Doctors Visit

Posted: August 6, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I just threw up in my mouth a little

I suffer from anxiety or “panic” attacks. I have for several years. They can be pretty awful. What might be the worst thing about them is the reactions I sometimes receive from other people, which is essentially a “get over it” type of response. This is the same sort of reaction many people who suffer from things like depression often get. My mother used to tell me that people have difficulties in understanding or having any compassion in regards to ailments they themselves haven’t suffered from. I suppose this is true. I’m not looking for sympathy here anyway. There are many lifestyle changes I can (and have) made, and in terms of physical or emotional ailments; my panic attacks are a relatively minor cross to bear. One of my favorite expressions is “If I want to see real misery I’ll visit a burn or cancer ward” Perspective in my not-so-humble opinion is a very important sense to have in life.


When I had medical insurance I saw a wonderful psychiatrist named Dr Termine. He was a disarming, younger fellow. Very kind and compassionate, but not a pushover. He didn’t allow me to BS him. Sadly I was no longer able to see him when I left my former job and lost my insurance. Dr Termine had given me SSRIs (Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors) These are medications like Prozac, Wellbutrin and the newer anti depressants which can also be used to combat anxiety attacks, social anxiety, PTSD…Coupled with lifestyle changes like cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and exercising more they really helped.


I started seeing a Filipino doctor in my neighborhood for the prescriptions that Dr Termine had given me. She was nice enough, but I didn’t care for her office. The staff in the medical clinic were either rude, hadn’t mastered the English language or both. My appointments were always at least an hour to an hour and a half late. I’ve noticed doctors never apologize for excessive lateness. There is a definite arrogance that abounds with many doctors and others in the medical field that I don’t care for. This is one of the reasons why I steal as much as possible when left alone for 45 minutes in some doctor’s inner office. I may have to pay $125 for a 15 minute appointment, but damn it, I’m walking with my pockets full of tongue depressors and alcohol swabs. That’ll show ’em!

 

Don’t you feel better looking at this? Come on, you know you do.


A person is not supposed to stop taking these medications abruptly, I had to do something. I decided to go with another doctor for the prescription. Last December I had gone to an urgent care clinic in Manhattan when my
wisdom teeth were having a temper tantrum and I needed anti-biotics and possibly pain killers. The clinic was fast, clean, efficient, good magazines in the waiting room and a mural of Cookie Monster in the children’s waiting area that cheered me up to look at. I was in and out in literally 25 minutes. I saw a nice, friendly younger doctor who took a looksee in my mouth and deemed my condition worthy of anti-biotics and pain killers. I decided to give the friendly clinic another go.

 


In the examination room a young Indian doctor joined me and the medical assistant in no time at all. I explained that I needed a refill for a standing prescription that I was not supposed to stop taking. I showed him the empty bottle. He

Why are the streets never this empty when I’m trying to get around Geriatric Rihanna?

asked which doctor I had been seeing and informed me that he knew her when I replied. He then began to lecture me that I should be following up with a psychiatrist for this sort of medication. I agreed with him and explained that I was an uninsured, poor working class stiff with little money and that I was also a student. He was not dissuaded and continued to lecture me. Then I got angry and began to argue with him in regards to what sort of psychiatric resources were available for the uninsured in the city (ie next to none..I know…I’ve looked) He kept saying how he worked in city hospitals and he just knew … I countered by asking him if he had ever asked anyone on the waiting rooms of these places how long they traveled to get there and how many hours they had been waiting? Was he aware of the rampant bureaucracy involved? He was young. I have reached yet another bittersweet milestone in life where I am now older than doctors and policemen, and in true grumpy old man fashion I now think they’re all idiots.


As we traded quips back and forth I felt a little bad for the medical assistant in the room. Looking back, maybe he is an arrogant little prick to work with and for too, so for all I know she may have appreciated the sweaty middle aged man seeking psychiatric medications giving Doogie Howser the what for. I was very tempted to give him a backhanded slap and watch his glasses fly across the room I later told Gow of my intense urge to slap him and she giggled and stated that she wished I had. I explained that slapping doctors is generally not very conducive to obtaining the prescription one came for in the first place. If it was, drug seeking addicts would have heavily calloused backs of hands and have little to no trouble in getting the meds they were seeking. I just shut my mouth and let Dr Smug get on with it. Later I thought that I should have asked him to take a look at the moderate case of excema that has been thriving on the back of my legs (and more appropriately on my tushy) for months. It would have been the perfect, yet subtle jab to make him reconsider the whole medical school decision.


I left with my prescription in hand and a muttering on my tongue for the long sweaty journey home.

And?

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