I’m writing this in a heated moment of frustration, as I’ve just left the doctors office. I just have one question: Do doctors get PAID to make their patients feel like they’re never good enough? Like, all our hard work and valiant efforts go unnoticed and unmentioned? Maybe they get a little extra commission if they can make you cry. I wouldn’t know. I never went to Med School. But, I DO know that I am a relatively-healthy diabetic prego who is trying her best to keep her numbers in check so her baby doesn’t come out with six legs and a curly tail.
I’m not going to say that I’m not feeling the pressure, because I absolutely am. Every time I have a high blood sugar or wake up lying on my back or drink a sip of coffee, I feel like I’m not “taking care of myself” to the level that Doctor Almighty thinks I should be. I tell myself to try harder and stick with it, but it’s such an overwhelming, all-consuming, time-intensive full-time job that I have a hard time keeping focus.
All pregnant women see the doctor. Most pregnant women are told they could be doing something differently to ensure better health for her and her baby. I have 49 doctor appointments scheduled in the next 70 days. That is an average of one appointment every 1.4 days. Granted, some are piled up on the same day one after another, but a woman can only take getting pricked, pierced, and prodded for so long. I know it’s in my “best interest,” but days like today when I walk in with my head held high because I thought things were running smoothly, and walk out feeling like a was shat on by Patch Adams himself, don’t make me look forward to my additional 48 upcoming visits.
The best part about today’s visit was my complete lack of hormonal control. I knew I was feeling emotional when I walked in and got treated like hangover vomit by the lady behind the scheduling desk. Emotion: ANGER. Then, I got some blood drawn and my blood pressure taken. I was told everything was in order. Emotion: HAPPINESS. The nurse told me that my doctor was being shadowed by a resident and asked if I would mind him tagging along. Emotion: UNEASINESS. Doctor Never-Been-A-Diabetic walks in and looks through my book of blood sugars, making note of the numerous gaping holes of time when I didn’t check my blood every two hours. Emotion: EMBARRASSMENT.
“What’s been happening with these numbers?” she asks.
“Well, let me tell you…” I took a deep breath and with one simple question, she had turned an everyday endocrinology appointment into a 20-minute therapy session. Hey, she’s the one who opened the door. Don’t ask me an open-ended question if you want a simple Yes or No.
“I know I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit in the last few weeks. I’m stressed and not sleeping. I’m sore and tired. I can’t exercise comfortably. I eat a lot. Counting carbs is not simple for me right now because it requires that I consult my little doctor-written (illegible) notepaper with the latest insulin-to-carb ratios with me every time I want to sneak a peanut M&M. You talk in lingo I barely understand – ‘If fasting, let’s do a 1 over 30 ratio, unless your sugar is greater than 160 before bed, but not in the morning since you seem to be more on a 4 per carb schedule around noon so let’s up your bolus in the morning and hope for the best in the evening.’ Ummm….lather, rinse, repeat please. I have NO idea what you just said. Math is hard enough for a normal person, but twice as hard for an art major, so please…talk slowly. My life is not boring and monotonous. Spontaneity is one element of my life that I pride myself on, so please, don’t take that away from me because I require anal-retentive consistency if I want to live past 80. I’m pregnant. I’m easily irritated. I’m behind at work. I practically live at your clinic. I have nothing in my bank account, and every time I pay your $35 co-pay, it makes me want to strangle somebody.”
Ahhh….her face was priceless. And, if you thought that was good, you should’ve seen the look on the resident’s face. Without words, this man conveyed a sense of fear, shame, and doubt that he had quite possibly gotten himself into the wrong profession. “Mailmen don’t deal with situations like this, do they?” I could see it all in his face. Seven years of education down the toilet.
Eventually, I sucked my tears back into my head and sniffed the snot back up my nose, I composed myself just long enough to have a rational discussion about diabetes. Is that why I was there? Oops. I was way off!
After we got that out of the way, she sheepishly suggested that I talk to my OB about anxiety medication and left the room. Hmph. I’ll give YOU anxiety medication!
Upon reflection, maybe doctors DO deserve a commission if they make patients cry. After all, a $35 co-pay is a heck of a lot cheaper than a trip to the therapist. And today, I’m going to guess that we both got our money’s worth.