DR. JULIE

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While recovering from I had thought would be a simple surgery on my gums, I have fallen back into old habits of harsh talk and treatment of myself. I blame myself for not cancelling the surgery and not listening to my gut, for trusting when warning bells shook my soul.

My self-flogging is merciless. I feel defeated, I look for succor, warmth, a place to curl up and be loved. But I am not finding it within me. I never have. It is work to find peace, warmth and love inside of me.

Lately it has been impossible. I eat, knowing I should not. That means a night waiting for my body to expel it and the pain that goes along with it. The emotional pain of self-hate for using old patterns to sooth me when my body has worn out inside and cannot tolerate such treatment is unbelievable, hard to accept, that I continue with a behavior knowing how it will affect me so adversely.

I harbor self-hate for being afraid of telling a doctor she made serious errors with me, because if I do, I burn bridges behind me. How do you speak up with grace and not burn bridges?

One thing I did not share about the surgery— I felt so afraid, so wrong about it, I popped Xanax like candy on the way there. I lost track of how many, perhaps 6. That is 6 mg of a substance that the most I’ve taken for surgery is 2-3. She had to administer Oxygen during the procedure, or so she told my husband afterwards. My O2 dropped to 80 and normal is above 95%. She told him I need a sleep study.

Sleep study? Perhaps a brain scan for being a ‘dummy’, my mother’s words. I cannot keep one of my mother’s favorite expressions for me out of my head, “DUMMY.” I am 63 years old and seem to be getting less intelligent, or more afraid. Or what? Why can’t I speak up? I cannot. I never will be able to easily That was taken for me.

I was taught I didn’t matter, that. I am invisible. Do what you like. Ingrained into me, these thoughts, ideas and feelings, and I must work with what is. I must work to recover some respect for myself because I’ve lost ground. My body heals slowly from her interventions, but my spirit is having a very time. I look for joy and excitement in the day to day, I go through the motions, but something is dormant, defeated and weary. This will take time…

I realized I had to get my feelings out. I wrote the following, but have not sent it.

__________________________________________

Dear Dr. Julie,

I am not happy. Had I any understanding of the second part of the surgery, I would not have agreed. I did not even know of it. I only know you breezily said that I can sign a consent to have an extraction. I went into shock and answered OK as if you’d asked for a cup of coffee. In addition to the shock, maybe I asked no questions because you seemed so hurried and because you have done so much for me in the past. I trusted you.

When I got home the adrenaline kicked in and I wondered and panicked, what? I called requesting to speak with you on the next day you were in. Since I have no cell phone, I carried our house phone around all day, but you never called.

I called back several times trying to gather information, my gut telling me this was wrong. I allowed myself to go along after being told several times that “We don’t perform needless surgeries.” I can’t blame you for that, nor for not following my gut and cancelling the whole thing until I had a better understanding of it and fully agreed.

I may have agreed to the clean-up in the affected tooth, even the possibility of a graft. But I doubted a graft could occur because a previous dentist had taken the gum-line down so excessively. And the graft did not occur. What was the point? Was any good done?

I did not realize that you would remove healthy tissue from the tooth behind it just to ‘see’ what was going on. And since I did not understand, I did not give permission, not really. Had we talked like we should have, that could have been avoided.

Why would I allow anyone to take away healthy tissue or remove it from the bone or tooth just to look around? You had tested the area and didn’t believe there to be a crack, as well as Dr. John, and I believe your instincts.

I did not agree to the removal of healthy tissue. Now the healthy gum around that second tooth is permanently much lower and will permanently cause problems of sensitivity that weren’t there before. It is much more sensitive now than it was, doubly so. Nothing seems improved, instead it appears to be permanently worsened.

Do you realize how hard these procedures are for me? There needs to be NO questions about it’s necessity. It gets harder to do these things, not easier. I have to tell my little girl, the one terrified inside, “Lie still, be quiet, be good, be hurt.”

If there are any questions I should not be put through such an ordeal. There were a lot of questions. Explore? Not again. You never used the ‘exploratory surgery’ when we met. 

After the surgery I became seriously ill from a severe bowel inflammation with intense spasms from the Amoxicillin. I was unable to eat for three days and even then added bland food sparingly. I am still recovering. There was no mention of its side-effects. With older people medications can cause so many more problems because we are much more sensitive to them. Time and care must be taken before prescribing them. 

