Day five into the worst migraine I’ve ever had in my life, I decided to reach out to a friend of mine. We chatted for a bit on the phone, and the conversation meandered to doctors’ visits and how I’ve had two just for this migraine this week.
“I hate going to the doctor,” he said.
I replied, “I don’t particularly enjoy it either, but every day I’m out sick, I figure I’m losing more money than it costs.”
“I guess I’m just not as used to it as you are,” he said.
At the time, these words coming through the phone didn’t really phase me; this is a good and caring friend of mine and I could tell he meant it as a sort of complement. But after I sat down to eat some really lame rice pasta, it hit me.
No matter how many times you go in, no matter how “normal” or “routine” it becomes to go into a doctor’s office and rattle off medical history (because by now you have it all memorized, of course), you aren’t really any more used to it. Apprehension of what could happen next stays present. You brace yourself for bad news and barely believe it when it’s good. You’re uncomfortable, no matter how kind the doctors and support staff are.
You never get used to the lab work, imaging and tests. You never get used to the outdated magazines and soft rock hits from a decade ago in waiting room. You never get used to sitting half naked on a doctor’s table only for them to rush you through an exam, and you never get used to it when they surprise you and are warm and reassuring. And that’s okay. There are some things in life we really don’t need to get used to. These are the things that must simply be accepted as part of attempting to thrive with any medical condition in pursuit of a fulfilling life.