Doctor, must you belch and remove all doubt of your credibility?

Eleven days into July, not much to show for it, at least not that I remember. Time is like that for me now. If I don’t write things down, I have no memory of them; there are barely even blurry impressions.

Once again, I’m in the throes of a sort-of bout of health anxiety. I believe I may have finally reached the end-stages of hypochondria, at which point if I were to receive a sought-after diagnosis, I’d be too worn out to even deal with it. I’ve played out various scenarios so many times in my mind that I don’t think I have the energy left for the real thing.

I was going to call my endless trips to doctors “exhausting,” but I realized that’s disrespectful to people who actually need to go to doctors, so I’ll settle for calling them “exhausting-the-precious-time-and-resources-of-other-people.”

The other day, I visited my endocrinologist to monitor my thyroid disease. Yet, somehow I left the office with an order for a breast and axillary (armpit) lymph node ultrasound. But why? Did I somehow telepathically influence the doctor to give me yet another useless test, or do I actually have anything to worry about?

My mother was waiting for me in the car, and when I got in, I lied and said the test was for my thyroid, just a baseline check because I hadn’t had one in a year.

After this test, if everything comes out alright, I’m just going to hang up my hypochondriac’s hat and call it day. Whatever happens in the future, happens. I can’t give any more time to poking and prodding myself, or researching medical problems and watching cancer vlogs. I trapped myself into it by saying, “Well, if a person has to suffer through this, then the least I can do is listen.” But sometimes I swear that I’m living vicariously through them in preparation of when my day comes.

We hypochondriacs have a strange relation to doctors—on the one hand, we distrust them and we don’t believe them when they say we’re fine, because we’re dying, but we must rely on them to rubber-stamp our self-diagnosis. Nothing is real until they say so, even though we’re dying.

And yes, the doctor did burp while handwriting his copious notes and I was appalled and grinned behind my mask and felt a little nervous too. Ought I to lose respect in such a situation, or since it was very minimal, let it pass? Is this doctor even any good? Does a competent doctor burp? How many more false alarms will these people give me?

Meanwhile, my most recent PMS was very weepy and everything is still making me sad.

Just imagine: I have three new trainees, and all of them couldn’t start on time because someone in their lives either died or is on the verge of death. And the scary part is that I actually believe them. Why, I even cried a bit when I thought about it. Well, I did laugh a little too. Sometimes I laugh when it’s not funny.

Then I was pushing my cart through CVS and I saw this:

How freaking depressing is that? I looked it up on Amazon and the testimonials are heartbreaking. People talk about how they gave the toy to their parent with dementia and how they loved it, petted it, etc., in some cases even believing it’s real. How sad that society has reached the point at which we hand off our elderly to the care of a stuffed animal, the elderly whose minds have eroded enough as to be unaware that they are holding a dead thing instead of a living hand, that they’re hearing a robotic “meow” instead of a human “I love you.”

Sometimes the sadness of life is just too overwhelming. Everything seems so pathetic, so pitiable, that you could cry just thinking about it. So pointless. Why does everything have to age and decay and die and be so, so sad?

I spend about an hour and a half every Friday night at church—Mass followed by an hour of Adoration. I am fortunate to belong to a beautiful church; its architecture and interior encourage transcendent thoughts. The only thing that makes me feel any better is reflecting that someday all of this misery shall pass, it will all be left behind us, and there will be peace.

If souls are eternal, what is a bothersome armpit to me? They’ll scan my breast and armpit and if it’s nothing, then I’ll live with the bother. And if it’s something, I’ll have no choice but to accept it. Why kick and scream? Where has kicking and screaming got me?

My principle shall be this: when it comes to myself, think of the eternal and not put so much importance on my own problems. When it comes to others, treat their problems as of immediate importance.

That doesn’t mean I won’t vent, because I have feelings and fears and they simply have to be dealt with. But I can’t let them overcome me. Recognize, rationalize, release.

All of this, of course, will go out the window Monday morning at 10am, because I have no self-control.

48 thoughts on “Doctor, must you belch and remove all doubt of your credibility?

  1. Aaaaah I can hear you screaming internally about the test. I hope everything turns out okay, Hetty. The doctor probably had too much hot sauce on his breakfast burrito. Nothing to worry about.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh btw, that cat marketed for old people!!! Oh dear christ. I completely share your opinion on that! That is horrendously depressing and heartbreaking. So much so that it becomes funny in a dark, wry way, at the insanity of what people can come up with to avoid caring for each other.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I just leaned a new syndrome, “catasrophizing”. Perhaps add it to your list. Although in today’s world, it seems more like rational thinking. Good luck. Duke

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Man! PmS makes more sensitive and once it passes we become a bit normal.

    As for your scan. And the soul being eternal. I would say take God’s healing power to heal, give strenght and support. Being eternal is helpful. But we still have to live in this ill body, so we need to make this body well. Otherwise life that I have to live becomes harder and I can’t do good. If that makes sense.

