Being unwell


in Daily updates, Psychology

I’ve noticed something that is both odd and somewhat rational: I find that I feel much sicker after I have seen a doctor and had them share my concern. Before seeing a doctor, I always have a nagging sense that I am going to see them about something excessively trivial and they will feel as though I am wasting their time. It’s a bit of a relief, then, when a doctor expresses agreement that you were right to see a doctor and that some sort of medical treatment is suitable.

At the same time, you lose the psychological possibility that you are making far too big a deal out of something tiny. Doctors – after all – face a never-ending stream of sick people. What seems worrisome to you is likely to seem trivial to them. So, when a doctor says that you were wise to seek medical treatment, it is both an affirmation of your inexpert medical judgment and cause for concern, in that nobody likes to have any kind of medical issue.

This is a phenomenon I have experienced before. For instance, after I broke my collarbone, it actually felt much more painful after I had seen the x-rays. They were like a validation of what my brain was thinking already, and they sharpened the experience of being injured.

(I am fine, incidentally. I just need some rest and antibiotics, administered every six hours to stabilize their concentration and reduce the odds of spawning antibiotic resistant prokaryotes.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

oleh January 21, 2012 at 6:19 am

Does this individual experience, which I think is common, also translate into our Canadian national healthcare policy experience? What we call “health care” is actually “illness care” where we spend 99% of costs on illness care and only one percent on preventative health care.

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