Seeking Encouragement to Call the Doctor

One of my biggest fears may soon become a reality. Thanks to a clumsy but fateful moment in December, it’s physically painful for me to write, which is the only skill I’ve ever had, so without getting all Jamaica Kincaid on you, I’d die if I had to give up writing in any capacity.

I’ve been meaning to go to the hand doctor (does there even exist such a profession?) for the past two months, as I may have done some serious damage to my fingers during an accident prone moment around Christmastime. Upon finishing my second or third viewing of “Home Alone 2” in mid-December, I sprung from the couch the answer my cell phone and accidentally whacked a side table with my pinky and index fingers. I basically unintentionally got into a one-way fist fight with the sturdy wooden table, only it just took a single hit for me to topple over and ask myself why I always seem to do the most damage to my body during small windows of maladroit time. Last summer, I tripped in my sandal and somehow managed to break my toe in the process. It still acts up from time to time, and nail technicians always inquire about its unusual amount of swelling at the beginning of pedicures (life is so tough, huh?). Back to my fingers, though: I didn’t think much of it when they hurt for days, so after I still felt pain after a month, I concluded the cold weather simply wasn’t doing my bones any favors.

This is how nervous I look before every doctor's visit!

That said, I’ve been hurting more and more each day, and while I know I should visit a physician before the situation becomes uncontrollable and much worse than it was during the holidays, I’m uneasy about what will happen in the sterile doctor’s office. Will he give me a splint, order me to take a break from writing, or put me on painkillers? None of the above are ideal, but it’d devastate me to have to stop writing for any period of time. Through all the letdowns, disappointments, and rough times I’ve endured in my life, writing has been my constant and catharsis, and losing that, even for only a block of time, would tear me apart.

But it’s not just my digits that need fixing. My eyes are in trouble too, and we all know it’s pretty hard to be a writer when one’s eyes and hands are impaired, unless of course you’re Helen Keller and therefore a gift from above. Though I take pride in what I do and am very proud of who I’ve become, I doubt that holy accolade applies to me. As an optometrist told me last spring, after I woke up in her office after fainting for a minute, I have near perfect vision but astigmatism, and it’s vital that I do something to take care of this problem. Unfortunately, I was in no condition to finish out the eye doctor appointment that day, so she was unable to provide me with a prescription for glasses. I should really return to the eye doctor immediately, as untreated astigmatisms invite other ocular problems like lazy eye overtime, but my fear of others poking at my pupils is so intense that I actually faint when placed in that scenario. The ol’ Vasovagal response is fairly common, but makes it very hard to attend to one’s health.

So I stay away from doctors the same way I dodge creepy romantic suitors, only this kind of avoidance has taken a serious toll on my health. My hand is really beginning to hurt, and I find myself seeing double when reading something up close, so I’m forcing myself to make two doctor’s appointments within the next week to take care of these issues. Check back with me in seven days, and if I haven’t fulfilled my public commitment by then, you’re free to berate me as much as you’d like. My health is my responsibility, but I’m lucky to have friends who are willing to hold me accountable for my actions and make sure I’m making good decisions.


5 thoughts on “Seeking Encouragement to Call the Doctor

  1. You should go see a doctor. Phalanges in particular are SUPER easy to fix, especially early on. If you wait and let them heal improperly you’re not doing yourself any favors. Not to prey on the phobia but the solution would be to break and re-set the bones if they were so misaligned that it would cause continual damage. But more likely they’ll take an x-ray to look for fractures and give you a split or show you how to wrap your finger/toe to adjacent fingers/toes to keep them straight.

    Optometrists on the other hand are experts in dealing with squeamish reflexes. If you just let them know you’re nervous any doctor worth paying will take the time to explain things to you so you don’t fret and make sure you get the right treatment.

    I often hear people who speak about fears of doctors, and often I think its less the fear of the examination as it is the fear of results. The idea behind ignoring the problem is that no news is good news…The head in the sand so to speak…which has probably lead to more trouble than anything. With nearly ANY medical condition the sooner you jump on it the better your prognosis is– from anything benign to serious its so much better to go find out you’re a hypochondriac than let something get serious.

  2. Laura!! I’m so sorry about your hand 😦 Actually, this entry struck a cord in me because last fall I severely cut my fingers and had to have hand surgery. It was my right hand, and I am right handed, so I couldn’t write for about four months! It was really difficult, but it would have been way worse if I hadn’t taken care of the problem. I was still able to write. For the first month, I could only type with my left hand, which was annoying and tedious, but doable. Before that, I used the voice recorder app on my iPhone to record everything that I couldn’t write down, so I could still use my ideas later. It got better every day. Often, injuries can worsen over time. I encourage you to face your fears! I promise you that you will be able to write! Sending good thoughts your way!! ❤

    • Hi Kate and Archer,

      Thanks for your input! It actually took writing this piece for me to schedule both appointments. I’m going to the hand doctor first thing Monday morning an will end my day with an eye doctor visit. I hope they don’t have to reset my fingers, but I don’ think they’re that bad to begin with, so hopefully I’ll just have to wear a splint or something. As you said, I’m afraid of results, but fear is not a constructive emotion. It’s time for me to solve my problems rather than suffer through them day by day. Kate, I’m so sorry to hear about your injuries, how senseless! It happens to the best of us.

      I appreciate all of your help and insight as I overcome my fear of medical results! Wish me luck Monday!

  3. Pingback: Two doctor’s appointments in a day to learn everything checks out fine « Laura E. Donovan

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