Thoughts after a long-awaited appointment with my GP
(and a lowkey #lovelettertomydoctor after a week of #doctorsaredickheads and garbage NRA attacks that resulted in #thisisourlane)
Today my GP (along with a 3rd year female medical student) listened to me while I brought difficult issues into the exam room. I’d built a relationship with her and felt very comfortable by now. I feel I’ve earned a good GP, but I guess at 28 I’m still probably pretty young? She took time with me and asked me questions. I told her all the general issues I’d been having that my oncologist kept telling me to bring to my general practitioner and she helped me with all of them.
I was nervous bringing some of the issues up though because I’m terrified about the political situation right now in regards to healthcare and pre-existing conditions and I told her so. She understood and sympathetically said that she struggles with how to mark things in patient’s charts sometimes bc truly, it’s the difference between ‘stress at home’ and ‘anxiety’ that can mean the difference between access or no access. (Even when you don’t have cancer, this pre-existing conditions shit is no joke.)
In fact, I had so many issues and she was so thorough that she said she actually couldn’t make her other patient wait any longer and had to go see them before coming back to do my physical exam. She asked me if that was ok (as opposed to my coming back another day) and so I apologized of course bc that’s what I do, and she assured me that it was not my fault, but the way the medical system is set up. I’m actually really glad I could witness the whole process and know that my doctor is respectful of the time of her other patients bc I’ve been the other patient waiting in the next room.
When she came back and was about to do my pap smear and I was on the table in the stirrups she said “Now you can let your knees fall.” Then, more to the med student but still to the room in general she says “I’ve definitely had doctors say ‘Now spread your legs,’ which is awful.” And she’s right, bc it brought me right back to when I was a tween at one of my first physicals and the doctor said she was just gonna ‘peek’ in my underwear and I’ve never forgotten that.
Physicals used to be awful experiences as a child and teen. I was completely healthy (until 2014 lol) just very self-conscious of my body. These yearly times when I and others were forced to confront my body were so heinous an idea to be avoided at all costs that both the doctor’s office and my own body were foreign to me. Cancer is what changed it all- I walk into hospitals and doctor’s offices like I imagine Robin Wright walks everywhere: “I know where I’m going and I know what I’m doing and you will treat me with respect.”
When I drove out of the parking garage it was 10:30am and my brain was weirdly satisfied that it had been precisely a 5 hour affair since I had woken up to get there.