Any change, even one for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~ Arnold Bennett
If there is one theme in my life that is prevalent at the moment, it’s change. I suppose that’s true for most of us to some extent a majority of the time, but there are usually constants we can cling to during those transitions; for me even the constants all seem to be in upheaval. That tends to be the nature of my life – I go through a few years of relative peace; where changes occur, but in singular events while the rest of my life is stable. Then it’s like the clock strikes midnight, and boy do I wish sometimes I just turned into a pumpkin instead of what ensues, lol. The last time this happened, about 3-4 years ago, in a 6 month period I went through a divorce, lost my job, was diagnosed with my first disease, had a surgery coupled with a possible cancer scare, and moved twice. Those were just the big things, I left out little particulars like having to make the decision to decimate what little of my 401k I had to get a vehicle during the transition. That kind of massive onslaught of change can be incredibly scary. It means diving into the unknown – letting go of the familiar and bracing yourself for new frontiers. If you didn’t initiate the change (and often even if you did), that can be unsettling to put it mildly.
I have learned that if you can find the strength to dig deep and hang on though, it can also be exhilarating.
The Clock Strikes Midnight
It was a beautiful albeit short change to fall here – I loved all two weeks of the gorgeous colors. In this area it’s the golds that seem more prevalent and striking. The tree outside my window is absolutely stunning for a short period of time, and I can spend hours just looking at it. It’s over now, and all the trees are bare; the skies are grey most days, and while it’s not super cold yet, it’s getting cold enough to get all my joints aching more often. The change going on outside has been an interesting accompaniment to the changes going on inside my life – an ironic sort of tandem dance, one that is either mocking or comforting – I can’t decide which.
I’ll be brief when it comes to my more personal upheavals; while so far it hasn’t been quite as drastic as my last episode of change, the changes have been every bit as hard to live through. Like the seasons themselves, I’ve had a huge shift inside. It happens to me with regularity, and generally prompts even more change and chaos to accompany whatever I already had going on. Part of me hates that I am this way – and part of me relishes every minute of it. Despite the incredible pain and chaos I always end up going through, which tends to be substantial, when I emerge out the other side and the bumps and scrapes heal, I always feel wonderfully – alive. I mourn some of the things I lose along the way, but where I end up has always been better than where I started.
That makes me sound crazy, and chaotic. But that’s me.
So on the list of my personal upheavals includes the disappointment from my most recent surgery; one that I am still attempting to heal from over 3 months after the fact, and ultimately was not successful. Another impending move – to a much nicer place in a million ways, but one with enough unspoken strings attached to make it a marionette. A complete turning upside-down of my relationship that has rocked it to it’s core, which has left me emotionally drained in ways I can’t even begin to describe; and finally a change in my medical care – which I never would have though would be scary until I discovered how much I relied on my relationship with my rheumy. Since this is primarily a chronic illness blog, I guess we’ll focus there. :)
The Dear John Letter
Now that it’s midnight, and my life is in full swing of upheaval, you can imagine I’m a touch… sensitive. So when I received a letter in the mail from my rheumy, I was afraid to even open it. I’ve had the same rheumy since my initial RA diagnosis in mid 2010; he’s been a comforting companion and guide through the realization of how much my life was going to change; through all the multiple meds and their disappointments; the incredible scare when I was allergic to one of them, resulting in devastating health consequences that will follow me the rest of my life; the subsequent diagnosis of fibromyalgia on top of my rheumatoid arthritis; through each little victory as I’ve climbed my way up the prescription ladder to find combinations that make it possible for me to get closer to the ‘normal’ life I had before the onset of all these challenges. I’ve leaned on him greatly; much more than I had ever realized. When I opened the letter, and it said that he was leaving, I was crushed.
As if that in itself wasn’t enough, it’s much more complicated then just switching doctors for me. Because I have no medical insurance, I receive all my care through one hospital system – they have put me on a program where they provide all my necessary medical care at no charge, minus prescriptions and a few outsourced labs. This has been a complete Godsend for me over the last two years in light of my recent medical landslide of issues – one that I will never be able to express how grateful I am to have in place. It has quite literally saved me in so many ways. Without this program I would be tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and would not be receiving adequate medical care in an effort to stem the financial hemorrhaging that would occur. My rheumy, who is leaving, is the only rheumy in the hospital system. So in addition to having to get a new doctor period, until the hospital fills the position, I’m in an interesting spot to say the least for my interim care.
My last visit with my rheumy was brief. He told me what a nice lady I was, and how I was going to be ok. I didn’t pester him with questions about his departure; he looked exhausted, and I was sure he’d answered them enough times. Ultimately, his reasons for leaving didn’t matter all that much anyway. It was a sad visit for me, and left me feeling like I’d lost a close friend.
I have a new appreciation now for a good doctor and the difference they can make. I’m not sure who my new doctor will be – if he will be as compassionate and understanding as my last one. If he will understand all I have been through with my medications and the impact the side effects have had on my life. If he will take the time to get to know me, or if he’ll just view me as another number, another appointment, another prescription. I don’t know if he’ll even be a he to be fair. I do know that I will never take an exceptional health care professional for granted again – and I truly hope my doctor finds fulfillment wherever he goes. I know somewhere out there, there are some very lucky people about to get a new doctor that will take very good care of them.
So here I am, in the midst of my chaotic life shift, and I’m gonna need a new doctor to lean on. As usual, I find the best way to deal with life is to find a way to laugh at it – once you can again. After very careful consideration, these are some of the possibilities I’ve selected to replace my rheumy…
- Dr. Peter Venkman
- Dr. Gregory House
- Dr. Evil
- Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
- Dr. Emmett Brown
I’m sure I’ve forgotten many great doctors that would be excellent candidates. I did not include Dr. Who – I know he is popular, but I’ve never seen an episode and have no personal connection with his persona, so it didn’t feel right to include him. I also briefly considered Dr. Ruth Westheimer, just because… well, it made me lol. But since her credentials are more robust then my current selection I left her off out of respect. I’d love to hear any other potentials that could go on my list, so don’t be shy if you have a suggestion!
Love & Lemonade to you all,