Last week, I received a phone call from my gynecology office prompting me that it was time for me to schedule my annual well woman visit. So I did so for today.
But I typically do it around my birthday. Why now? Ah yes. If you recollect in earlier posts I mentioned having a crisis this time last year where I spent many hours and days bouncing between my gynecologist and my primary care physician. It seems that due to this, it moved up my annual well woman visit.
So as I thought about that, I reflected even more on what has happened in the past year. How much I have accomplished since that first major crisis. What was it that really got me to get the help?
I know the answer. As much as I hated it last year, Gee was instrumental in my getting help. That look on her face when I had a full on anxiety and panic attack in the office. The look that was like “ok, Cassie is not alright” but not in a condescending way… a concerned way.
So there I was: waiting in the waiting room. Thoughts racing through my head, Ed’s Voice on repeat. What would Gee think of me? Does she even remember me? Does she even remember the craziness of last year? I am definitely going to tell her today when I see her. Yup it is decided; anxiety and all I am telling her what I have been thinking. Sorry, Ed but I am taking the reigns because I have control today.
I was worried though. *PoP* here comes Ed! What if there is a resident in there? Will you still say what you have been rehearsing if the resident is in the room as well? And what will you do, Cassie, if they weigh you? [Statistically it is hit or miss as to whether they will weight me or not in this clinic] You going to cheat and look and let me take over? Will you give me the control back?
“Cassie?” I stand up thankful to just GO and try and ignore Ed.
No no it turns out there is another Cassie in the waiting area. What are the odds?! I mean honestly my name is not that common. Here you go, Ed. It is all yours.
And the ruminating begins. The panic begins. It starts to take over.
“Cassie?” Oh thank heavens it is really for me now. But sheer anxiety and panic is in my throat as the MA introduces herself.
“We will just wait in this line to take your weight–”
“I do not do weights”–holy cow!! Where the hell did that come from?! I said it without thinking. But you know what? I have the right to refuse that weight! And damnit if she challenges it I will say something!
The MA looked completely puzzled as she processed what I said. I smiled sweetly.
She proceeded to take me to my room. We sit down and start going over the allergies and medications. Now refresher: my anorexia treatment is on the children’s charting system and I am currently being seen in the adult system. So I ask if my Lexapro is listed? Nope. Ok. So I tell her my medications–Lexapro and Ativan. Here I add: yea I am in recovery for an eating disorder… that is why I do not do weights. But you know what? I did not have to explain myself to her. If anyone needed an explanation it would be the doctor, Gee, and if she asked. Yet here I am with Ed telling me to apologize how I am rude and wrong for not just going with the flow and taking the mortification I deserve. For not letting Ed win.
So I change. I can feel my heart rate dropping. I did it. I refused a weight. It felt SO good to stand up for myself; to do something that is in my best interest…to not let Ed win. Small victory! Baby steps.
Gee comes in. Thankfully she is by herself. She starts off by telling me she was ecstatic to see me on her census and so happy to see me. She remembered.
Alright. Here I go.
“I just wanted to say thank you.”
“Yea. I do not know if you realize what you did. I do not know if you remember but this time last year I came in with a lot of the abdominal and pelvic pain that we could not find the origin…”
“Yea I remember that it was very bizarre!”
“Yea well I figured out what the cause was. I had severe anxiety and relapsed with my anorexia. It turns out all that pain was from the anxiety and malnutrition.”
“Wow real somatic pain. It makes total sense! You were having that major stress of the interview…”
Yes she completely remembered. It feels so good to know that I made an impact. Enough of an impact that I trumped her and that she was genuinely concerned about me and my well being. I meant something to her.
“Yea so thanks to you I realized I had a problem. And when you brought up the 5150 concern, I got more anxious and started analyzing myself. It added to everything that my friends [Cindy and Badgyr] had said of concern…”
“No I did nothing. Please if anything it was Dr. Nice…”
“No, Dr. Nice helped but you were the one who really opened my eyes to the severity. So please. Thank you! If it were not for you, I would not have realized everything my friends and Dr. Nice were telling me and proceeded to get help. You offered to do the referal for me. I have been in recovery for one year now…”
“Yea you look amazing and healthy!! You look so good!”
“*laughs* yea I have lost approximately 60 pounds! And it is ridiculous considering all I did was start eating again!”
We continued to talk and she shared a personal story about herself and dealing with anxiety.
Why did I tell her? I believe in giving credit where credit is due in any circumstance. But in the healthcare field, rarely do us providers hear from our patients how we make an impact; how we change their lives. I wanted her to know she saved my life. I told her. It really helps to know that you save a life by simply being you. She was going above and beyond her job for pizza sake–she is a gynocologist. But because she did, she saved my life.
I can never thank her enough for that. I was so angry with her at the time. I made her the villain. But I did realize how she saved me. I can never repay her for that. So I did the best thing that I could: I thanked her and told her how she did. She made an impact in my life. I lived. She now gets to see me. She gets to see my progress and growth. And she gets to know that she touched my life.
I am sorry but this part is hard for me to write. I honestly sit here and do it with tears. I have been on her end before–it is such validation for all those bad days you have to know that you impacted one life.
But here she did not impact my life: she saved it.
I will never forget her. Forget what she did.
Even if it takes you a year to realize what I did, never forget to thank those who support you in this process. Thank them when you are strong enough. Thank them when you are weak. Because knowing that you are alive because of them, it is the best feeling in the world. I hope you may feel it someday.
Take that, Ed. I am appreciative, validated, and feeling.