It's still January, but our tulips are coming up. WTF?
I went out to mail something at the beginning of the week and right by the front door, there they were, these happy little green leaves poking their way up, fully confident that winter had ended. I hope they don't get disappointed by a sudden cold snap before spring really arrives. I know, it's not too far off -- everything greens up fairly early here. But there isn't exactly a way for these guys to retract or change course now that they've committed to putting themselves out there.
I kind of wish I could be that confident.
Monday, I went to my GI doctor for follow-up. I finally had that long-awaited blood draw last week, so the plan was for me to get my results from him and talk about the plan going forward after the developments from December.
Well, the results were so-so. One of the liver function tests actually came back with results in the normal range, which is great. The other one, however, was still outside of normal. It did come down, but not far enough. So we'll recheck those in three months.
This isn't what's making me feel a want for mettle, though.
Back in December, when Troubadour Dad decided to push for a consult from a specialist at Almost Dr. Sis's medical school, it wasn't just a "why don't you get a second opinion?" sort of conversation. Troubadour Dad is very opinionated, shall we say. My responses to his questions about what I'd had done so far in my workup were all met with some kind of editorial comment. "Those GI guys just like to do procedures," he said with a knowing nod when he found out I'd had the endoscopy. "That's all they're interested in."
"He did find some erosions in my stomach lining," I said meekly. "I mean, that's good that he caught those early --"
"Yeah, sure," Troubadour Dad said. "That's his way of justifying doing that procedure so you'll feel like it was worth it. That's where they make their money, you know."*
I didn't say anything more at that point. But the damage was done.
On Monday, my GI doctor said that the symptoms I'd been getting since December were still not indicative of something specific. "Basically, you're still an unknown," he said. "We can either let it hang for now, or if you're not totally, totally happy, my next step would be a colonoscopy."
Well, I can't say I want one of those, but before that conversation with Troubadour Dad, I wouldn't have questioned that treatment plan. Instead, I've got this little voice in my head now that keeps whispering my father's words over and over. Talk about crazy-making. Add to this my worries that my GI guy knows I've had my records sent to the other specialist -- and therefore has reason to believe I don't trust him -- and I start to wonder if he's suggesting we "let it hang" because he doesn't see a point in putting further effort into a diagnosis if someone else is going to do it.
Okay, that last idea was probably a bit nutty, but I do know that doctors aren't immune to their own egos. Troubadour Dad's a prime example of that. What intensifies that problem is the father-knows-best mentality he brings out whenever he doctors his own kids. This is why I don't talk about my health with him if I can avoid it. Unfortunately, I couldn't really give him any other explanation but the truth when I wasn't drinking over the holidays. He knows me too well to think I'd just stop because I felt like it.
Anyway, about confidence. I just want to feel that it's okay to trust whom I've chosen to trust while we're figuring out what in the world is wrong with me. It's no help at all to doubt those people. But that voice, my father's voice. It's dogged me since I was a child, has told me I'm not wise enough -- will never be wise enough -- to know what's best for me, in my health, my career, my life. Most days, I work pretty hard to ignore it. But during times like these, I just can't seem to shut it up.
* GI doctors, please don't take what Troubadour Dad says personally; he's not out to insult you alone. He's got plenty more to say about folks in other specialties that are also not his own.
13 hours ago