Saturday, October 15, 2011

We Are Open for Dialogue

First, my thanks to all of you who left such wonderful comments on my last ranting post.  I am so blessed to have wonderful Blog Friends; what would I do without you?  I don't want to know!  I so appreciated all your experiences with statins and encouragement to stick to my guns.  Do you want to know how it went?  Well, here goes:

After worrying all day long, finally it was time to leave for the appointment scheduled for 3:20PM.  I usually try to make my doctor appointments early in the day so I don't have to waste a day obsessing, but Carl wanted to come along with me, so I scheduled it for as late as possible.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate having Carl with me.  I am a nervous person (no, you'd never guess it, would you??) and having him there gives me the courage and support I need.  Especially lately; when I get overwrought I sometimes don't remember what the doctor said and then I forget to ask questions. And in the case of my former doctor, it was a relief to have Carl with me for two of the visits with her so he could see for himself what it was like.  He provided me with assurance I wasn't losing my mind or being overly sensitive. He agreed, she was truly an 'ursus maritimus' to the Nth degree (that's Latin for polar bear, lol) 
I need to learn to bloom even when I'm between a rock and a hard place.

More than you wanted to know yet again, but I have a problem with angry authority figures.   I grew up with a troubled father and can sense hostility a mile away.  Sometimes the lessons we learn in childhood serve us very well in adulthood, sometimes not.  As a consequence of living with an angry father, I learned early on to stuff my emotions as a protective measure against harm, and take what was dished out without saying a word, or God forbid, dissolving into tears.  I became a chameleon, changing my personality to fit what an inebriated adult wanted me to be, but it was no way to live, especially for a young child.  And repression is also a very unhealthy way to deal with intense emotions, because in the end, it will come out somewhere, somehow, very often in the form of depression.  I read years ago that depression was really just repressed anger.   

Repressed anger.  As if my anger needed any more pressing.  As a child I had no recourse, no choice, stuff the anger down or suffer the consequences.  I was too scared to even think of what the consequences would be having seen what could happen, so I gladly signed up for the People Pleaser's Stuffing Class, and that served me well, right up until my 30's when it all fell apart along with my thyroid.  Guess what?  It turns out a person can't stuff things down forever, there is a limit.

But when I'm confronted by a hostile person, let alone a doctor, my first go-to self-preservation reaction is to be a people-pleaser or at the very least, minimize the damage by vacating the area, often at the expense of my dignity.   I can't tell you how many times someone has literally stepped on my toes and I was the one apologizing to them because my toes were in the way.  Lessons from the distant past; I was around seven years old and holding a board for my father who was nailing something up in the barn and he missed and hit my hand instead.  The tears started to flow, but were halted immediately by his stern, "If your stupid hand wasn't there in the first place it wouldn't have gotten hit."  It was all my fault, I readily agreed and sucked it up.  I had to get tough.  But darn, it hurt.

I am now 53 years old and I have finally found a voice.  My old survival skills served me well way back when, but not any more.  When I was a kid, I lost myself in books, I read books like there was no tomorrow.  I could open a book and be lost in another place, another time, away from the chaos going on around me.  I was like that little kid named Brick on the TV show 'In the Middle' who adores library books and whispers to himself.  The public library was a haven, I loved the smell of that place.  Books and keeping a journal of my own saved my sanity.  I kept all my old diaries and sometimes I'll crack one open for old time's sake.  I haven't changed much, but that's gonna have to stop.

Maybe it is menopause, or maybe it's the realization that I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore (remember the movie 'Network'?) but in any event, I'm not as doormat-ish as I used to be, and I work hard at not going back to my old, 'It's OK, feel free to step on my toes' ways.  I gave myself a pep talk last night and bolstered by all the comments from my friends, I took a deep breath, steadied my nerves and got ready to meet the new doctor.

Talk about a difference!  She was such a refreshing change from ol' Ursus Maritimus.  I felt actual Mutual Respect for my opinions and concern for my feelings coming from her.  We discussed the thyroid and the statin problems and she agreed that the drug has had reports of causing muscle pain and weight gain.  "I am open for dialogue," she said when I asked what we could do to minimize the pain, "I will work with you to find another med or way to alleviate the pain."  She wasn't on board with doubting the efficacy of statin usage, though, but if I get my joints and muscles back in shape, maybe I can lose the excess weight and not need a statin anymore at all!  (Ok, so I can dream, can't I?)

