Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What's Next?

Never throw up your hands in frustration and ask, "What's next?!" 
 I mean it.  
Truly, don't do it.  
You'll regret it.  
I sure do.

I'm in a not so good place again.  And I'm waiting on a doctor's appointment this coming Thursday to help me figure out what's happening.  I don't want to go into the nitty-gritty, not for prime time details, but I don't know of any other way to put it.  

Maybe I should back up this story a little bit.  I've been having all sorts of bladder and back issues, and a lot of pain here, there and everywhere, mostly in my, ahem, ok, I'll say it, boob region. 

So imagine my surprise after six years of menopause to find myself back in the feminine hygiene products department of our local grocery store searching in vain for a 'wingless' variety of sanitary napkin.  This is the department I had been marching through with nary a glance for those same six years.  Nope, I had no need of any winged or wingless versions any longer.  No, sirree.

Until Thanksgiving Day.  We had gone to Thanksgiving dinner at a niece's house and had fun, but I was feeling a little off.  When we got home, I found out why.

I was so stunned.  I think if one of my ears had fallen off I would have been less surprised.  And then the fear sank in.  Oh, no.  This isn't good.  This can't be good.  This is definitely NOT good. 

Of course, being a holiday, there was no use calling a doctor and on Friday my hormone doctor's office is not open.  Luckily, we celebrated a belated Thanksgiving here with Joel, Abby, Audrey, David, Ann and Mom here for dinner on Friday which helped keep my mind off my woes.  Hard to find time to worry while cooking, cleaning and having fun with family. 

But the next two days I sat in my anxiety stew, simmering away at a low boil.  Saturday was particularly bad, all my fears came to a head and I was a wreck.  I didn't know what to do.  I often have what I call 'rat in a maze' syndrome when presented with a problem; my mind tries to find a way out of the situation.  Try as I might, there was no solution or explanation at hand.

And then you know what I did.  I hit good ol' Google.  Oh, Google.  How I love you.  And how you scare me.  Let me count the ways...

I found during my panicked research that I'm not alone in having this happen at my age, which calmed me down a little, but it is definitely not normal.  Every site I visited strongly urged a visit to a doctor as soon as possible.

So then I started thinking about my doctor options and panicked yet again.  I knew my GP would probably refer me to my gynecologist. I had seen my Ob/gyn a year ago and gotten an all clear from her, but the appointment had not been pleasant.  I'd been questioned about my choice of medications for thyroid and about hormone replacement therapy options my current doctor had prescribed.  And when I answered those questions, I was told I was being bamboozled.  And I caught her nurse rolling her eyes in disdain.  Long story short, I felt belittled.  I'd pretty much decided I wouldn't return to the practice.

So now that it's a certainty I will need the services of an Ob/Gyn, I was stumped. Where should I go? 

 My next move was to call my amazing network of friends and request their top doc recommendations.  I will say I felt relief talking about my fears; every one of the ladies I spoke with is concerned for me, but kept reassuring me I shouldn't jump to worst case scenarios.  After the phone calls, I was much calmer.  Why borrow trouble when trouble comes along soon enough, right?

Monday morning dawned dark and drizzly, matching my mood.  I was still in my pajamas when I made the first call to the hopeful new Ob/Gyn's office.  I asked to speak to her nurse and was captivated by how helpful and hopeful she was, a true gem.  But, she cautioned, the doctor in question was now part-time and my first appointment could not be until January 23.  As in 2017.  As in too far away.  Oh, no.

"Would you want to try to get in with one of the other doctors in the practice?" she asked.

I was sad about losing the best doctor candidate, but agreed.  After going through the scheduling for the other eight doctors, the earliest I could get in with another doctor was December 23.  Wow, that's still four weeks.  Four weeks for my mind to run around in the Rat Maze.  

I sighed, picked up the phone and dialed the number of my current Ob/Gyn.  I asked to speak to her nurse and was immediately sorry I did.  The nurse was more or less in 'I told you so' mode, reviewing my last visit and their recommendations which I had apparently not followed.   I did have many changes made to my medications in the following year's time but not enough to satisfy this nurse. In short, after a round of questions and answers, her attitude was basically, 'Now you find yourself in a mess, surprise, surprise.   What do you want us to do about it?'  

Ok, she didn't say that, but it was sarcastically implied.

I felt so chastised.  I didn't have much to say in my defense. I felt like I should say, 'Ok, I brought all of this on myself,  I'm sorry to trouble you.'  

"We can see you on Friday, Dec. 2," she said, unexpectedly.

"Ok, thank you," I said and hung up.  I was walking up to Mom's for her morning meds at the time and the drizzle camouflaged my traitorous tears.  

I walked right past Mom's, oblivious to the raw wind and spitting rain.  The more I thought about going to see the hostile doctor, the more I started to panic.  I put a call into the doctor's office who prescribes my hormones and was told they'd get back to me.

I turned around and walked back to Mom's.  Right away she could tell something was up. I didn't want to tell her; she doesn't need anything to worry about.  She took her medication and regarded me with worried eyes, "I know something's wrong, what is it?"

Right at that moment my cellphone rang, and I told her I'd be right back.  My phone cannot hold a signal in her house, so I had to take it outside.  It was my hormone doctor's office calling.  I outlined my problem and also the two appointments I had at my disposal; which one do I take?  The later one with my preferred doctor or this Friday with the hostile one?  

