21 June 2013

I feel terrible

I've always had headaches. I call them migraines because they sound like what people say migraines feel like. I've always thought they were related to weather or pollen. Lately though they've been getting worse so after two months of nearly constant throbbing marked by about a day a week of excruciating pain I decided to go see a doctor.

Since moving to the west coast I really haven't had a family doctor. I did for a while but he retired after two months. The benefits of having all your medical records with a single person are pretty obvious but it can be really hard to find a clinic that's accepting new patients. Then, with all of the moving around and travelling I was doing it was really hard to even narrow down where exactly this doctor should be. So for the past few years I've just wandered into the nearest walk-in clinic any time something has been wrong.

Usually I haven't been that impressed. The doctor will come in, glance at me once and then never look up again. The visits felt rushed and without a detailed history they could only prescribe based on what I was telling them. This time though I got a really good doctor who asked me a lot of questions about my history and made me promise to come back to her and not go to any other clinics until we'd nailed down this problem.

The doctor gently chided me for waiting as long as I did to come in and immediately ordered a raft of tests. She said she saw something in my eyes that made her want to get a CT scan done as well. I won't lie. That scared me.

CT Scan?!? You mean like.... for cancer?!?

My brain is pretty much my favourite part of me. I know holistic practitioners will be upset with me for singling out a single part of what is actually an entirely interconnected system of me-ness or whatever but there it is. I've always felt that  my ability to think is the one thing I value above everything else and the mere suggestion that there might be something wrong with it terrified me.

Fear isn't the best motivator but in the absence of any other it will do nicely. So I went and had the tests done.

I told myself that if the CT scan and the blood work came back without anything scary on it I would need to deal with my health problem right away. If not ... well ... I'm not a hypochondriac and I refuse to go there until I'm told to. It's too easy to convince yourself you have something awful before hearing it for sure and that kind of thinking is truly debilitating.

So I went for the tests with a specific desired outcome in mind; that is: I'm not sick. I'm just fat and lazy. I can fix that.

Wish me luck.

Lessons learned in this episode:

  • Having a family doctor is important. I'm going to start looking for one.
  • Don't wait until your life is unmanageable to see a doctor. Treat symptoms early if possible.
  • I am very VERY lucky to live in a country that takes care of its citizens and have a job with such good insurance.

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