Fiancee S. is suggesting that I go to a dermatologist to see about some lingering acne issues that have plagued me since adolescence. I'm fearing visits to the doctor. I'm not entirely sure why.
It's not as if I've always feared a visit to the doctor. There have been times that visits to various medical specialists were almost routine. As a teen, I regularly (monthly or weekly) went to see a dermatologist for skin problems and had regular checks on my braces with an orthodontist. Going further back, I had some problems with my feet as a child and saw more podiatrists, orthopedists, and orthopedic surgeons in the first five years of my life than I ever hope to see again. Plus, I've needed vision correction for my eyes since about the age of eleven. That has entailed regular visits to an optometrist.
I think part of it must be that I dread finding doctors to go to in much the same way as going out on blind dates. That's what it really amounts to, in a way. It took me a few years to find a few medical specialists that I felt I could trust while in graduate school. Now, I've moved away and need to find new medical people all over again, mostly by finding who is "in network" with my health insurer.
Picking people out this way has proved to be a mixed bag. I went looking for a general practicioner and got a short, bald little guy who hasn't updated his tie collection in since the late 1970's. When I set up an initial appointment merely to see what this guy looked like and asked about a physical, his answer was "the practice is shorthanded right now and most men your age are reasonably healthy, so let's do a few blood tests just to make sure that everything is on the up and up and do something later." I've been back a couple times since then when I've had the flu, and, I guess I'm satisfied with him. I've already written here about my visits to the dental "little shop of horrors." I've also found a podiatrist and he seems reasonable too, but, he is not without his critics. Fiancee S. goes to a podiatrist and her podiatrist says that mine is a little too eager to pursue surgical solutions to problems.
So where does this leave me? Well, I need to find an optometrist (it's been a few years since the old vision prescription has been checked), a new dentist (to stop going to the "little shop of horrors"), and now a dermatologist. Having Fiancee S. in my life helps; she's a native of the area and can connect me with medical professionals that she knows and trusts (when they are "in network".)
Still, this bugs me. Maybe it's because a lot about my life has changed in the last few months and more changes are on the way. I like to have the illusion that I can limit the amount of change that goes on in my life... and being skittish about seeing new doctors may be the latest way to do that. At the same time, there is this stereotype that men don't like to seek medical attention and thinking how that might apply to me also bothers me. I don't want to be the guy who finally drags himself to the doctor only to be rushed to the hospital for some kind of life threatening ailment. Finally, there is Fiancee S.'s input to consider. She and I live together and that forces one to often reconsider some of the choices one made that have become habits. That's a good thing, ultimately. Perhaps I am resisting that change as well.
on 2003-07-29 at 10:03 a.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond