Thursday, January 29, 2009


Medical specialists are not always within a twenty kilometre driving distance, I've learned here in the Central Interior.

The one I was to see practiced in Kamloops, a three-hour trip to the South.  We left early on Sunday morning, intending to spend the night in a Motel for my appointment on Monday.

Again, I practiced taking photos out of the car window. Sunday morning was particularly cold...the temperatures were hovering near the -30C mark, when we left home. Quite often, steam from the exhausts of trucks and cars made visibility difficult, especially with blowing Snow as well.

I have learned, however, to take the weather in stride.

I don't like seeing doctors, let alone specialists.  I can't express myself, especially in the three second time span most specialists give one to answer a question.  

I prepared myself this time, having written out a list of medications and symptoms...precisely so I could discuss these with the Doctor. 

But she wasn't interested in what I had written...she wanted me to answer her questions.  Off the top.

Oh, oh.

The questioning began. I had only moments to reply. After three or four of those, had she asked me my name, I would have had difficulty answering correctly.

And then, there were the exercises, which were demonstrated with great speed by the Doctor. I was to follow along.  It was laughable.  She went so quickly I was still on the second one when she was finished. And I couldn't remember the rest of the movements.

Suffice it to say, after all was said and done, I came out of the appointment, with a sheaf of tests which required doing. And I hope those tests pinpoint the problem I was in for, since I know a diagnosis could not be made on the strength of any conversation I had with her.

Each appointment with this Doctor runs 45 more,no less.  You would think, during this time span, I would be able to demonstrate or enunciate my difficulties with Arthritis.

But no.

My brain freezes up, when I try to explain.  There is nothing there...there are no words which will come out of my mouth. The worst moments are when I go blank and then start to giggle, which sometimes...morphs into deep guffaws! Oh dear!

Some Doctors have become offended, thinking my laughter was directed at them.  It never is; it is only my reaction to being blank-brained.

My favourite kind of medical specialist is the one who, on my arrival, will have the receptionist give me a list of questions to complete. This gives me time to remember my history, check my notes, and sometimes think deeply about some of the answers.

I will be fifty-eight soon, in February.  There is a lifetime of maladies to report, not all of them within easy reach of my middle-aged memory.

So here I am, today, answering all of her questions, in my head.  I am completely understandable, very verbal, with no signs of the nervousness which overtakes my head.

I remember some of the answers I gave, some which were not completely right, when I spoke to the Doctor. And I wish I could answer those questions again, with more lucidity. But it is what it is.

And no amount of self-abuse will change it.

The weekend away was wonderful, even with evil appointments with specialists...well worth it. My perspective changes a little,for the better, when I visit a City I am not familiar with. Struggling with addresses and places unknown humbles me; but finally finding a place is cause for celebration, each time.

And going away...well, it makes coming home that much better!


  1. I love the third photo up especially. What is going on with the sky there?
    I also attended the doctor visit just this year (with $1000 deductable before insurance pays 80% one tends to crowd everything into the start of the year in case anything develops.
    Your experience with the doctor seems odd. Can you select a more caring person or are you assigned a particular doctor? She should have listened more carefully to your list and allowed time for consideration (I also brought a list but my Doc, laptop in hand, carefully answered each item before assigning tests to be done). Now all I have to do is pay for the many tests he wanted and wait for his determination on my physical complaints.
    As we wait, I wait with you and hope that all works out to be solvable ailments.

    I have found that one must keep occupied else every pain becomes a worry and every worry may become a major concern in ones mind. But then I am a bit obsessive sometimes which makes the mundane worse.

    My best to you and graham

  2. Anonymous10:24 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    It is refreshing to read your openness of what it is like for you. You are so light about it.
    I am glad you have such a great sense of humor or else what you describe could be so frustrating.

    It is so laughable how healthcare can be with a doctor who is totally wrapped up in the ridiculous system.

    These pics you took are so awesome. Thanks for sharing that magical part of the planet where you live!

  3. Goatman,

    The third photo up is taken of a feedlot. And right behind it is a hill...I thought the sage sticking through the Snow on the hill was great contrast to the steam. This was taken further south...Snow is not as deep or as prevalent there.

    I am grateful I don't have to spend the money you do for seeing a specialist...and then having to pay for all the tests, as well. BC Medical pays for the specialist and the tests, although we do pay monthly premiums for the ability to do so. I must have a referral from my GP, however, in order to see any specialist...I cannot just phone one up and make an appointment.

    And most specialists here are busy...booked up months in advance. I was lucky...someone had cancelled, and I got in after only a month.

    I understand what you mean, when you say you are a bit obsessive...I am the same. Once I wrote about the fiasco with the doctor, I was able to let it go. I can explain and talk with my GP about it, and he will write down things I forgot...and then, what will be will be!

    As you say, I hope both our maladies will be solvable.


    Laughter at my foibles is the best medicine for me. I could not have lived in this mundane world without finding a sense of the ridiculous when I fuel the ridiculousness so often!

    I think, at times, doctors and especially specialists take themselves too seriously. There have been only one or two who have had what we used to call a bedside manner.

    But then, beds in hospitals are few and far between these days...they may need more practice, lol!

  4. Interesting to hear of your experiences, Marion. I need to see a doctor too and have been putting it off. Not that I am sick--check need to establish a relationship in my new location and have been procrastinating. Perhaps one reason is that I will have to recount a long history of what medications and what treatments and what tests I have been through. I think we all should sit down at our computers and write all our histories and just bring it along, adding notes as we encounter new doctors and new treatments. President Obama wants to have all of our medical records online. This sounds like a good idea to me.

  5. Drs. Now that is a group that invokes all kinds of feelings. Specialist are the ones you see when you have a few dollars to spare so they can purchase the home in the islands. I know how you feel when it comes to seeing a specialist you have to wait to get the appointment then drive to get there and then wait in the office for a long time to see them for what seems like an eye blink. Yet they are a breed that we need to help us through some unusal times in our journey. So like you I make it an adventure.


  6. Sheila,

    There is a website called Patients Like Me where you can actually write down ailments and treatments, and which the doctor can access with your permission. I'm in the process of filling mine out, just because in remembering all those different ailments also brings me the emotions carried with them. My brain would rather not stir them up, each and every time I see a new doctor.

    It's such a good idea to have an online reference for illnesses. I hope you take care of the medical side of things soon, especially with your history.


    With your recent experience, you are a continuing inspiration to me. I am sure you have seen enough specialists to last for awhile!

    Making the rolling road of life an adventure, laughing at myself and keeping it sure makes it much easier!