This title is a little misleading. Cleaning out my medicine cabinet actually had nothing to do with curing my doctor dependency. It’s just that as I was cleaning out the drug cupboard today, it reminded me that a year ago I stopped trusting my doctor.
It was a big deal for me. For many (15) years I believed that there was no malady physical or emotional that couldn’t be sorted out on a paper covered exam table. I loved all of it – the long wait, the symptom confessional, the solution scrawled messily on a piece of paper.
Just the idea that there was a remedy for the various maladies that plagued me kept me on the appointment rounds. Symptoms came and symptoms went during those years, but hope was a constant.
Then one day about a year ago my doctor revealed herself as incurably human as the rest of us.
You see, I wanted my oldest son to see a pediatrician and, as an advocate and firm believer in the role of the family doctor, she wanted my son to remain in her care. She is an excellent doctor, but I was getting pressure from all sides to have my struggling son thoroughly tested for everything from attention deficit to autism to vitamin deficiency.
I insisted. Then watched in horror as my doctor shape shifted before our very eyes:
Do they (my son’s school) even know who I am? I’m not just any doctor you know. I have a reputation as the best doctor in West Vancouver.
The words God complex looped in my head protecting me from how horrified I really felt. She continued. I was accused of tarnishing her reputation by not taking my son to the psychiatrist she recommended the last time I asked for a referral to a pediatrician. She told my son that only really sick kids went to pediatricians, kids with things like heart disease and cancer.
“I’m sure we won’t find out anything new.”
“It’s just a formality.”
“It’s just his teacher insisting on this.”
I stared at a spot on the ground, immedicably shamed, while she rounded out her lecture, finally handing me the referral. Then I grabbed my son and ran.
I haven’t been back. My medicine cabinet reflects that. My health reflects that. I haven’t had a symptom I’d stoop to share with her in over a year.
Cured by my own stubbornness! How do you like that?