As this heals, I hope my ability to trust does too.

Sincerely,

Patricia

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11 thoughts on “DR. JULIE

      1. I think we get in a place, especially when we are sick when we listen to the doc/dentist. We assume they are doing what’s best for us because that’s how we were raised. I think she is responsible not you, because you are the patient. Be gentle with yourself. The fact that you are advocating for yourself (or someone you love will advocate for you) is what is now important. Keep healing my friend. You are kick-ass!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh man, I wish I could pour all the compassion I feel for you into a safe space for you to step into so that your self-hating feelings would dissolve and you could step out into a beautiful day–free.

    Lack of compassion for oneself is a characteristic of PTSD. I so identify. It’s easier to feel it for someone else than for me.

    I totally empathize with your situation. Throughout my life, I’ve felt utterly demoralized for not speaking up when looking back at certain triggering scenarios in which I’d slightly dissociate, feel paralyzed, recede inward and go silent. I’d be aware of what was going on around me. I’d feel the gut feelings telling me something was wrong. I’d feel the old 1960’s paralysis of my childhood when the “right” thing to do to survive was to stay silent and go along with the scenario, especially when significant others or authority figures were calling the shots.

    And I did “survive” as a result of that 1960’s survival response, so my survival instinct automatically goes to that old paradigm under certain circumstances. My adult intelligence or thinking brain is relegated to the back. I can’t access it.

    Then I kind of “wake up” days later (sometimes months or years later) and think, Why didn’t I do this or say that? But dissociation, whether slight or deep, is involuntary and it just takes over. It’s almost like saying, Why did I start sneezing right then? Or hiccupping?

    If we can’t speak the truth to a friend or a doctor or whoever, without risking losing them, then maybe they aren’t somebody we want in our lives anymore. People do the wrong thing sometimes. People change. I had a psychiatrist I loved for twenty years, and then he changed. He became someone who was so unhealthy for me to see. It was so hard to let go of him. He’d been so great once.

    Anyhoo, you know all this. I’m just saying I’m with you and sending a big space of compassion for you to step into. I think it’s hovering near the basil right now. : )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually I didn’t know all this. I maybe sensed it but with your words maybe now I CAN have compassion for not pulling the plug on the whole thing till she explained things. Wow. You make me understand. That makes so much sense. I froze. Am still thawing out. I feel so old and this shouldn’t be happening, yet I also know some of the damage from trauma is permanent because my startle response still activates with immediacy.
      Oh Ann. You’re wisdom. You are right. She is no longer the person safe for me no matter how much she helped in the past. Her life and how she works is not healthy for me, and in fact, harmful.
      Speaking about the change in your psychiatrist, sad as that is, helped me clarify what I began to think about. Time to find someone new…and closer. She’s on the other side of the city.
      Thank you basil buddy… Hope all is well on your end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The emotional pain of self-hate for using old patterns to sooth me when my body has worn out inside and cannot tolerate such treatment is unbelievable, hard to accept, that I continue with a behavior knowing how it will affect me so adversely.”

    God I get this. I do. I fall into old patterns of self-flogging and being super self-critical and feeling stuck and feeling afraid and hating myself for it. And then I get foggy brained and afraid and more stuck and more self-loathing. It’s a cycle. A dance that winds itself round and round and round and it begins with being triggered. The smallest thing and I jump into that dance as if I’m on auto pilot. And maybe I am, because I’ve disassociated from being triggered. I like Ann’s advice for self-compassion. I think that’s the only way we can be reminded that we have the power to just step out. Step out of the damn dance and stop spinning. I think the worst part is — like you — I see it. I see what I’m doing but it’s still hard to stop. Writing about it, processing it, being gentle with ourselves about it and supporting each other through it is a good place to start. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability and your own process with all of this. It helps afford insight into my own. XO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Ann’s way of wording it certainly allowed a more accurate view of myself, one with a much greater respect of just what my challenges are and how much it takes to live with them. Oh what relief!
      How easy to get side-railed down the ‘I hate me path.’
      I appreciate you sharing too. When another that I admire such as yourself struggles with similar challenges (and of course such challenges do not lesson my opinion of you, but rather makes me admire you even more) then maybe I can cut myself some slack.

      Liked by 1 person

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