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confession: doctor phobia

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Old 12-30-2010, 10:46 AM   #1
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Default confession: doctor phobia

I have a phobia about doctors. I honestly think it goes beyond just the fear that I had being morbidly obese. There is something about the entire thing that just freaks me out.

I'm close to 40 years old and I haven't been to a doctor in about 20 years. I think the last time I had to go was when I needed a physical as part of my application process to college.

Anyway, I've scheduled a physical on January 13th. I have to go in this weekend and have some blood work done and even that is giving me the heebee jeebees.

Anybody else with the dreaded doctor phobia? I'm going to write out a list of questions/ health symptoms I'm having and hopefully I'll get through this process without giving myself a heart attack. The fear of the doctor is strong enough to cause me some medical problems .
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:00 AM   #2
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Matt, I suspect this is a very common male issue. EVERY man I know has not been to doctor in 20 years or more.

I suspect many women would avoid the doctor as well but if they want birth control, have to go in for that yearly physical. I know as soon as I stopped needing that appointment, I didn't go for nearly 10 years and when I realized that I needed to re-establish the annual physical habit I had to find a doctor who agreed to non-invasive exam the first visit and then prescribed a tranquilizer to get me in for the 2nd, more invasive exam.

I'm absolutely fine with the exams now, and yet still procrastinate as long as possible on scheduling the annual appointment.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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I'm not afraid of them, but I am not the most trusting. While I was pregnant a Dr tried to tell me I had a urinary tract infection, I'd had one before and knew I did not have one. So they had to put a catheter in me to double check and sure enough NO infection. I wasn't willing to take antibiotics for an infection I didn't have.

Also, my little brother almost died from a foot infection because the doctor he went to tried to tell him nothing was wrong and gave him a tetanus shot.

I could name a few other cases that have caused my distrust of drs (not all, I love my ob /gyn). But I suppose that wont exactly help you get over your phobia.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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I don't enjoy the doctor and find it really intimidating. Too bad you didn't have a baseline of your blood pressure and cholesterol and such Matt when you were heavy so you can see how far you have come.

As to the visit itself, I'm sure over the last 20 years you have built it up in your head as some huge scary deal that really has no relation to reality anymore.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:44 AM   #5
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When I was a kid, the dr. office always smelled strongly of alcohol. I always got squishy in the stomach. Every time I smell alcohol now, I get squishy in the stomach. Can you say Pavlov?!!

I hate blood work. They use alcohol there = squishy stomach.

I still go because it is the right thing to do. It is another spoke in the wheel of being health conscious. You in the center and a spoke for water, for eating right, for exercise, for using sunscreen, for vitamins, for seeing dr. and if necessary, for Rx.

Is this a GP/PCP in your ins plan or did you get to choose this dr?

I found my current dr. by asking others about their dr. and whether they like them or not, what impressed them, etc. I didn't care if I was going outside the network. For me, I was willing to pay $25 copay instead of $10 just to feel comfortable.

The doctor has probably had reluctant patients before and I predict dr will be understanding and gentle. I recommend the first thing you tell him/her is that you are extremely uncomfortable with the situation.

They should have used 'going to the doctor' in that "Fear Factor" show!!!
Hang in there!!
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
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I think it's important to have not only a doctor that you are compatible with but the clinic as a whole as this trickles down to how all the doctors treat patients. I switched from a clinic that scheduled appointments two months out, made you wait 1-2 hours past your appointment time, then wait longer in the exam room. What the funk! Overscheduling made all the doctors feel rushed and treated the patients like cattle.

I am fearless when it comes to seeing doctors. If one is a jerk to me or isn't listening I'll tell him or her so and will find another doctor immediately. (We just changed pediatricians because she thinks my husband can't make decisions without me and won't even address his questions and concerns. )

If you're highly uneasy, I'd ask for a consult first, preferrably in their office rather than the exam room; not all clinics have actual offices anymore so this may not be feasible. You can then get a feel of the doctor's personality and how they will treat you throughout the process. If you aren't comfortable, leave and find another. You may have to shell out more money for copays but it may be worth it in some cases.

