Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013.07.24 Prepping for the Annual Physical

As the time of my annual physical check up approached I began my usual obsessing about whether I should go on a quick fasting diet to fool the scales.

Then another thought came to mind:I’ve had age-normal falls which landed me with a couple of black eyes and most recently black and blue legs. My doctor has all this data and had examined me accordingly. She never asked if someone was beating me up. Like maybe I never fell. I’d said I never tripped. She even ordered brain tests to make sure there was no evidence of stroke or seizure activity.

My doctor knows me and trusts me, and I her. She knows my husband too and trusts him. But I know my doctor is supposed to ask anyway.

Choking with laughter at this realization, I ran to tell my husband who said with a grim grin, “I’m toast.” And we laughed some more.

This is not to make fun of the terrible crime of domestic abuse. Nor to discount all the effective awareness work I and others have done over the years about this serious often hidden issue. 

Humor aside, my experience made me realize how easy it is to hide and disguise truth, especially if you feel threatened or without resources. I also wondered about trust.  How and why do you trust someone?  Believe them at their word?  I have no idea. I just happen to think it’s the best policy. And the second best policy is to ask questions.

I also know how hard it is for professionals, myself included, to ask someone, usually a woman, is she is a  victim, “feels safe at home.” It humiliates. I don’t want to add more hurt, more bruise. So I’m glad for regulations that require me to ask hard questions. I can blame the law.

Guess I’ll just go on a quick diet and thank Godde for the graces in my life.  

When I went to my physical I asked my doctor why she never asked. After she gave me some information about domestic violence regulations, which I knew. She told me about the location of most d.v. wounds, except for teeth. She told me she had directly asked a friend, “Who did this to you?” The woman wasn't a patient. Sadly, there was nothing more to do except advise about resources.   

There was more to our conversation than I can write. This doctor is thoroughly informed, aware about the law and about domestic violence dynamics and not hesitant to probe. I have complete confidence in this doctor, both medically and as a woman of integrity and justice.

After our serious conversation ended, she got a twinkle in her eye and said, “He’s such a charming guy, that husband of yours.  

Indeed he is.