on faith and change

Doctor's desk with Mountain Dew can.

I took a quick picture of the office, including the soda can. No, there isn’t really a pump on the Mountain Dew; that’s just some hand sanitizer tucked behind the can, although how funny would that be?

My new neurologist drinks Diet Mountain Dew. I’ve latched on to this like a sneak peek into his humanity: I like my doctors to be people, and this seems like a throwback to med school study sessions, or possibly secret, epic tabletop gaming sessions— absolutely a possibility, as he’s also only slightly older than I am, and slightly odd, as all neurologists seem to be. Do they profile for that in medical school? Jocks over to Orthopedics, eccentrics off to Neurology, tweedy nebbishy sorts over to Internal Medicine: everyone in your queues, now. 

We’re still doing that careful dance that happens in the beginning of all doctor- patient relationships, the who- are- you, what- is- this waltz, but he seems to have the ratios of detached empathy and clever problem-solving that I prefer.

All of this chasing- down- better- health business has come with enormous amount of change, which has been challenging. Switching my primary doctor was one of the biggest switches of all, and I was a little unprepared for how much I’d feel about it. I’d been seeing my neurologist, Dr. D, since I’d presented at Hopkins in 2009 and we’d worked well together, but as things progressed it became increasingly clear that I needed to move on from general neurology to work with someone who specialized in MS. Breaking up with your neurologist isn’t fun, but I don’t there’s any better example of, “It isn’t you, it’s me, honest.” 

And so: a leap of faith. One of many lately: 2014, a year of faith and change. I’m still that girl, it seems. It isn’t a silly decision: I’m at the Hopkins MS Center, the new guy comes with all the proper paperwork and writes all these lovely papers, he has ideas, it’s all very exciting, etc, etc … you get it. I’m into it. It’s a great deal of change, though, and that’s the theme right now: change, upheaval, uncertainty. I’m relearning flexibility, both in PT and out of it. It’s good for me, but I’ve become more rigid than I should’ve been (how the body informs us of the mind and spirit, it is odd) and it’s tricky stuff. I’m enjoying the challenge, too, to an extent: there’s something to being pushed that I’ve always welcomed. 

I miss certainty, though. Reliability. The known. That was nice for a while, even when it was clearly no longer what I needed— even when it was clearly no longer doing me any good, even when it began to show signs of hindering me, of hurting my health. Breaking away from the things we know- from the things I’ve known- is hard, painful, and frightening on this core level that I remember very well but had lost in the comforting, comfortable haze of safety. It’s so easy just to settle in and allow even my own health to slide, just to let the status quo carry things along. 

Scarier, though, is just letting everything slide and decline. This set of new faces, and all their new opinions and ideas, it’s all both intimidating and invigorating. I’m trying not to let it overwhelm, and while there are days when I’m not sure I believe this is really my life, I know I can’t afford not to believe it, either. To faith, then, and change. 

  One thought on “on faith and change

  1. June 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I have serious White Coat problems. It took me nearly a year to accept a referral from my PCP to someone who could help with a problem that I was having. The new Doc is kind, empathetic, very, very good at his specialty and he has a Corgi. It’s all been fabulous. I probably need to make a few more changes but I figure I’ll do it in baby steps. I’m comfortable that way.

    Thank you for sharing how it’s working out for you. It makes me have hope because so many physicians lack the empathy to deal with a chronic problem. They have the mindset of fix it, turf it and that doesn’t work if you have a chronic illness. Being flexible to changes with the advent of new research and medications seems to be a hallmark of this new set of graduating specialists. I have hope that my future might include better treatment like yours will.

    • June 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Oh, White Coat Syndrome, I totally understand that! Every time I meet a new clinician I’m just a little apprehensive. Medical professionals are people, despite the demonizing and hero worship, so I’m always a little worried that today will be the day I get a robot or a jerk. Sometimes I do, but hey, I can always just pick someone else, you know? I forgot about that for so many years in my early twenties. (Well, I was also using military medicine, but that’s a different story.)

      Your doc has a Corgi! It’s absolutely illogical but my first thought upon seeing that is he must have a good sense of humor— and quite possibly a good heart, too. They are some of the sweetest dogs. That humanizing element, too, right? It just helps SO MUCH. I’m so glad that some changes to your medical set- up seem to be working out for you. I hope it continues.

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