I was sent for labwork and will hear results soon.  

I don't know if this doctor will be the perfect fit after only one visit, but Carl and I both came away with a very good first impression. 

She didn't demean me or tell me to increase my daily walk to 20 to 25 miles.  (Like the Polar Bear MD)
She didn't rant and rave about my weight.  (I did.)  
She didn't tell me to stop gardening.  (Like that would happen.)

She is 'Open for Dialogue.'  

Wonders never cease.

P.S. Thank you again, everyone.  You are all such blessings to me!


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I am so pleased she showed you the respect you deserve, and is willing to try new things. Now go whack a few rocks for me!
Sueb x

myomyohi said...

I'm glad to hear your new doctor is listening, and hears what you are saying. Remember, you are paying them and if you don't like the service you get, try another, just like a mechanic. A doctor patient relationship needs to include respect, and bullying is not an acceptable part of the relationship.

I hope you start feeling better soon.

El Gaucho said...

So glad that you found a better doctor. I wish doctors would read this as a cautionary tale about what bullying and crappy bedside manner can do for you. Have you visited one of those sites where you can rate your doctor? It might give you a sense of closure if you can write an honest review of what a terrible doctor they are and possibly keep others from suffering the same fate.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

So glad Karen that you found someone who wil talk to you like a person! Doctors are people who just went to school a little longer, should make them more understanding not less!


Junebug said...

I am so glad your new Dr. has taken the time to listen. They seen to rush every patient though these days. I hope the joint pain will ease, soon. Hang in there, they aren't all like Polar Bear

Rosemary said...

I so hope this Dr turns out to be the best for you so far sounds very good.... Glad you have found your voice at 53 cause at 65 I am still trying to find mine tho I too am far better than I used to be more taking other peoples crap........ but gosh it is hard.

deb said...

Amen! You've been on my mind..wondering how it went. So glad this one is listening and actually hearing you! I pray she will be "the real thing" for you. You deserve to be respected and heard.
Congratulations on finding your life kind of paralles yours..with a father then a husband. After 37 yrs of crap I am going through a nasty divorce...would he have it any other way? of course not. But I am trying to find my is very hard at times, heck most of the time. I never expected myself to be in this situation but here I am. Sometimes I think I was weak to be able not to take it anymore. I wish wish I could be mad or hate him...see what stuffing does? My counselor says I will eventually, it's just been stuffed for so long it has to work it's way out.
Anyway, I sure hope you feel better soon and get on the right track with the meds and such.
Take care and have a great weekend!
Keep us posted!!

Randy Emmitt said...


What you need to do is join the protest on wall street. I bet it would really be helpful to you and the cause. The system is broken and it needs fixed. Glad your new doc is much better.

Alison said...

I'm so glad you've found a doctor who is willing to listen to you! And glad to hear you've found a voice for your anger and all your other feelings too. I know what it means to be a stuffer, I've done it too. In my case, it was really my mother more than my dad who tried to negate me, although my dad was no picnic either.

Feel better soon! Maybe you will reach a point where you don't need the statin, you never know!

Pamela Gordon said...

That's just awesome! So glad she was kind and understanding and you may get some answers to help you. Thanks for sharing too. That's hard to do and I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to share with your 'stranger' friends. Blessings to you! Pamela

HolleyGarden said...

Very good! It's nice to find a doctor that has a good bedside manner. So many young ones these days do not, it seems. I hope things work out for you, and your medications can be decreased.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Karen, Good blogger friends, a sympathetic doctor, a wonderful husband, and gardening. Sounds to me like a prescription for full recovery. P. x

Unknown said...

A great husband, all that rock picking and fresh air. What doctor could possibly want more? I think of all the couch potatoes out there that would not even think of going outside let alone pick up a 50 pound rock.

Happy to hear you found a doctor that would talk with you and not down to you. Keeping my fingers crossed for good blood work results.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Karen,
My husband is diabetic and has had both good and bad doctors. (He had a stint put in his heart in his early 40's).
As in your experience, the bad doctors would attack him about his blood sugar levels and made him feel depressed and angry at himself. I am sure they were well meaning and thought they were doing the right thing, but they weren't motivating him to watch what he ate. They were only making him feel upset.
As to the medicines, it hasn't been easy. One drug has disastrous side effects. He was sleeping constantly and always had an upset stomach. We discovered the hard way, that you need to go back and say, this isn't working! What other drugs are available? The diabetes drug he takes now seems to have few ill effects.
I think you have done the right thing to go to another doctor. Don't be shy, question everything and take care of yourself.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sandy said...

