Being Assertive

11 Oct

I had to go in for that second follow-up beta hCG test.  YAY [/sarcasm]  The phlebotomist, Y, is actually pretty good and it certainly doesn’t hurt that her space is smaller than some people’s walk-in closets so it’s less overwhelming.  Miss Y, thank you for being so quick on the draw.  (Haha, get it?  *rimshot*)  I’ll have my results tomorrow…

As I was leaving, I asked for paper copies of last week’s blood work.  I needed to have something tangible to build my comprehension.  So I asked!  And it took a moment, but I actually got them right then!  Like, without a fight!  I was nervous asking but the lady at the front desk didn’t make a big deal of it.  Thank you Madame Receptionista!

For the record, my hCG levels as of Friday morning were about 13,000 mIU/mL which is near the lower threshold for 6 weeks (Friday was 5w, 6d).  I just want that level to RISE – I am obviously not going to be on the upper end of the spectrum, it just needs to be above 26,000 mIU/mL.  PLEASE!  Little one, if you can hear me (I know your ears aren’t exactly developed yet), please! just keep growing and producing that hormone, okay?

Tomorrow is my appointment with Dr. Endocrine, which hopefully doesn’t require a total physical exam.  I have to warm up to a person’s touch.  Physical exams where one must be palpated and prodded tend to make me overly nervous and uncomfortable as I rarely get a doctor who will give me the moment to feel at ease.   Today, I actually went to the pharmacy in a local grocery store to get a free blood pressure reading because my anxiety with doctors is so strong that I was scared I would give myself an inaccurate reading tomorrow.  I wanted a base line that I could be aware of and to dispel my worry.  My blood pressure last Tuesday afternoon, after a panic attack complete with crying jag, while I was wearing a thin gown that was not my own: 143 over something equally worrisome; the nurse looked visibly concerned when a second reading fared no better.  My BP this afternoon at the same time of day, after my normal weekday routine and while wearing street clothing: 114/75 – not wonderful, but considered in the normal range.

I’m thinking of buying my own hospital gown.  Once, a nurse practitioner asked me to wear a short, backwards paper vest and to use a paper “sheet” to cover the rest of myself while waiting alone in the exam room for 20 minutes.  It got to be a bit much and I freaked!  I had a total meltdown.  I’ve never had a panic attack so bad.  I did not want to be exposed and especially not examined.  It was so bad they offered sedatives for subsequent visits and referred me to the ob/gyn group Dr. Diablita belongs to… that hasn’t entirely worked out for me.  The episode leaves me thinking that exam gowns can be trigger-y for me.

If I bought one for myself and it “fit” me and I made myself try it on once or twice at home away from the anxiety-producing environments, I think I could confront the trigger and at the same time, offer an alternative.  See, I’m comfortable in my street clothes because they are mine and in being so, they are an armor, but most of what I wear isn’t conducive to a doctor’s exam, so they want me to change.   If I change into something that I can brand as my own, but that the doctor can exam me in, we both win, right?

I don’t know what else to do at this point except to assert my position as a real person more often.  I have got to speak up for myself and act in my best emotional-interest, or I could face a whole slew of problems from interventions I don’t need to emotional scarring to even more anxiety.  The trouble is, it’s hard for me to grab the doctor’s attention while feeling that I’m being respectful.  I don’t want to make the doctor upset – I know they are the experts on the body functions and treatment, but at the same time, I’m the body’s owner and I have to deal with the treatment’s repercussions.  One of the doulas I’ve come to know through training said that she would always ask questions to make the doctor pay attention to her, especially after her doctor would try to leave after whirlwind, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type exams.   I can see how this could work to make the doctor respect me as the owner of the body who has an emotional investment in how it’s treated.  This will need more contemplation.  I’ll work on what I’ve got tomorrow at the office of Dr. Endocrine, but now, it’s time for bed.


One Response to “Being Assertive”


  1. I Was In the Hospital « Pregnant and… - October 17, 2010

    […] an exercise in not lashing out my husband out of misplaced fear.  At the clinic, my BP was 114/73 (booyah self doubt!) but by admission the systolic part had jumped to 153 – yikes! After I settled into my room, […]

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