    Hugs hugs

    Venting is necessary sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. All joking aside, one thing I’ve learned with PMS is that it magnifies stuff that bothers me, so if something is sending me over the edge, that tells me I’ve got to look closer at it to see why it’s bothering me. The key is keeping your reason and not emotions in control.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. If our body is ill to the point it distracts us, we can’t get too far with mental/spiritual health practices. But if our mental and spiritual parts are strong, they can help us overcome the pain of the body. Actually, a lot of studies have been done on the power of the mind to heal the body because many illnesses stem from psychological causes. It’s a very fascinating subject.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I totally agree. Our mental and spiritual practise help and a lot health issues are psychological. But I think when the pain is too great we can’t always do our spiritual practice as we would like. That is why we do mental and spiritual practices daily to build up that strenght

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Doc: “You’ve been diagnosed with… life.”
    Me: “Is it terminal?”
    Doc: “I’m afraid so. We give you zero to 60 years, give or take, depending on your lifestyle, genetics and the Universe’s sense of humor.”
    Me: “Is there anything I can do?”
    Doc: “Do?”
    Me: “You know, as a cure.”
    Doc: “Uh, not really. But I can prescribe some opioids.”
    Me: “I’ve heard they’re addicting.”
    Doc: “Well, then, how about you join our support group. It’s called ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ It meets every morning when you wake up.”
    Me: “I’ll be there.”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Belching doctor?

    Okay.

    Not quite as bad as a masturbating psychiatrist that I experienced once but I’m sure a belching doctor is quite discombobulating.

    When I was experiencing severe depression in 2011 a year after my dad died, my dad’s friends said I should go see a psychiatrist.

    I went once.

    When in an effort to get to know me, the psychiatrist asked me to name a few of my favourite things and favourite people, I happened to mention that Johnny Depp was my favourite contemporary American actor.

    This got him all excited.

    He went on for 20 minutes about how “absolutely marvelous” (his words) Johnny Depp was in playing the role of Hunter S. Thompson.

    His erection in his skin tight pants about Depp as Thompson and his trying to massage it down with a psychiatry textbook as he continued to blather on about how much this cinematic performance affected him caused me not to take anything he said seriously after that.

    I’ve never been back to see a psychiatrist since.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Uhhhh…..yeeeeeaaaaaahhh…. You win with that one. I would’ve screamed at the top of my lungs and run out of the room if I saw anything resembling that! Ugh so sorry that that happened to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Hetty.

        My best friend in University whose father was a judge always said it was his belief that many psychiatrists went into the profession to try to solve their own problems.

        After that experience, I think he’s absolutely right.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think there’s truth in that. I had a therapist who was very helpful, I made great progress, but she was obviously a lapsed Catholic. If I mentioned my beliefs even in an offhand way she’d get visibly triggered and try and prove them wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Maybe the first red flag should have been his carrying a psychiatry textbook in the first place. Sort of like when you’re at Best Buy and ask a question about a product, and the salesperson picks up the box and starts reading the information on the back.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. As carefree as I try to be, I have to admit that certain non-verbal cues do change the way I think about people. And it constantly changes as they continue to act too. It’s just that I don’t know what my guidelines are. My subconscious just gives me a final tally at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it weird how sometimes a single expression can flash across someone’s face and turn you off them entirely? I believe the subconscious does “tally” stuff up as we go. Some people we feel so attached to, and others put us off, before we’re even able to articulate why.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The doctor/patient relationship is kind of a delicate thing, I think, since the doctor is supposed to be an “authority.” When mistakes are made, you expect at least a professional response to it. Once I was seeing a doctor who had more or less a temper-tantrum when I expressed concern over the side-effects I had read about for one of my medications. He stood, said “I hate Google,” and left the examination room. And never came back. Neither did I.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What an insecure little man he must have been. While I am sure it can be frustrating at times to deal with google doctors like me, it is very legitimate for patients to research their drugs. That should be a no-brainer. They get so mad at patients sometimes that there must be some deep-seated psychological reason why.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. After all, I’ve been prescribed medications where instructions very explicitly warned against taking without food, for fear of hypoglycemia, and the doctor never mentioned it. What do they expect?
        In the incident I described, it so happened that the information I was concerned about was in the pamphlet handed me my the pharmacist when I picked it up. I mentioned it because I was hoping for some reassurance that it was really OK, and not for a debate. Anyway, it’s understandable, I guess, but from that point on, I could never feel like I could communicate effectively with that particular doctor, so I switched.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I remember seeing a product similar to the cat, although it was a dog, but similarly marketed to the very elderly who wouldn’t be able to care for a real animal. And I saw it on a TV Home Shopping Channel, which adds another level to the promotional advertising of such a product. I also felt weird and sad.

    You write about the hypochondria and doctors with such wry, dark humor and it’s a great read, but I know it reflects a shitty experience. Good luck with the test, and wishing you good health!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey. When I see stuff like that, I get this overwhelming feeling of sadness for everything in general. Everything seems so meaningless and sad and pathetic. As you point out, the promotional advertising only adds to it. Thank you for your warm wishes! I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, totally hear you. I work in consumer products, so my life work is essentially to make products that people will buy. On the one hand, people need/want/use these products (I am not going to specify exactly what the products are for anonymity). On the other hand, I often feel a sense that this is meaningless and pointless.

        Liked by 2 people

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