The saga of the specialty doctor continued this morning. To recap quickly my doctor wants me to see a specialist for an urgent medication but the clinic didn’t have any appointments till mid April. So I said I’d take any cancellations. Apparently this guy is in such demand a 23 minute lag time has me missing out on a canceled appointment. So carrying on, I got a call at 8am from a Denver number. “This is the clinic we have a cancellation at 11am can you make it in?” This time I’m smart enough to say yes immediately. I hadn’t rebooked my calendar so I was available.
I spent the morning organizing supplement and pharmacy charts, brought in my biomarkers and a list of tests. I worked myself into a small frenzy coordinating with my doctor on what information and part of my medical history needed to be brought up in the short appointment as my case is complex. No need to bring up unnecessary or extraneous detours. I could feel myself unraveling. I took an Ativan after throwing a pile of books off a chair in a fit of frustration to get a better angle at the laptop. It was at that point I realized I might have some medical trauma spooling out.
I say this not to insinuate I have unchecked anxiety or am concerned about my mental health but to say that even the most stoic can quickly find themselves unraveling in the Kafka logic of our medical industrial complex. The people tasked with healing us are burdened by a system that is poorly suited to anything that can’t be solved with acute care. Break a bone or need emergency care and you can’t go wrong with western medicine. Add any additional complexity to their already onerous system and you may wish you had a broken bone instead. Finding a way to through the maze requires willpower and focus just when you are at your weakest.
Add in a dose of chronic care and health quickly becomes a discussion of just how much better to you expect your life to be. Maybe this is as good as it gets. You ask yourself why do I bring trauma into my life? Why bring on the stress of yet another specialist when it may get you just another dead end. Even with a good diagnosis, and an excellent doctor pain, exhaustion, and other “irritating” but but not life threatening symptoms get to be things you start to accept. You live with debilitating issues because getting good care can sometimes be worse for your health than living with it.
Except I’m not good at taking no for an answer. I don’t stop just because a hurdle or even a panic attack gets thrown in my way. I keep plugging away. I’m what you might call resilient. Still I know medical systems have become places I associate with trauma. But I keep at it.
This is how I’ve become someone that swipes my credit card for $900 in supplements and no longer turns my nose up at esoteric and unproven treatments like cold therapy or electromagnetic pulses. I want to be 90% better not just “can get out of bed” better. I can work 5-6 hours a day now. I want to get back to 10-12. Even though I know my half day is more productive than most people’s whole days. Because I just don’t accept that what I’ve got is good enough. Even when the search for health unravels me. Because progress is something that you work at every day. Even with the setbacks. Especially because of the setbacks.