Iatrophobia… An abnormal or irrational fear of doctors or going to the doctor.
I am absolutely horrified of doctors. It’s my largest phobia. I honestly think that I am going to have to have my husband go with me to the next appointment I make, because I truly need the support. Normally, if I take my blood pressure at the pharmacy it is right where it should be. When I walk into a doctor or dentist’s office, it shoots through the roof. A very sweet hygienist once explained to me that it is a recognized condition. So I guess that I am not alone.
One of the earliest memories I have in the long line of incidents that have fed into my fear, is from when I was nine or ten years old. I was having some fillings done at my dentist, who my mom was crazy about at the time. He was training two dental students who were observing while he worked on me. I have super sensitive teeth and not very responsive to Novocain, so dental work is rough on me. I was under the influence of laughing gas while he did the fillings. I guess that the dentist assumed that I was somewhat unaware of the conversation that he was having with his students. I heard them laugh when I backed up into the chair from the pain of the drill, and I remember my dentist reminding the students that he had warned them what a terrible patient I was. I still remember that, it was a little traumatic.
There is a long list that follows. It includes incidents more than it does doctors, but there are a lot of doctors in there too. The doctor that did my first cervical surgery when I was eighteen negligently let me believe that I might never be able to have children. Later he was fired after many complaints were lodged against him. After that, I found out that he had botched my surgery and had to have it done again.
When I had my C-section…oh gosh, let’s see…first they left me half naked waiting hunched over a table to get my spinal anesthesia while that doctor ran off to check on something. Afterward, the nurse carrying the tools that had been used in my surgery slipped and fell and cut herself on them. I hemorrhaged when they got me back to my room, because the nurses had neglected to massage my uterus after they had taken one enormous fused placenta out of me. All of this, after the fact that I never would even had agreed to the C-section if their ultrasound had not shown that the twins were both over seven pounds. They were each born at two pounds less than that. I am convinced that angels got us out of the hospital safely.
My grandmother passed away this morning. I am very grateful that her pain is over now. I imagine her like a little tomboy once again…running around her small town and getting into trouble. Free. There were a lot of mistakes made in her care in the last few months of her life. No one part of the medical system involved is to blame, but the system as a whole caused her more suffering than she should have had to endure. It breaks my heart.
I do not in any way disbelieve in medicine. Quite a few people that I love dearly would not be around today without its miracles. Medicine in our country has an extremely long way to go though. It needs to be a priority. Nothing changes unless we make it change. I guess that this most recent experience has given me more inspiration to make it one of my priorities. I am working on the phobia too. I know that it isn’t something that I should just accept and not work to overcome. Lots to do…always further to go.