It's your health and you have the right to be comfortable without feeling embarrassed, rushed, coerced or any other negativity.

Wow, that got kinda long but I feel strongly about being treated like a human regardless of what abbreviations others have after their names. Hope it goes well for you!!
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:10 PM   #7
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Everybody hates the doctor, even my doctor told me he hates the doctor LOL. Good for you for manning up and making that appointment! Now that you lost all that weight you have less reason to fear going than before, just keep that in mind.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
I think it's important to have not only a doctor that you are compatible with but the clinic as a whole as this trickles down to how all the doctors treat patients. I switched from a clinic that scheduled appointments two months out, made you wait 1-2 hours past your appointment time, then wait longer in the exam room. What the funk! Overscheduling made all the doctors feel rushed and treated the patients like cattle.
This this this! I stopped being afraid of doctors when I got a doctor's office that was large, didn't make me wait for appointments, and actually gave docs enough time to talk to me. Did you check reviews on your new doc?

Anyway, the only thing specifically you're going to need to be prepared for is to a) tell them about the weight you've lost and b) have an incredulous doctor. Every time I have to go somewhere new, the loose skin tends to bring it up, and every time I'm treated as a bit of an anomaly.

So prepare for that. Otherwise, you'll be fine!
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:26 PM   #9
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Matt- it will be fine. He or she will check you out listen to your heart and lungs...check your ears, nose, throat and feel around on your throat/glands. Then the bloodwork will be a breeze- and you will wait to hear back from all your bloodwork. Have a pen and paper ready to write down those numbers so you can know that info. Your blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. are more than likely very good because you are in such good physical condition now. No worries- you will do great!! Then you will know- then you can have a fabulous new year
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:36 PM   #10
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ugh I LOATHE it too! I avoided it for about 10 years as well, and then finally bit the bullet because of insane hip/back pain. Now it's one of those annual things that upsets me for a week, and then I wonder what all the fuss was about - usually our imaginations and worryings are way worse than the actual event.

I always think it's because it's the ONE place I could go where they'll say YOU"RE GOING TO DIE TRACEY!!! (well duh we're all going to die..i mean, you're going to die RIGHT NOW!!! in a very dramatic voice!)
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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I hate the time involved, period. I am not one thinks doctors know everything and I am very guilty of self-diagnosing...and I'm always right! I hate going to the doctor to be told to take sudafed and an z-pack, which I could have prescribed myself! And if my appointment is 1:00...darnit, I want to be seen at 1:00/
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:50 PM   #12
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Good for you for making that appointment.

If you hadn't already made an appointment for a physical, another option would be a new patient consult. If you've gotten good recommendations for this doctor then starting out with a physical is also a good choice. I really like the fact that you're going for the bloodwork and they'll have that for the appointment. I really despise spending the time with the doctor on the appointment when they take the blood and have no information to discuss and then getting a phone call or voicemail from "someone else" in the office telling you either some of the results or "the doctor wants you to starting taking <fill in medication here>, where do you want us to call the prescription." So it sounds like this office is taking a more patient-involved approach. Best wishes. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:56 PM   #13
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I am really scared of doctors. My mother was always sick and under a doctor's care when I was growing up. I don't remember ever seeing a doctor until I was pregnant with my daughter. Doctors make me a nervous wreck.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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My husband is like you, Matt...he fears/hates doctors. For him, he doesn't like some stranger poking and prodding him. And, he's very freaked out about having to get undressed. He just turned 50 and I've been nagging him about a colonoscopy...it'll never happen, he refuses to let a doctor anywhere near that area. *sigh*
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:08 PM   #15
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My mother is a nurse so I learned to be my own health advocate as a kid and I think that has helped me immensely with doctors. I make sure to keep in mind that doctors are human beings and they work for you! With my own doctor, I make jokes and scold him if he is off topic.

Yes, make a list -- especially if you're nervous. And start your conversation with, "I'm very nervous about being here today so I've made a list of things I would like to discuss."

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