Friday, January 20, 2012

Dentists, Doctors, and PT, OH MY!

Yesterday, my mom endured mouth surgery. Thus far in my life, nothing has compared with tooth pain, so my heart goes out to Momma dearest. (Though I imagine childbirth is quite possibly more painful on that richter scale.) When I was talking to Momma dukes on the phone, I explained how there are certain things I just don't understand about the dentist. This conversation made me think about how there are several things that confuse me about doctors/dentists/medical personnel in general. Seeing as how I've had lots of experience with medical professionals (some not so professional), I feel like a self-proclaimed expert. To avoid writing what could be a novel, I'll offer up the condensed version, which I will likely extrapolate upon at a later date.

The Dentist

Why is it that dentists almost always feel compelled to ask you questions while your mouth is filled with a suction tube, mirror, clamp (something out of a Saw movie), dental dam, and what can only be described as an ice pick on steroids? You've been shot with 32 needles filled with Novocain and your tongue feels like a rabbit's tail. Do they really expect you to formulate a lucid response? I consider myself lucky if I don't walk away with driblets of my own blood caked to my cheek and dry patches of my own saliva stuck to my chin. I appreciate the niceties, but they're not coming at a really convenient time, doc.

The Doctor's Office (a general sick visit)

Before you go to the doctor for a sick visit, do you ever feel like typing up what's wrong with you and printing out five copies of it so that you can hand the sheet to each of the people you have to retell your sick story? I do. You walk up to the front window to sign in. They ask why you're there. Luckily, you can provide them with the cliff notes version: "the plague." After you wait in the waiting room, a nurse calls your name. (In my situation, they call me by the name I don't go by, which is my first name, so it always takes me a moment to realize they're calling me.)

Said nurse takes you back to another (this time smaller) waiting room. She motions for you to sit on the crinkly paper, which you always question whether or not they changed after the last patient. She asks you what's wrong. You try the Reader's Digest version: "the plague." Her quizzical expression and one raised eyebrow suggest that she's dissatisfied with this response, so you're prompted to provide her with more details: "lots of phlegm. dying. faucet in my nose. fire in my throat. elephant on my chest." She just nods, says nothing, and takes your vitals. As she exits the room, she tells you that the doctor will be in shortly, which always translates to 15 minutes of staring at the same poster about symptoms of the common cold and a 1980s picture of a duck. 

The doctor enters. At this point, you're tired of waiting. You wish for your warm pillow and your parting gift, a bag of drugs. He asks you what's wrong. You wish for that printed copy of symptoms to hand to him. Instead, you explain that, according to your research on WebMD, you have a rare case of the bubonic plague. He does not believe you. He writes you a prescription to see a psychiatrist, which you plan to do after you pick up the antibiotics made for fighting the family of mucus featured on those Mucinex commericals. Before you leave, he needs to poke at you a bit. You hesitantly lie back on the crinkly, likely germ-infested paper. You're convinced that he asks you where it hurts for the sole purpose of tapping, jabbing, and poking that very spot while asking, "Does that hurt?" You think to yourself, "No, it does not hurt. It feels like the breath of angels and butterflies," but you simply squeak a meek "yes." Eventually, you are allowed to slink out of the office with your stack of prescriptions and your goody bag. You touch no door knobs, and, the moment you plop into the car, you promptly sanitize your hands. You vow never to get sick again.

The Physical Therapist
After I broke my butt, I had to make a trip to the physical therapist. Here's how a typical visit to the physical therapist went: walk into room crowded with injured people, spend five minutes with the physical therapist, and waste the next 45 minutes independently alternating between positioning myself on all fours while arching my back like a cat and lying on my back while thrusting my hips skyward. Explain this to me: why must I be forced to complete publicly humiliating exercises in the middle of a fishbowl when I could be making an ass of myself in the privacy of my own home, where only my husband and dogs can laugh at my expense? Now, if the physical therapist actually watched me do these exercises to be sure I was properly following through, then I'd make peace with feeling violated. However, the physical therapist leaves the twenty-something year old to fend for herself. I guess you don't matter when you're not an athlete or an old person.

Please do not mistake my befuddled musings for disrespect toward the medical profession. I would not want any one of those jobs, and I recognize how strapped for time each one of them is. Dealing with sick and injured people all day does not sound like a dog walk in the park. However, I reserve the right to be confused by "the system" and certain practices, just as plenty of people happily (or not so happily) voice their opinion about the system that is education. I will likely post again on this topic, and I do not intend to offend (or single any one person out), just amuse.

If I do offend you, then here is some sage advice for you: take a chill pill, pet a fluffy puppy, eat some Fruity Pebbles, and grow some thicker skin!

1 comment:

  1. Good points!!! Me, I just bring earphones with me to the dentist to keep him from talking to me (and to keep me from hearing the drills!)

    I would like to say that, yes, childbirth pain is interesting. But at least your brain is built to expect it (it's a female brain and is wired for such) That said, it is NOTHING like dental interference (aka, drills, needles in the mouth, etc) since we do not possess ANY inherent processes to deal with someone drilling in our mouths! All your brain can do here is scream, "WTH!" and kick on the fight/flight response...I'd take childbirth over a root-canal ANY day (and since I have to have one done next week, I'm freaking- hence my long a'd comment)


Feel free to throw some witticisms my way.