way that I can explain to my dad when I call him immediately after I leave here. I also want to know that you’ve taken the time to listen to my concerns because, believe it or not, I probably have a better sense of my body than you do. If something feels really wrong, it probably is. Sit tight, use your noggin, and put some time into making me good as new.