Everyone has a medical horror story. I know someone who had an operation and continued to have pain to only find out that a sponge had been left in his leg. I know someone who was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to switch insurers in a somewhat sneaky manner so that he could get on an experimental drug trial. He has now lived ten years cancer free due to the drug trial. My son was told he had an ear infection and was given antibiotics which only made him worse. Turns out he didn’t have an ear infection after all. He had a stomach flu. I’m never going back to that provider again. Five days of my son crying had me balling as well. I won’t go on as I am not here to bash our medical, healthcare system. I’m doing my part to try to fix it and provide wide access but I too am a healthcare consumer.
While I was getting my second MRI in less than a year, and my 6th in four years (but who’s counting), I stared at the top of the circular machine in which I found myself and tried counting to 2,700. I kept losing count but it got me thinking of what medical visits I hated most. Before I knew it, my 45 minutes inside the loud MRI machine were over. Well, I will confess that the Valium helped. For once, I didn’t mind the sound and feeling that I was being turned round and round inside a coffee grinder, blender or washing machine.
But let me share with you my rather off-beat thoughts while getting an MRI.
First off, I’ve developed a sense of claustrobia recently that I didn’t really have before. Or at least to my conscious knowledge. Thus, I dread getting an MRI. The worst procedure is the head MRI. A mask, like Hannibal Lecter’s, is placed over your face. I love the movie Silence of the Lambs, as that helped me decide to become a psychologist. However, I don’t really care to enact a scene from it. Despite my apparent claustrophobia and anxiety, getting an MRI is not for me the worst medical visit type. I know that may seem like a strange statement on my part, considering that this whole post in face on my MRI-induced stream-of-consciousness. Like I mentioned previously, there is Valium. And once you are done with the MRI, it is over. You can easily go out for a drink or two afterwards. Next.
Now let’s consider the annual GYN exam. It’s a rite of passage for women that we must do year after year after year. It can be embarrassing. In particular, the first time you go to get your annual GYN exam done, you may not be too sure what to expect. Other than some bits of embarrassment, I am not too sure that this particular medical visit is all that bad. Sure, there is a bit of pain when your cervix is clamped open. And perhaps if you are a movie aficionado as I am, you have flashbacks to the horrible movie about evil gynecologists. However, just as with the MRI, you can go out for a drink with you afterwards and be totally okay. You just move on with your life. I am so okay with this particular type of medical visit, not even prefer to have male gynecologist. They just seem to be friendlier and attempt to be more nurturing. I know, that sounds quite contradictory. But that has been my experience to date. Next.
Now, let’s talk about going to the dentist. I will state from the outset of this paragraph that I hate going to the dentist. Actually, I abhor going to the dentist. I find that there is nothing worse than this particular type of medical visit. You often have to sit in a chair with your mouth wide open with lights coming down onto your eyes and two or three people may be poking around or pouring water down into your mouth. There are times when you feel like you may even choke or drown.
Furthermore, there are often many judgemental statements and looks made by the dentist or by their dental hygienist. If you have a cavity, you get that disapproving look from them. And you start trying to justify why you eat so many gummies. You will even note, but you eat vitamin gummies. Yet, no matter what you say, he still gives you that look. How about when they have to fix a cavity and you have to hear the sound of that drill? The sound of metal in your mouth is quite unnerving. The feel of the cotton ball supposedly soaking up the saliva at the side of your mouth and up under your gums is quite disgusting. There so many textures, feelings, and sounds going on during your visit to the dentist. And when that visit is over, they always have to schedule you for that follow up. So you know it’s never over. For me, dear friends, this is the worst visit of all. Do you know what is the ticker for me? You often can’t go get a drink or two afterwards as your mouth may be numb.
As I stated at the outset, we all have our stories. Which is your worst?