This will likely be one of the most raw entries I will ever do. Forgive me as I travel down this rabbit hole.
I went to the doctor today. I went for a very specific purpose. It was not an annual physical, although it has been a year since my last physical exam. I had a mole that I wanted looked at.
The doctor did indeed look at the mole. He stared at it intently. He asked a couple of questions and agreed that it did look odd. Of course, if I felt that it had changed, we absolutely had to investigate it further. He talked to me about what that looked like. I agreed that having it removed and biopsied was a fine idea with me.
As he typed away at his computer, I said I had another question for him.
He said, ok, but first...
He asked about the hysterectomy I had about 10 years ago. (Yes, I had a hysterectomy. No they didn't take my cervix. Yes, it had been 5 years since my last pap smear. Yes, I should get one. Next year, he said.)
He asked about my gallstones. Any issues? (No)
He asked about my last mammogram. (Yes, I am overdue. I would like to schedule it.)
He confirmed my age (48). He advised that at 50 I would have to have a colonoscopy. (Great. He also shared a tip he had received from a patient about taking the prep for the colonoscopy - Adding Sprite to it and drinking quickly. Thanks. I'll remember that in 2 years.)
He asked if I was taking the cholesterol medication he had prescribed last year. (No.)
He reminded me that my blood work, from 13 months ago, revealed high cholesterol (that he never talked to me about. I got an email that said there was medication prescribed for me. And then an email asking when I was going to pick it up. And then an email saying it was going to be shelved). He then said he wanted to check my ASS score. (Yes, I am sure that's NOT what he said, but he said it several times and I don't know what it stands for, but that's what I heard) It is a risk assessment to determine my risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. It involves several things (like??) and he would put the information in and it would tell me what my risk was. As he typed away at his computer he talked about how the paradigm has shifted where cholesterol meds are concerned and this score is more important than just the blood levels.
He finished typing and said
Your risk is... Oh.
Very low. 1%
He gave me permission (thank you) to take fish oil - Omega 3s to be exact - instead of starting on medication.
He talked about my BMI. (40.08)
Which makes me obese. (Thank you. I missed that.)
So we need to talk about weight loss. (I heard you at last year's visit. I really did. I bought a road bike and I ride....)
Okay. Good. (But I wasn't finished)
There are several programs available that you can take advantage of. (But I am riding several days a week and hiking at least one...)
Okay. Good. (Again, I still wasn't finished)
I would recommend taking advantage of one of the programs we offer. There are even some that are free online. (Since I've been riding, I feel better and ....)
Great. Check out what we have. (I have been trying, I really ha...)
I know you have.
And he stood up. I guess we were done. At no point in time, aside from looking at the mole, did he put his hands on me. Listen to my heart and lungs. Check my lymph nodes. Look at my throat. Look in my ears.
Why would he? I was only there to have him look at a mole.
He saw a number. Well, a few numbers. Made a judgment. And told me I needed to fix it.
If it were only that easy
(For a humor break.... On the way out the door, he asked how my sister was doing.
I was totally confused. I have 2 sisters. I have never shared anything about them with him. But he was concerned about one of them. I looked at him a bit longer and said, um, fine. It wasn't until later that I realized he was asking about my wife - until recently, he was her doctor. In fact, he was her doctor first.
Okay, maybe that wasn't funny.)
So I made an appointment for my mole.
I didn't make an appointment for a pap smear (I can do that next year... he said so).
I didn't make an appointment for a mammogram. (I WILL - stop yelling! But it was never mentioned again)
As I walked out, he handed me a pamphlet that outlined their weight loss programs.
I walked out of the office, feeling like I had just been punished for trying to take care of myself.
He never saw me. To be sure, he was in the room with me. He smiled at me and he saw my mole.
He never saw me.
I drove to work, trying to decide if I was angry or hurt.
After work, I drove home, still deciding if I was angry or hurt.
At home, I shared the experience with my sister wife (relax... it's a joke. She's just my wife). She was indignant for me. She defended me, something she is very good at. She asked if he actually paid attention to the patient in front of him (me) instead of the numbers on his screen.
I tried not to cry as I said it's not like I haven't been trying. I have done so much in the last year - I am riding as many days a week as I can, though the last 3 months, I've been off my game a bit, but ...
Was all I have been doing for naught? My own doctor didn't seem to lend any credence to whatever actions I had been trying to take.
Have I been wasting my time?
I was angry. And I was hurt.
Did I need to do one of the programs in the pamphlet? One is a meal replacement plan (that costs money) that is 800 calories per day. 800 calories. Yes. I will lose weight on that. I might lose my mind too.
I went online to look at their (free) online weight loss help program. It involved a lengthy series of intimate questions that I answered honestly (and I already know I am an emotional eater). With each revealing answer, I was given cute little statements like "ask people for help" and "when emotions drive you to want to eat, take a deep breath and get busy doing something else". Oh. Okay. Why didn't I think of that?
Here are some numbers
My BMI is over 40. (Which is actually less than it was a year ago)
My blood glucose is 80 (nope, not diabetic)
My weight is 237 (yep it's up from last entry here, but down from the last Dr's visit)
My BP is 105/78 (yep, that's good)
I have ridden almost 1200 miles since I started riding 10 months ago in August. 1197 to be exact.
I feel better. I can do more than I used to. That has to count for something. Right?
I don't know what my answer is. The thing is it has to be my answer. It can't be your answer. It can't be my doctor's answer. It has to be my answer.
I am trying.
And I think I am finding a new doctor.