Why I Like Going to the Doctor's

I used to hate going to the doctor’s. It was time ill spent and usually came with needle sticks, blood and urine. Everything I disliked. I also was a very healthy person before my RA so I felt like the hours I spent waiting, then in the doctor’s to then be poked and prodded with needles was just time wasted. I was also a little bitter because I never missed school for my doctor’s appointment, unlike my classmates who were pulled out for theirs.

Pre-RA, going to the doctor was a waste of time

It was time ill spent, in my opinion. From the absurd waiting time that never qualified the five minutes actually spent in with the doctor which was then followed by needle sticks, blood draws and urine collection. Yuck. I did not enjoy any of those things. There was a twinge of bitterness mixed in. I never missed school for said yearly check-ups while most of my friends did.

Of course, long gone are the years of singular visits and once off blood sticks. Now, I see my rheumatologist once a month and a smattering of other specialists. I get my blood drawn multiple times in the same 4 week period and sit with one IV. That's a lot of time spent on hating something, right? And, as we all know, strong emotions can affect our condition so, I had to change my feelings. I needed a major attitude adjustment.

How did I start to actually like going to the doctor?

How did I do it? The primary reason I enjoy going to the doctor is I get to talk about myself! I am lucky I have caring doctors who believe that what’s going on in my life could affect my Rheumatoid Disease. Of course, they’re probably right. I had severe allergies to our new puppy. I also flared up pretty badly when I tried to play too much tug-of-war. When my dog from my childhood days got cancer and passed away within eight weeks, we knew that the stress and grief would override all my medications and we quickly tried something new.

The everyday “haps” (my short version for happenings) dictated my physical therapy, my PCP visits and how effective my medications were.

I turned the dreaded waiting room into a chance to catch up on books or magazines, scroll through my social media and actually engage with it. I also used it to stay hydrated and down at least a full 8 oz. of water (thinking ahead to the blood draws here!)

There is no real way around the discomfort of needle pricks just like the inevitability of social isolation when you have RA. Thankfully, there are three technicians at my rheumatologist’s office. One does the blood draws while the other two handle the infusions. I see them regularly. I draw on my social skills and happily catch up with them and find out how they are. It’s refreshing speaking to someone else about their lives and not fixating on my own! (I try to do this anyways but when I’m all by myself it is hard not to dwell on this autoimmune giant!)

I used to be very set in my ways but RA taught me to be more fluid. I cannot feel strong emotion because it could derail me. I don’t bottle it up and I certainly try to change them. How do I make an unhappy experience, an inevitable one, better?

Do you like going to the doctor’s? LMK in the comments!!

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