I am so glad that I can post a good news today. Yay!!!
My friend M took me to the doctor’s appointment. I am so grateful for her understanding and support as I could not go to the appointment by myself. She dealt with all the paper work and the talk with the receptionist. She gave me mental support just being there with me and waiting wasn’t too bad. While we were waiting, we sussed out the possibly my future doctor. He seemed to be well mannered and kind looking person. The doctor is only practising at this Medical Centre on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon. M thought it was bit inconvenient, but I felt it wouldn’t matter too much as I won’t be seeing him often. The positive side is the Medical Centre is only 5 minutes drive from my place and I should not have trouble driving there unless I am having really bad day.
I had been preparing the summary to take to the doctor so that he could read it and understand my illness, severity, symptoms and history. I also printed out ME/CFS Guide to GP, just in case the doctor refuses to accept ME/CFS as a real illness. I was very nervous. At the same time, I was determined to make this appointment happen as it was my chance to find a doctor while M’s help is available.
Doctor TL greeted me with Japanese since he noticed my Japanese name. To be honest, it was bit weird (as I am Australian now and English is my main language) but I always appreciate it very much when people try it as it is such a kind gesture that they are welcoming me being here.
The consultation started by the question why I needed to see him. So I explained that I recently moved here and I needed to find a doctor. Then he said, “Welcome to Australia.” Now I realise that at this moment he thought I moved here from Japan as M was accompanied with me. As we talk, I felt this misunderstanding was cleared.
He asked me what illness do I have. I answered, “ME”. Then I became extremely nervous. I quickly expressed my concerns and bad experience with previous doctor and hoped that I was hoping to find a doctor who would treat it as a real illness. Then, HE explained to me that ME can be very DEBILITATING illness and it is REAL, and he is treating other people with ME. At this moment, overwhelming emotion took over me and tears started coming out. (I shamefully admit that I am such a drama queen these days and I want to stop it…) That moment, I felt I was saved. M understood the reason for my cry and gave me pats on my shoulder. Then he asked question about symptoms and those questions were spot on. He kept asking me if I had asthma. I kept answering “no”. But when he listened to my chests, he asked me to come back on Thursday and take the test to check lung function. He made a phone call to the pathologist where I had my last blood test done in December 2005, and asked the result which showed abnormality. Then, he ordered a several blood tests. I asked how far the pathologist from there as I was worried if I had to drive to the busy part of the city. (M would take me today, but I needed to drive myself in the future.). Then he said with a cheeky smile that the pathologist is in the same premises so it is a few steps away from his office. I felt things were getting even better.
He asked if I knew someone who has ME. I answered a few online friends. He said there are another lady with severe ME living in this suburb, and I might meet her one day. He then added, then, I wouldn’t feel I am strange and realise all the symptoms are real. He also added with a sad smile that I was just unlucky to have this illness. That is the exact thoughts I’ve been having. Before I leave his office, I gave him the “ME/CFS Guide to GP” and my 10 page summary. He kindly said that it was not necessary as he does lots of reading. I humbly explained that one of them was the summary of my symptoms and history. Then, he took both of them and said he would keep them in my chart.
I will come back on Thursday and take the lung test. Then, we will discuss about medication in detail according to test results.
Whole experience was much better than I hoped for. It was as if I hit the jack pot. I could not calm my joy for a very very long time. I reached out my hand to shake his hand to say thank you from bottom of my heart. He gave me warm, firm and long grip and said with smile, “Welcome to Eagleby.” And I felt again that I was saved.
Then we took a few steps to pathologist’s office. Pathologist was open and nice, too. I asked her what these blood tests were for because she took five or six tube of blood. Last time, I only had two or three. She explained that I seem to have lots of pains, iron level, thyroid, Ross River virus, blood count, and something else. While she was taking my blood, M asked what does Dr TL do when he is not here. She said he has a full time practice at other suburb. Then she mentioned that he used to be a nurse. And I kept saying, “That’s why! That’s why.” His nursing experience gave him deeper understanding and compassion to patients. Everybody working at the Medical Centre was speaking very highly of him.
Rest of the day, I was over the moon. My adrenaline is still pumping energy of joy and I am still feeling in euphoria. I have no idea what I can expect or how better I could be… (I know as a fact that I am in very deep with this illness and my expectation needs to be realistic.) But I cannot not stop feeling that this is the beginning of claiming my life back. Being positive is easy now. And hope became feasible.
I’ve been hanging in there. I hung in there. And, I hung in there. Finally, I got the reward for those efforts today.