The nurse sympathized with me about the hostility, but urged me to take the earlier appointment.  My heart sank, but I know she was right.  Before I went back in, I called my dear daughter-in-law, Abby, for the second time that morning and paced around in circles outlining my concerns.  Two heads are definitely better than one at a time like this, especially when my head isn't hitting on all cylinders.

Our call was cut short by another call from my hormone doctor's nurse saying she'd spoken with the doctor again and yes, please do take the earliest possible appointment.  And just a suggestion: if I wasn't happy with my current Ob/Gyn, maybe my general practitioner would see me for an exam?  Well, maybe.....

At that moment, Mom was outside looking for me.  I went back in with Mom and finally came clean about the whole thing.  In a way, I think she was quite relieved.  She doesn't understand much of it, (who does?) however, she was glad to hear the truth.  

I walked home from Mom's by twelve thirty and found myself becoming more despondent again.  Gads, do I really want to see the hostile doc?  How do I know if her evaluation will be non-biased?  This just didn't feel right.

In the midst of all of this agonizing I called my dear friend, Nancy, who listened and sympathized with me and kept me from falling completely off the Cliff of Hope.  Ann, of course, is also my lifeline and we went back and forth with all sorts of 'what if' scenarios.  My dear friends Terry and Patti have also been a great help to me, too.  And of course, Joel and Abby and David, who support me in all of this.  I am so deeply grateful to them all.

Finally I plucked up the courage to call my GP's nurse.  She was very kind and said no, he wouldn't perform any exams, but would be glad to refer me to an Ob/Gyn.  Should she see what appointments would be available?  Oh, yes, please!

I was back on the phone with Nancy, commiserating and debating some more when the nurse called me back.  I now have an appointment with another Ob/Gyn for Thursday, December 1.   I thanked her warmly for all her help. 

For some reason, a sense of calm came over me after the call. Nothing had changed about my predicament, but at least I wasn't dreading facing an angry doctor.  I mean, the new doctor can't despise me already, can she?  We haven't even met.  Give her some time to get to know me. 

I don't know what will happen next.  I'm not completely terrified, just around the edges.   But my friends caution me not to think of worst case scenarios, but darn, they have a way of creeping in.  I'm not a fan of the waiting game.  

In high school whenever I had to give a speech, I would always volunteer to go first so I could get it over with.  It was always such a relief to have my turn behind me.  I would gladly be the first in line at the doctor's office to get this over with, but Thursday isn't too far off any more.   I just need to think positive and get some work done around here tomorrow.  The last few days have been a waste.  

Worry is a bad habit.  How's that saying go?  'Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but you don't get anywhere'.   

It's time to get out of my rocking chair and get on with life. 

(I can't sit for very long anyway due to my back, so I guess I should look for another quote?)

"Yesterday.  All my troubles seemed so far away."  How true....we need to appreciate all the days, don't we?

Wish me luck.  I truly need it.




FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dearest Karen ~ You are in my thoughts and prayers. Worrying is a big problem I have and it's awful! Most of what we worry about never happens. I'm glad you got an earlier appointment and also that you are NOT going to that hostile dr.

Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

It is so good that you were able to find a doctor who could give you an earlier appointment and who is not hostile. It seems that so many doctors have very long wait times for appointments now.

I have some doctors that are wonderful; but I have left other doctors' offices in the past thinking to myself that I would rather have gone to our dog's veterinarian. He is much more caring. One time I had an appointment at a specialist in the morning, and then took my daughter's sick guinea pig to the vet that afternoon. The guinea pig received a more thorough and careful examination than I had that day.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you find yourself with a wonderful new doctor for your upcoming appointment.

Susie D.

Alison said...

I'm going to wish you luck and offer a virtual hug! Also, about 7 years ago my sister had similar symptoms to yours. She needed a hysterectomy, which went really well, and now she's doing just fine! I'm so glad you managed to get an earlier appointment with a different ob-gyn who isn't going to be hostile.

Karen said...

Rainey, thank you so much. Worrying is the worst, isn't it? So many what ifs and what nows. I'll try to keep busy. :-)

Susie, Amen to that! I have had the same experiences at the vet with our late dogs; the care and concern the veterinary staff showed my pets was amazing compared to some of the medical profession I've been involved with. Maybe it's not just me?

Alison, thank you for the hug and for the encouragement. :-) Oh, I was really, really dreading an appointment of this magnitude with a doctor who already had a bad opinion of me. I'm trying to remain hopeful. (And staying busy!)

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Karen, you're in our thoughts and prayers and hoping your doc appt tomorrow goes well. I don't think there is anything worse than having to go to a hostile nurse and/or doctor. Been there and done that with a nurse and it wasn't good at all. I'm so glad you are going to another doc. Hope all goes well!! Sending hugs.


Carol said...

Good luck with your appointment.... it's uncommon to have that happen at all but always wise to check things out. Both of my parents are surprise babies (my dad's a twin so in his case double surprise) both grandmothers had been in menopause for nearly 10 years and boom periods again and then AH-OH babies !

Carol said...

That first sentence should read not uncommon :/

Anonymous said...

Being a worrier, I can appreciate the saying 'Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but you don't get anywhere'. If only we could stop worrying. It sounds like you have a really good support system and good friends you can talk to. If you keep all three appointments you can get a 2nd and 3rd opinions... I hope for nothing but good news on Thursday.

outlawgardener said...

Thinking of you always and know that this will work out well for you. Sending you calm & healing thoughts and prayers. Why do some doctors think that they can abuse their patients? Yikes!