Yesterday I went to the doctor's. Actually, I went to the Working Men's Project Sexual Health Clinic, which is for men who work in the sex industy. That's whores in the vernacular. I hate STD tests usually, actually, mostly i just hate the urethral swabs. the large one makes me light headed, the small one makes me faint on a 5 minute delay, not good. But the nurses at the WMP are so lovely. GUM clinic nurses have sure enough seen and heard everything, but the nurses that run the men's and women's whore clinics have truly seen and heard it all. And what's great about that, is there's none of the preachy, or disapproving, or judgemental attitude that whilst they're not supposed to do, is always prevelant at the standard GUM clinics. They in fact provide a really good service; they give the 15 minute HIV test, they will give you any and every jab they can if you want it. they know who their patients are, they know there's no point in saying no sex for two weeks, no really, make sure, not even oral, you promise, really, etc... there's no use a condom next time, there's no get you in and out as quickly as possible, they take their time, explain everything even when you know it off by heart yourself, and whilst they don't preach, they will gladly explain any risks or problems to you, but once they've done it once that's it, they don't argue with you, they don't judge you when you can't get hold of every last sexual partner, they just protect you as best they can.
It's also even more privacy protected that most normal hospital files. You don't need a fixed address, or any address to register, you don't even need a real name, or a surname, you can go by a fake first name (as I do), and you get assigned a number which they use to call you when it's your turn, so no-one sitting in the waiting area knows who you are or anything, it doesn't matter if you're there illegally, they honestly just try to protect your sexual health as best they can. It's quite refreshing, sure that's what medical professionals should do in most opinions, but it's rarely that straight forward in practice.
I was doing quite well on their 'risk' questionnaire that they go through actually. List of last 3 sexual partners, what kind of sex, was oral and/or anal protected, was i active or passive, how many people in the last 3 months had i not used condoms with, did i smoke, did i drink, did i know what pep was, etc... i was being a (relatively speaking) good boy. and then he asked if i took any drugs. oh shit. erm mdma, mephadrone, ket, coke.... i regained a few plus points when he asked if i ever injected, which i dont, but then lost em when i realised i'd only taken drugs just the last weekend. ah well, it was nice whilst it lasted... the good news is i don't have HIV. Rest of the results to come next week...
Less good was today's earlier visit to the real doctors. As I'm going to the US on 22nd June for 6 weeks, I wanted a new set of meds from here, instead of needing them in the US and paying shitloads and claiming insurance. And yes, my insurance does cover my pre-existing conditions. It's one of the reasons my insurance costs so much. I hadn't been registered at a surgery here for the last year since my UCL registration at UCH ran out after graduation, so i had to sign up to a new one. It was going so well, turns out when you ring for a GP appointment, they arrange a callback, and you talk to the doctor on the phone, saving you time off work, travel, and pointless waiting unless you really need to be seen in person. Unfortuantely it went downhill when 5 minutes after trying to explain what drugs I was on for my hayfever, the doctor asked "is that an anti-histamine?" /fml Given it's a hayfever treatment it's probably quite likely to act on histamine levels, yes DOCTOR.
Also had to go for some new patient registration with the nurse, despite the fact i'll be moving soon anyway. The nurse spent 15 whole minutes arguing with me that the drug i quoted for my asthma, was in fact a 'preventer' drug, not a 'reliever' and i actually meant this other drug that i was on for my reliever. To which my counterargument was, no, i've quoted right, it's a reliever, i haven't been on a preventer 13 odd years. i've been on the drug i've quoted you for 15 years, and the drug you're quoting me, i haven't been on since i was 4. she refused to believe me, argued like hell for the full 15 minutes, before finally checking her drug directory to find out i was right. She also refused to believe I knew my own height. FFS woman, I paid £400 for a useless medical last year, I know my stats pretty damned well. She also said I was skinny, errr duh, though I have put on weight, I'm no longer officially underweight, I am now in the 10th percentile for my BMI, whoop
This is all why medical professionals are completely undeserving of my patience, and in the majority of cases, my respect.
It's actually a trait amongst people who spent most of their childhoods in hospitals I reckon. We all appreciate the NHS; we've had to use it so much that if we were on a US system we would have bankrupted our parents several times over by age 4. So the NHS, free healthcare, good concept. Doctors, ESPECIALLY paediatricians, not so much. When you've spent 4 months in hospital, 3 months of those on an gastrointestinal tube down your nose, you start to lose your compassion somewhat. In my entire childhood and teenagehood in and out of hospitals, referred to every specialist imaginable, and shuttled between 5 different research hospitals, only one doctor ever asked me "its your body, what do you think?" Now i get, they can only legally deal with the parents and such, but as said doctor pointed out, there's no point in trying to treat me if I'm not behind it. Unfortunately, most medical professionals, so it seems according to mine and others' experiences, when faced with mysterious undiagnosable and/or untreateable patients, treat them a bit like a science project and become to determined to solve the problem, which is great, except they tend to lose perspective of the fact its a person they're subjecting to these things. Also, traits of those spending their childhoods in hospitals, is we tend to know our medicene. We don't need a GP, we need our own prescription pads, sure we might have mental problems, but we're sensible enough to know how medications work, we're only gonna prescribe what we truly need. And we know what we need better than any doctor; we've tried every drug going for our conditions, we know how we respond, we know what works, what doesn't, what makes us projectile vomit 30ft, we know the exact drug names and dosages of our medication, and having to argue it every time you have a checkup with the nurse or doctor, even when they've known you for years, gets tiresome, and does nothing to restore your confidence in them. Luckily, Adam says I can bug him for all my medical ailments when he graduates from his medical degree in 6 years, and I'll be doing so before then anyway.
For the record, my medical issues, briefly, are asthma since a severe case of bronchialitis aged 2 which scarred my lung tissue permanently; severe hayfever every year, but in no other country but the UK (one of the reasons for my aim to live abroad eventually); an unspecified digestive system disorder since birth, despite endless biopsies, diet variations, drug cocktails etc, this last one has since declined to a managable level without medication since I was 18. I don't like to talk about my medical history, so posting even this on a random public blog is kinda a big step for me