Tagged doctor

Some serious flip-flop envy

11282763_670484376415070_1811287135_n

Ok, so I’m sitting here being a total creep.

A few weeks back, upon getting some worrisome news about a back x-ray, I decided to check in with Children’s Hospital to see if they had any of my old medical records. We’re talking about stuff from nearly 30 years ago. I wasn’t super hopeful, but my mom pushed me to try. At best, I’d get something out of it that would help me (and eventually my docs) to understand the current sitch.

Guess what? After signing off on some paperwork and paying exactly 49¢, the mail came today with my records. I got a CD-ROM with a locked PDF containing scanned in doctors’ notes and pre-op notes and WOW. It’s a little creepy, actually. Some of it is like doctors talking to each other and eeeeee… Why is it so unnerving?

Out of pure Meghan-like impulse, I started writing an understandably skeeved out status message on Facebook. But soon I realized, as the note rounded off its third paragraph, that shit was a little heavier than I first thought, a little too much for a status message maybe. I seem to be operating under this odd cocktail of nostalgia, pride and grief. In fact, I might have just cried as I was typing it, which is both embarrassing to admit and kind of sad to think about—you know, thinking those mean kids from grade school apparently still have that much power over me. (And to be fair, it wasn’t just them. I was pretty mean to myself in those years. So I’ll lump myself into the mean kids category here.)

Originally, the Facebook message was explaining how I was born with a funky foot/leg. A deformity, to be a little more scientific and unsettling. Soon after I popped out, the docs told my mom I would be in a wheelchair my whole life. Can you imagine? But so they ended up doing all these wild surgeries and procedures—ones that were setting a sort of precedence for infants at the time. I had to wear a big honkin’ cast up to my hip (until I was two-ish), but that didn’t stop me. I learned to walk in that thing. I was pretty much a monkey as a child, funky foot or not. No wheelchair, though—not even once.

As an adult it’s so much easier to look at that and feel grateful. I could’ve been in a wheelchair, but now I walk, run, jog… who am I shitting? It’s still hard. It’s still hard not to get frustrated with my foot, even for silly superficial reasons like not being able to wear flip-flops. And I guess that’s the place we live in, you know? I never ever felt “normal.” Now I know that it’s ok, that I’m so “abnormal” in so many other ways that my foot is the least of my worries. Ha.

But when I was a kid, I had no solace for myself. No one did. I used to imagine all the things I wanted, namely being a star on Broadway, were now out of the question. Once I figured it out, of course, and asked the right questions. How could I perform on stage in cool costumes with high-heeled and elaborate shoes if I couldn’t wear 70% of the shoes at the store for “normal” kids? To top it off, I had myself convinced that no one would ever want to date me. Would I be able to date someone and get away with never exposing my foot? Impossible!

I wish that was it, that my self-critique was all I had to put up with. But it wasn’t. Kids caught wind of my foot issues, maybe a pool party or something (those which made me the saddest of all), and they did what kids do—they ran with it. I mean, they really created some cleverly cruel nicknames, though. Some even rhymed! And if that wasn’t enough mean-kid fodder, I was fat. Hah! I absolutely had no chance. All of these things made me the most sensitive, poke-able pint out there… so you better believe the kids ate that shit up.

But hey, this is a big step right now. I’m telling the world the very thing I’ve spent my life trying to hide under socks and Chucks and Doc Martens and water shoes at the beach—I’M NOT QUITE RIGHT AND THAT’S OK. I can’t wear high heels. I can’t wear most shoes, actually. I’ll probably never be on Broadway. And if they make a Barbie of me (like I so thought they might as a child), it would have to have a screwy foot too. And I’m ok with it.

And you know, I’m always pointing a finger indignantly into the air (ask A), saying things like “…and that’s why I don’t want to have kids,” as if I have to defend my decision to be childless constantly. But this is something that stays so real with me. Thinking about how those kids made me feel every day… ugh. And I know how dramatic this all sounds, but it was sort of dramatic. And looking at these scanned-in documents, it still seems kind of dramatic. I just hope these days, we can show kids how to be more tolerant and loving, that we can find a way to make their hearts big and their hurt small. Because it’s one thing if I were to have a kid who is teased or picked on—something that would probably hurt too much to bear—but it’s another thing entirely to have a kid who does the teasing and the picking on. So let’s be the example for them, you know?

