In preparation for my appointment, I packed an interesting book, bottled water and some food to calm my nerves after it was over. However, I found that nothing could distract me once the doctor started talking. I can usually interpret with fair accuracy what my own clients are trying to tell me but my translation of what a doctor is saying about my medical condition is so far off the mark, I sometimes wonder if a diagnosis of "medical psychosis" should be added to my chart. My translation goes something like this:
Doctor: Hi, I'm Dr. so and so, nice to meet you.
My Translation: I'm here to give you your last rites.
Doctor: Your potassium is a little low.
My Translation: You're lucky your heart is beating at all.
Doctor: Your heart is beating a little fast, are you nervous?
My Translation: Your heart is pounding out of your skin, you'll be lucky to make it out of this office without a major heart attack.
Doctor: Did you have a nice Christmas Holiday?
My Translation: You're damn lucky you made it to Christmas.
Doctor: We're going to try some new meds.
My Translation: Lord knows, the old meds weren't working--it's amazing you made it into the office without a gurney.
Doctor: Well, we're all done, see you in six months!
My Translation: Sucker! You'll be lucky if you make it three.
Well, you get the idea. For my next appointment, I think I'll bring a tape recorder so I can actually hear what the doctor said!
Update: Shrinkette has more on why it might be risky for doctors to reassure patients.