‘Cause, well, I’m #autistic. That’s why.

winter snow on treesI love winter. I really do. I love the cold, I love the long nights, I love the way it just slows everything down. I love how the snow dampens the sound, and hides so many of the world’s distracting details.

What I don’t love about it, is how others behave in the winter. They drive like they’ve never been in snow before. They carry on like the world continues to be simple and straightforward and super-charged, as it was in the summer. People don’t adjust to it, and they act out, misbehave, and place unrealistic expectations on others.

Or maybe it’s an American thing, where everybody’s more nervous in winter, so they feel compelled to be even more active than usual.

I had a day like that, yesterday. I swear … people at work are annoying me to no end. They are so hyper, so over-the-top busy. It’s ridiculous. And they expect me to be that way, too. Even more ridiculous. Guess what, people… running around like wild rabbits on a fine spring day is not going to make your life better. Even if you think your impression of over-achieving is going to impress your higher-ups (and it may), it’s not going to get the job done any better. In fact, chances are, it’s going to screw everything up.

Oh, GOD, I am so tired of over-achievers.

Anyway, that’s enough of that rant. Let’s now turn our attention to the doctor’s appointment I had yesterday. I’m switching doctors – to someone in the nearby city, which has world-class medical facilities… versus someone affiliated with a local hospital which has a good reputation in this area, but doesn’t come close to comparing to the hospitals in the city. I used to have a really great doctor. She was fantastic. And she was under constant pressure from her practice to speed things up and not take as much time with patients. Every time I went to see her, I got an inkling of how much pressure she was under — and also how she just didn’t care… she was going to devote her time to her patients.

It wasn’t healthy for her, and I felt bad, every time  saw her. Also, the staff didn’t treat her with the respect she deserved. The worst thing is, she got cancer and died a little over a year ago. I don’t doubt that the environmental stress of that environment contributed to her health issues. How can you stay healthy, when you’re under constant pressure to go against your most deeply held values and priorities? She was such a great doctor. And after she died, the practice put up a picture of her (which wasn’t even a decent likeness of her –  it was not flattering at all), and everybody was so sad.

Well, they should have treated her better, when she was alive, then. Maybe if they’d not put as much pressure on her, she would have been stronger and better able to fight for her life.

I actually hate the practice lead, as she tried to block me from seeing a specialist I desperately needed to see, about 10 years ago. She actually tried to steer me towards someone “in network” who did not have the kind of orientation, track record, and expertise that I specifically needed at the time. I had very specific requirements, and my case was a unique one that would have been so, so easy to confuse and dismiss — thus guaranteeing that I was permanently screwed, not just temporarily. It was ridiculous, and I had to really go ballistic on a whole bunch of them at the practice in order to get my needs met. I did. And I hated them all for making me lose my cool.

The weirdly ironic thing is, when my good doctor died, the only option I had was to go to the evil practice lead. I tried her out – for my annual physical – and it was every bit as disconcerting as my referral interactions with her 10 years before. Ugh. It was just so awful in every sense of the word.

Needless to say, given my sentiments, I can’t keep going to that practice. Plus, I don’t trust the “good” hospital that’s in my area. I’ve had dealings with them when my partner was having some serious health issues about 10 years ago, and I just do not trust them with my life. So, I’ve found a doctor who’s in the city, who is associated with a practice that is actually staffed up with some really great physicians, and who is affiliated with one of the top hospitals in the nation.

So, there ya go.

Oh, if only I didn’t have to deal with the medical system.

I had my first appointment yesterday. Got my annual physical. It was fine. No lectures about diagnostic stuff I really don’t care to do, no pressure. Just very clinical and matter-of-fact.

Of course, I was only at about 65% of capacity, yesterday. I had a busy morning before driving in. It snowed. I had to shovel my driveway, stairs, and deck. I also had an early start to the day, and the logistics of figuring out how to get where I was going, where I was going, how long it would take me, and what I would do when I got there… it was all kind of overwhelming. Plus, having to interact with a new doctor. What do I say? How do I say it? I’ve alienated and insulted many a provider by saying things wrong or choosing the wrong words, over the course of my life, and I just didn’t want to do it all over again. The building they were in was confusing and fluorescent-lit and had lots of stone and hard, shiny surfaces. And there were lots of people in the building speaking languages I didn’t  know. Russian, Hebrew, and others, I think. Loud, echo-y, bright, shiny, confusing. Small elevator that took forever to get where it was going. Narrow hallways. Very confusing. It was like a labyrinth inside.

And the first time in, of course, I was in heavy-duty observation mode – because I had no idea what sounds and sights and sensations were important to note. It’s always that way, when I start something new — I go into observer mode to figure out the “lay of the land” before I start pro-actively interacting. I need to understand what all is there, and when there’s a lot to take in (which there was), I’m incapable of being spontaneous and personable. I’m in pure just-do-it mode, and I have no bandwidth for coming up with inventive questions. I don’t even know enough about the practice and the doctor to know what to ask. I’m just like a dumb log sitting in the exam room. And doctors sometimes think there’s something wrong with me.

My really great doctor thought at first that I was clinically depressed. Because I wasn’t all effusive and outgoing. That took time. It takes time for me to figure out which way to go, how to be, how to act, what to say, what NOT to say. Yes, I do sometimes have problems with depression, but that’s not what affects me, when I’m first getting to know a doctor.

My chief concern with getting to know a new doctor, is not offending them, not insulting them, not making them feel like I disrespect them. It all just comes out wrong, sometimes. Especially when they make flat-out inaccurate statements based on flawed or inaccurate research, or some “popular knowledge” that has very little to do with science and everything to do with their skewed version of what constitutes medicine, these days. I have no patience for doctors who parrot medical folklore without checking if their “solution” has actually been shown to reduce morbidity – or mortality.

Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling. I’ve had some very long days, lately, and I’m a little punchy. I’m also heading out in a few minutes to see the counselor I found who knows about Aspergers. We’ll see how that goes. My main concern with him is that he doesn’t tip off the insurance company about an Aspergers/autism diagnosis. I don’t want to go on the books for that. I have other issues he can reference. We’ll talk about that when I get there.

So it goes. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already. Time sure is flying… which is fine.

This year can’t get over with soon enough.

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