I think we’ve all been there. Even those without a chronic illness. We’ve all had at least one-(I’ve had many) A disappointing doctor’s visit. I’m always a bundle of nerves when it comes to going to the doctor. You’d think that with all the experience I’ve had with them I’d be cool as a cucumber. But starting the day before I see one I am already fretting. I always prepare. I write down a list of concerns and questions. Write down points about how I’ve been feeling because if I went in empty handed I’d completely forget what I wanted to say.
I had an appointment scheduled for this week to talk about pain management. My pain is not managed well. Everyday is different, some days the medications we have in place work and some days they don’t. I never know what day I’m going to face when I wake up in the morning, if I’ve even slept at all the night before. I wanted to talk to my doctor about this, and the fact that I think the current med I’m on might be causing this increase in anxiety I’ve noticed.
In the waiting room, I was as patient as I could be. My doctor always runs behind but I tell myself that its because she actually spends time with her patients. (usually she does). Finally it was my turn, I walked in, sat down, took a deep breath, got out my notes, I was ready. She comes in and asks what she can do for me and as I begin she puts her hand up to stop me and says “we’re not changing or increasing your medications”.
My breath catches in my throat and I don’t know what to say. That was the whole reason why I was there. I try to explain my increase in anxiety, she replies that its not the meds. And just like that she moves on to talk about my bad cholesterol and then the appointment is over. I waited two months for this appointment. And just like that it was over.
I kicked myself for not standing my ground more firmly, but I find, since Fentanyl has caused this “Opioid Crisis” discussing or altering my opiate medications seems off the table. (that’s another blog post altogether)
So I’m left with another disappointing doctor’s appointment and have to cope the best way I can on my own.
What about you? Tell me about a disappointing doctor’s appointment you’ve had, or maybe you’ve had a really great one you’d like to share?
My son was three when the pain started. I’d always been an actively involved parent. I took pride in my parenting. Sitting on the floor playing games with him, reading stories with him on my lap. Going for walks, taking him to Gymboree classes. And suddenly that needed to stop. I could barely walk and I was in agony most of the time. I went through a barrage of doctors all trying to figure out what was wrong with me. And in the midst of all the tests I went through and all the doctors I saw, I needed to find a way to still be a good parent to my little guy. I mourned the things I used to be able to do. But it just wasn’t my reality anymore. Here are some things I learned along the way:
- Don’t try to hide it. Children are smart and intuitive, they know when you’re hurting. In the beginning if my son asked me what was wrong I would say nothing. But that only ended up confusing him. When we started to open up a dialogue about what I was going through, I was surprised at how much he understood even at three.
- You can still do the things you used to do-just differently. Since I could no longer sit on the floor with him, he would sit beside me on the couch or in the chair beside me. Since he could no longer sit on my lap, he would sit beside me as I read, or stand beside my bed if I couldn’t get up at all that day. I found other people to take him to Gymboree or music lessons when I couldn’t. Since I was home with him during the day my husband made lunches for us the night before.
- When it was time for school, I drove him instead of walking. When I couldn’t drive, a neighbour or a family member would take him. It became important for me to let go of control and be ok with relying on others for help.
- Asking for your child’s help. When my son was old enough I was able to ask him for help if I needed it. Careful to not take advantage, but there were days that he was home with me and I needed his assistance. I think he felt good to help out and I believe it helped to teach him responsibility. He’s been making his own lunch since he was 6.
- Empathy. I know seeing me in pain was hard for him. I also know that it has helped to teach him empathy. He now wants to be a doctor and help others who are in pain or suffering.
Parenting in pain is not easy. There are still times when I can be overcome with guilt and wonder if I’ve given him the best life I could. But when I look at the evidence all around me I know without a doubt I’ve done the very best possible. And really that’s what our children deserve-our very best no matter what that looks like. So, don’t be hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes. Forgive yourself. Let go of what might of been. Enjoy the time you do have and make the most of each moment.
Motivation? What’s that? I haven’t been writing for some time, I just haven’t felt inspired. Not inspired to write, not really inspired to do anything. I know what you’re thinking, what happened to all that motivation and zest from the beginning of the year? And the truth is I have no idea. I guess it happens to the best of us. We find ourselves suddenly stagnant, no longer moving forward. We set goals and they seem so far away we worry we’ll never reach them so we just stop moving toward them. The plus side is I don’t think I’ve moved backward.
At the beginning of the year I talked about a revolution. And I still want one. All it takes is making the choice to take that small step forward. The choice to do things a little differently. It’s never too late to start up again. And this post for me is that first step.
Dear Future Jen
We’re out and about today. Doing one of our favourite things. Meeting a friend for coffee. It takes so much courage to walk out the front door, even when I’m going to see someone I care a lot about. If there is one thing I’m learning it’s that anxiety doesn’t make any sense at all. And I can’t seem to control it. It’s always there, ever persistent, sometimes waiting in the background sometimes front and centre in the spotlight.
I have so many fears. I know logically they don’t make sense, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. And continue going out and about trying to tackle one day at a time.
Coffee with a friend is a good place to start.