Oh Karen, Your story about your angry father took me back to mine! We 4 kids were so afraid of our father.... a well respected man with a job that took us all over the world and behind the walls of our home was what we kids called "A torture chamber"... Each of us left home at early ages but he finally dumped me and my mom in Germany and he left us there.... I also grew up saying "I'm sorry" to everyone for things I did not do! We have a lot in common!
I'm happy to hear you found a doctor who listens to you and pray she will help you!
Hang in there!
Thanks for your visit today and kind words.. I got up for the first time in a week! The real Flu is not fun but I survived and hope to venture out tomorrow, if Mr N lets
Take care of yourself and good luck with the new doctor...

Karen said...

Sueb, I am back whacking those rocks again. Thanks for the encouragement!

myomyohi, you are so right! I don't know why I let doctors (or anyone) bully me and then pay them for the privilege. I hope she's a good mechanic, this ol' wreck needs work.

Karen said...

El Gaucho, I took your advice and looked the Polar bear up online and found only two reviews for her. Now I wish I'd looked there before I selected her as an MD. (She did come highly recommended by a cousin of mine.) I know, two reviews aren't much, but both of them could have been written by me. 'Talked about other patients and her own problems, very critical' & 'Demeaned me, made me feel worthless.' Well, it wasn't just I feel better. Sort of.

Karen said...

Eileen, you are so right, they are simply educated in medicine, not gods. I hate it when they put themselves on pedestals and I'm too silly not to be intimidated.

June, well, we'll see how this new one works out. So far, she's nice, but it's the same rhetoric, too, 'you need to take a statin'.....I'm still on the fence with this one, too much reading out there to the contrary.

Rosemary, why do we take guff from others? I have no wish to turn into a crazed harpy yelling at everyone, but really, there's no reason for anyone to be disrespected. (Especially when I paid her bill!)

Deb, my heart goes out to you, my father was a hard man to live with, but I was ever so lucky with Carl. My mother put up with 60 years of misery, and is now relishing her widowhood of the last ten years joyfully. She found her voice at age 81! (We can do this, Deb, I know we can.) I pray you find joy after all the misery of your divorce. You deserve this and SO much more. Hugs to you.

Karen said...

Randy, yes, we do need change.

Alison, greetings to a fellow former stuffer. Congratulations on getting out this particular club! I'm sorry to hear both of your parents were difficult; my mother was loving, thank goodness. Without her, I don't know where I would have been. I don't know about the statins, whenever there is a lot of money to be made in pushing them, I get uneasy. And, I hurt!

Karen said...

Pamela, thank you, and my 'stranger' friends are among the very best, too!

Holley, yes, we'll see how it goes, thank you for the good wishes.

Pam, yes, things should start looking up soon. Thank you!

Cindy, let's hope this works...she seemed reasonable, so that's a good start, right?

Jennifer, you and your husband can definitely relate. I don't know why some doctors think being abrasive is the best way to make a person well. Belittling an already ill person just makes them feel worse. And the meds...I sometimes wonder if the cure isn't worse than the illness. Scary stuff out there, and who knows if it is prescribed for monetary gain? We have to be our own fearless advocates, but they surely do make it difficult, don't they? Best wishes to you and your husband!

Sandy, I find it amazing how many people have had similar childhoods, and then we wonder why we feel the need to apologize for things that are clearly not our fault? Being raised by tyrants imprints a child's personality with survival skills that served us well when we were young, but as we age, it is counterproductive. I'm so happy for you that you have a kind Mr. N to share your life with, we can start over at any time and have a happy childhood. I certainly am glad to hear you're feeling a teeny bit better, darn that ol' flu!

mudderbear said...

I'm so happy to hear that things went well at the doctors. Whew, eh? Some of them ARE good.

I have come to the conclusion that all that is blamed on menopause...mood swings, etc.... is really just us women finally saying "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna' take it anymore!!" We are just too tired to put up with all the [pardon me] crap anymore. Keep smiling. It looks like things will be better.

Lona said...

Oh doesn't it feel wonderful to have a doctor that will work with you and which really listens to you? LOL!
Not all statin's are the same and I think it is great that you are going to try different ones to help you.I know I cannot take certain medicines like Tricor because it gives me leg cramps.
We need to get you feeling better girl.