Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doctor Headaches, Books, and Sin

More therapy today...more tears, but way fewer than last week so, like, go me! And mostly, go Dr. P! The plan right now is to get me set up with a pain specialist in College City, to whom I will essentially dictate the terms of my treatment (unfortunately, I seem to know more about the nerve pain than 90% of the doctors I've seen)—a.k.a. "prescribe me this drug," "run these labs," "refer me to this subspecialist" etc. Plus, in a perfect world this new doctor would be in contact with Dr. A, who is just about the only one I trust at the moment.

I've gotten over any self-consciousness about being needy, demanding, and skeptical in the doctors' office; I'm THAT patient who's all like, "Why are you doing that? What are you thinking? Could this be anything else? I read xyz online, is that relevant? Why didn't you catch this last time? Should I get a second opinion? How long until I feel better? What are you writing? Can I read my file? What's your home phone number? Where can I find you at midnight on a Friday? What's your cat's name?" ...you get the point. I just figure, if they make me jump through hoops to get an appointment, I might as well make the most of it.

Sorry for that lil rant—I got doctors on the brain. I've probably spent about 4 of the past 24 hours on the phone either on hold, spelling my name and repeating my date of birth a zillion times, negotiating with nurses, demanding politely requesting to speak with the doctor, and refusing to give my social security number. (Seriously guys, they don't need it.)

In other news, I've got a stack of books a mile high waiting to be read. I made the mistake of delving into Freedom by Jonathan Franzen—I don't particularly like it, but have now invested so much time that I should probably just get through it. I hate not finishing books. It feels like a sin comparable to something like throwing plastic bottles in the trash can or not changing my sheets once a week. These things bother me.

Speaking of sin, I went to a Catholic mass on Sunday. Not exactly sure why, other than that I needed something non-active to do that morning besides sit in my apartment and mope. As you may recall, I am not religious. I've attended cousins' first communions and my grandparents' funerals and stuff, but my religious education has consisted of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. That being said, I do find the whole mass ritual quite beautiful. I love the peace offering—there is something incredibly moving about a stranger holding your hand to say, "Peace be with you." Maybe because both my parents were raised Catholic (actually, I was baptized Catholic as well, but have never practiced), it all feels vaguely comforting and familiar.

So anyway, I was sitting in that church, looking like a total imposter as everyone else rattled off the Lord's Prayer and recited the responses right on cue, wondering what I've been missing. I looked up at the gorgeous ceiling painted with scenes from the Bible, the stained-glass windows, and tried to pray. Not sure if I did it right, or if there even is a right way, but I found myself so desperate for some greater power outside the human bureaucracy and the stupid automated phone message systems and the appointment scheduling protocols and the broken fax machines that mean my medical records never end up in the right place, that I tried. Maybe that's the point.

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