I'm ashamed to say, I have taken a bit of a fancy towards my new Doctor. So much so I was almost relieved when he said he would be leaving at the end of this week, returning to his old practice, (many miles away). So why then did he feel the need to hastily tag onto the end of that sentence, but "I'll be back when the new surgery is built - permanently, I'll be moving here..."
Oh dear! I though to myself with a wry smile. I can safely say I've never been to the doctors so many times in any four month period as I have in the last four months. I should add that he is, (charm and looks aside) a very good GP! And has done wonders to get me appointments and treatments I've been flapping about over for years, but his good bedside manner has backfired a little...
For some years I've suffered with bouts of depression, and more recently panic attacks and anxiety. I find the whole thing so utterly embarrassing I can barely bring myself to tell friends, but Dr. X and his sweet nature seemed to have me spilling out my guts and life story within minutes. He kindly recommended some treatment for the problem, at a well known Psychiatric Hospital, to 'talk' to someone, given that any past attempts to kick the problem seem to have not been very effective.
I explained to him my apprehension towards such a seemingly drastic approach; I mean I'm not mad! (husband would thoroughly disagree) but he reassured me that it may help much more than any anti-depressants and medication. I think the whole thing was made worse by trying to have a serious conversation with someone whilst also trying not to flirt with them!
Sensing my reluctance, Dr. X made the appointments on my behalf, and went so far as calling me at home to keep the pressure on to go the appointments. (I'm a stubborn bugger!)
Well, once there, it looks exactly as you may picture a psychiatric hospital, white and clinical, spooky and eerily quiet.
Everyone smiles, so broadly at you, I can only assume it's incase you're a paranoid suicidal, and there is an overwhelming sense of calm throughout the freakishly long corridors. It felt almost empty.
Yours truly, feeling very nervous, reverted to my witty self, with forehead-slapping consequences; an exercise class, full of some slightly questionable looking characters, attempting to move rhythmically to a Boyzone song,
"whats going on in there?" I ask, to break the silence of the long walk to her office,
"Daily exercise helps the patients..."
"They look like a real bunch of nutters! God I'd want to KILL myself if I had to do starjumps to boyzone...."
(DOH! springs to mind)
It gets worse. We reach my seemingly lovely and approachable, (albeit freakishly tall for a woman) psychiatrists office, and its everything I had hoped it wouldn't be... Empty. No fine leather couch,
No wooden slatted blinds, chesterfield furniture and all the trappings of a scene from Analyze That; instead its empty all except for two NHS looking plastic covered "armchairs", and once again my mouth gets the better of my brain,
" Hmm, that looks comfy, is it plastic incase the crazies wet themselves; wipe clean?!"
Oh I know.... its terrible, even I was shaking my head at myself by now...
So the 'session' begins, in the uncomfortable office with the plastic chairs, the freakishly tall woman and the loudest ticking clock I've ever heard.
At some point during this 'discussion' we somehow seem to begin talking about sex. Why do all psychiatrists want to know about your childhood and your sex life? I explain its been a little 'flat', she tells me 'thats normal' when you have a lot on your mind, going on to ask me if I do still in fact 'get aroused' , I politely ask her to rephrase the question, for clarity, she replies,
"Do you find people- your husband, strangers, people on tv, attractive?"
You can guess who popped into my head- Dr. X... "My Doctor!"
I reply without even thinking, and go on to waffle a little about all sorts of round about reasons, now all the while I'm wittering on about things I'm sure don't matter, tall woman is jotting down notes at an alarming rate.
At the end of the session she tells me, its routine practice to just pass on the initial assessment notes to the GP so that they can be made aware of any further or ongoing treatment and medication if required, I agree, sign the form to release the information and think its Doctor/Patient confidentiality, right? No problem them knowing what I've said to the tall woman... Glaring mistake was I didn't say my Doctors name to her.
Two days later, I need a repeat prescription, I make an appointment with Dr. X, as usual, I perhaps put some slightly tighter jeans on, and a dash of lip-gloss... and go to my appointment.
Dr. X looks very surprised to see me. I'm perplexed. He explains he had the psychiatrist's letter this morning, (very efficient tall woman) and she addressed it to the surgery, rather than a specific Doctor, and having dealt with it all himself, felt he should read it.. and he has just read it...
He takes a minute to look at me, I look puzzled, he continues looking at me, and then- BOOM! the penny drops.... I'm humiliated beyond belief and turn the colour of a tomatoe. I mumble the need for a prescription, not wanting to make any eye contact whatsoever. But Dr. X is a consummate professional, he brings up this sticky matter....
"So I've read the session report, I'm glad it went well, it would seem that your problems are indeed anxiety, and stress related, with regards to your sexual dysfunction, I was unaware your medication was causing side-affects....."
"hmmmmm, its not really a problem Doctor, I'm fine...." (Again the colour of a tomatoe)
"Well, its nice to see you still haven't lost the urge, I'm sure everything will return to normal once your course of medication has finished....."
Oh well this time I wanted to just throw myself on the floor and convulse in shame and embarrassment, I managed a very forced polite smile and tried to keep my eyebrows still.
It's at this point after an awkwardly long pause while he refills the printer paper, and sorts out the computer to print up my prescription he feels the need to volunteer the information he is leaving at the end of the week.
On my way out, I think to myself, if he is leaving at the end of the week, then I should definitely make an appointment on Friday afternoon to say,
"Doctor, I think I felt a lump in my breast, could you take a look....?"
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