 

Oh, and thanks for reading this slop. <3
mt

 

EDIT FOR AFTERTHOUGHT: The point of this blog post wasn’t so I could garner pity or be commended. First, it was an emotional response to so many feelings. I felt empowered, like I had overcome some shit and can now speak about it and not be afraid.

Too, I think I’m feeling a little sad about how mean kids could be and how much it has affected my being. So permanent, really. It’s hard for me to even believe kids could be that cruel… and I hadn’t thought about it for a while, so it sort of hit me like a punch in the mouth. I’m glad that I still believe in people and didn’t turn out all bitter and spiteful. And that’s just luck, in my opinion.

Lastly, I think the bigger message is to teach kids to be kind. Not just teach, but SHOW THEM. I don’t mean you have to shelter them and allow them to be ignorant, but what about empathy? I didn’t mention it above (because I didn’t want to get even more cliche and melodramatic), but I’m glad for all that garbage. It helped me to becoming understanding, considerate and sensitive to people and how I make them feel. I have a lot of very real flaws, but I know for a fact that my heart is full. I’m glad of it. Despite. (:

In all my nightmares, I’m wearing the wrong underwear

My mouth hurts. I keep imagining the look of gums, the redness, the swollen horizon around my teeth, that pink vulnerable skin scratching against everything. Yesterday, I had one of the worst dental experiences of all my 28, nearly 29 years: it was just a cleaning and exam.

Due to my god-awful dental insurance (one of few reasons why self-employment blows), I am only able to visit a handful of dentists in the area. I had to part with my former dental gang, which—trust me—wasn’t easy. I love them. I really do. I know about their cats, their hobbies, their schooling… I’ve introduced them to things like My MilkToof, which just might be the coolest blog about clay-made teeth I’ve ever seen. Plus, they kindly humor my anxiety and kindly hook me up with dentist-goer perks like a free toothbrush and coupons for mouthwash.

I’m serious when I say that I leave Dr. D’s office with a huge smile on my face and a reminder card for my next appointment, which I’ve already scheduled. Listen. Teeth might just be everything to me.

“For a smoker, you’re really obsessive about your teeth,” said the curt hygenist that nearly scraped my gums out of my mouth yesterday.

“You have to be when you’re a smoker,” I replied.

“Or you could just quit,” was her retort. No shit.

Perhaps I didn’t think of that. Maybe she thought she was telling me some grand secret, like the time it never dawned on me just to roll up the bottoms of my pants, instead of holding them at the knees as I walked in the rain… DUH! But chances are she was just being an asshole. Sit tight. This shit gets better.

My appointment was at 12:30 in the afternoon. Now that I work from home, I can do those sorts of things. Make doctor appointments. So I was told to come in early to fill out the paperwork. When I stepped up to the counter and conversed with the woman on the other side, she smiled big into her computer screen then looked up: “You’re K’s friend it says.”

I was referred by a friend and someone had put it in the notes—hilarious. So from here, I expected special treatment. Maybe they would let me cut the line or put me in a special room—or better yet they were going to give me two toothbrushes. I was set for another six months with two toothbrushes!

“Hey guys, if you could let me know what this is going to cost me, I’d appreciate it. I have a new insurance and it’s kind of crappy…”

My bubble quickly dissipated when the other woman behind the counter, a middle-aged blonde with a romantic croak of a voice, raised her head: “OH! IS THIS THAT OBAMACARE?” (Loudly.)

I felt like someone just pulled my pants down in a crowd—only to reveal I was wearing the wrong day-of-the-week underwear. But it’s Thursday… I imagined the crowd murmuring, staring down at my two-day-old, “Tuesday,” day-of-the-week underwear.

Ok. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take offense to the “Obamacare” remarks; however, she’s not the only one with which I’ve employeed my defenses. It makes me feel uncomfortable, like I’m getting something for nothing, or I’m cheating the government. I feel as dirty as the word “Obama” in this conservative, a-little-too-close-to-West-Virginia town.

