If you have a chronic illness you are more than aware that your life tends to be filled with Doctor’s appointments. You go to the doctor when you are not feeling well, to find out if if your illness is flaring. You go to the doctor while you are flaring to see if you are improving. You also go to the doctors even when you are feeling great. These are sometimes the most annoying and most necessary of all the doctor appointments. These are the ones you go to to find out that you are doing OK, that your regime of medications are keeping you stable and if you are lucky you may find out that you are improving. Sometimes these ‘just checking in’ appointments may reveal a dark thing lurking within your body so I always have mixed feelings when I go to a doctor on a routine appointment. Sometimes I walk out smiling, knowing I am doing OK, and knowing I get to go out conquer the world. Other times I leave dazed and confused, not sure of where to turn because a problem was found or more testing is needed. Eight years into this and I still have apprehension every time I enter a doctors office.
I attend most of my doctors appointments alone. I do this for multiple reasons but the main reason is I never seem to know what will happen at these appointments. Will I enter that office feeling great and exit feeling dazed and confused. I usually have a lot of emotions to cycle after an appointment and I prefer to do my cycling alone, I don’t want to share my feeling nor do I want to discuss how or why I am feeling any particular way.
Just because I go to my appointments alone and because they tend to take up a good part of my life (think of 6 different doctors who you see on a 3 or 6 month rotation and that is not including all the blood test or other tests, scans and probes) doesn’t mean I don’t want to have fun while doing it. I always try to plan some fun around every appointment. I understand not every appointment can be an adventure but if I can make it one, I will try!
I used to feel guilty about these mini adventures I was having. I felt like I could not post to my usual CSS support groups about them because I felt like I didn’t want to make others feel bad, lonely or sorrowful. Thanks to a fellow CSSer who I shall refer to as ‘my evil twin’ I realized that I am not the only one who tries to make the mundane, confusing and sometimes painful world of doctor appointments fun. I also realized that I am doing a disservice by not sharing my adventures. Maybe I can inspire another person to make a little adventure of your appointments so that no matter what emotions you are struggling with as you leave that doctors office you still remember to live life to the fullest.
A Foggy Day In San Francisco
Yesterday I had two doctors appointments in San Francisco. They were spaced 4 hours apart so I knew I would have some time for adventuring. I had nothing planned as I left the house except to have some good food between visits in the city. I left my house at 7am for my 2 hour 15 minute commute to San Francisco. I did not plan ahead so only had my cell phone to take pictures of my adventure. As I sat in traffic on my way to my 1st appointment instead of getting annoyed I just looked around me and marveled at the amazing array of architecture and color in the homes.
After my first appointment I was starving. I planned to go to this Latin place I had visited before but since they were not open yet I decided to try a new restaurant. I was attracted to a place called BEAUTIFULL in Laurel Village because of the look of all the amazing food and choices. Wow! I was amazed at the freshness and quality and not till I got home did I google the restaurant and found out I picked a winner.
Next I treated myself to a little shopping and picked up a new pair of jeans and a sweater. Even though I have gained weight from the 8 years of prednisone I really think it is important to still have some nice clothes so I can feel good good about myself. Next, I remembered that on my way to the appointment I saw a sign for the entrance to the California Academy of Sciences located at Golden Gate park. I have never been there and knew it was a nice place to walk around and maybe see some fun things.
Although, I was amongst many class trips my visit to the Academy was wonderful. I knew I was limited in my energy so I planned on staying there for 90 minutes and just wandering and learning the place so I could return in the future. WOW! It was an amazing place. I spent some time in the rainforest dome among the butterflies and then went to the Steinhart Aquarium (part of the Academy) and just got lost looking at all the tanks filled with creatures . I then just wandered around to plan out my future visits and of course visited the gift shop.
Afterwards I still had an time before my next 2pm appointment which was good since I got lost (story of my life in San Francisco) and ended up at the beach. California has some of the best beaches but not this one in San Francisco. It was kinda scary and definitely did not show SF’s best side, but never shying from an adventure I exited my car to snap a few pictures before hastily getting back in my car. There was a large amount of campers and cars with people living in them parked in this area and the ground seemed to have a growth of alcohol bottles that definitely was not Napa’s finest wines. I was surprised by the fact that there were two windmills near the beach. I later found out they are called the Dutch and Murphy Windmills and have a very interesting story behind them.
I am glad I was not planning on touching the Pacific Ocean from this parking lot though, let alone taking a swim….
I made it to my second appointment on time and 2 hours later (yes long appointment and unexpected lung function tests) I was on my way back home. It was a good day, yes, as always the doctors brought up some questions, switched a medication or two and rescheduled to see me back in 3 months. I had time to think about everything on my long commute back home but since I didn’t want to cook for the family once I got home and needed a driving break, I was happy to find an Off The Grid Food truck gathering to grab some takeout and drive the rest of the way home.
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