“Umm… you mean healthcare.gov? Yeah. I pay for my own insurance. Myself.”

About two years ago, I had no real concern about the healthcare industry. Sure, make everyone healthy and happy. Why not? Give those people without insurance some damned coverage already… the important word being them. Now suddenly, I am them.

I didn’t get called back for my cleaning until 1:15, nearly an hour later, which is when I encountered the “Tasmanian Devil of dental hygienistry,” or so I’ve dubbed her to everyone else. I’m sure there is a more fitting title, something funnier: The Edward Scissorhands of Teeth Cleaning, Freddie Whiter Smile (or Else) Kruger… Anyway, she RAVAGED my mouth—probably for the sake of hurrying. I was flinching, pinching my legs, groaning with my mouth agape. Was this happening?

photo cred: skymovies.sky.com

“Stay still,” she said coldly, continuing with her icepick, plaque bits hitting me in the cheeks.

Five minutes later: “You have to quit jerking. Stay still.”

After that, it felt like she was going at it harder, sadistically, and once more I was six years old being scolded with the same line over and over: Meghan. Meghan, don’t jump down the stairs. What did I say? Meghan. Don’t. Meghan Patrice… don’t jump down the stairs. Walk down those stairs. Meghan Patrice, if I have to… I swear I’m going to… (I didn’t listen as a kid—or now either, I suppose.) I actually broke my leg this way when I was five, jumping down stairs.

“It just hurts really bad,” I tried to explain to Buffy the Gum Slayer, as she vandalized my face.

“Well, I can’t do my job if your teeth are traveling all around the room.” She pulled back with a frown.

That’s when I noticed all of the blood on her blue latex gloves, my blood. I wiped the tarter sprinkles from my eyebrows, from out of my nostrils, and opened my eyes to see a bruiser of a kid, highschool aged, looking at me from a room from across the hall, half-grinning in his cut-off t-shirt. Had he witnessed the whole thing? Was he taping me with his iPhone and shooting all over the interwebs?! Why in the bloody hell didn’t she close the door?

I walked out of that room to—I supposed—another room for an x-ray or an exam with the dentist, whatever thing came next. But I followed her… to the waiting room? Again? I waited for another 20 minutes among the unaware, pre-pain-stricken souls in the large lobby, my mouth sore and tasting of blood. I never left the dentist’s feeling like that… cleanings were refreshing, pleasurable even. I left with a fresh coat of mint and silky smooth teeth that I rubbed over with my tongue for days. Really, folks, I’ve only had one cavity in my life, ONE, (humble brag) because I’m that cautious and thorough with my oral hygiene. I am so sure she didn’t need to go all Kill Bill on my gums.

Best part… ready? Finally, I get called back for the exam, where I wait for another fifteen minutes for the dentist WHO COMES IN WITH HIS CELLPHONE IN HIS HAND going, “My wife called at 12:41 and left a message… Let’s see what she has to say.” Then, he leaves the room with his phone in his ear. WHAT?!

In total, the visit took a little over two hours for a cleaning! I just want to know what kind of treatment I would have been given had I not mentioned my friend’s name. And you know what? I didn’t even get a fucking toothbrush!

mt

Doctor’s office blues

Ah. Is there anything more obnoxious than waiting in the lobby of the doc, only to be taken into a room by a nurse, cuffed up, poked at, questioned… and then left for like 20 minutes in the small, sterile, plasticky-smelling room waiting for the doctor (i.e. your fate)?

Listen. I’m not expert on home decor or medical solace, but these posters haven’t changed since I was 18. There’s nothing glaring at me but the see-through jar of oversized Popsicle sticks, a “Cover Your Cough” poster printed out on an 8.5 x 11 and the ugly, scribbled on “What Is Your BMI?” chart reminding me, disappointingly, that I am “overweight.

So. With all of this in mind, by the time doc gets here, I’m ready to jump ship. Fuck.

To add to the glamour of this visit, coming here to switch anti-depression meds, I get asked if I want my “living will.” Hahaha. Talk about being faced with my own mortality. I say. Do not recessitate!