Scared Poopless

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Please don’t yell at or lecture me. I haven’t been to a doctor in twenty
years. I’m 58, overweight, and I’ve been having some strange and
distressing intestinal symptoms for the last few months. No I have not
had the dreaded colonoscopy. Yes I have tried dietary changes and I
can tell that some things help (less wheat and processed foods). But I
am scared enough to think about confronting the unknown. I’ve
identified three possible gastro-intestinal specialists with good
reputations. Only one is a woman, whom I would prefer, but the other
two come very highly recommended. I want to interview each of them
before I decide which doctor to whom I’m going to entrust my life and
health. Can you give me criteria other than my gut to decide which
one is right for me?

Scared Poopless

Dear Scared:

Pick up the phone. Now, today. You can spin a wheel or toss coins to
decide which one to call first, but set an appointment with each of
them asap asap asap. Go to the first one you can get into. Try and set
appointments with the others for a week or so after. If you cannot get
in soon, ask to be put on the waiting list for cancellations. You’d be
amazed at how often the phone will ring with, Can you come in
today/tomorrow…? Here’s my thinking: The first doctor you see will
almost certainly schedule some form of diagnostic test(s). If you fall in
love you can cancel the other appointments. But if you get news you
hate or simply want to compare insights or styles, you’ll have a second
opinion set up and waiting. Most docs will use the test results from Dr.
#1, but #2 might order other diagnostics.

As for ignoring your body for decades, you’re not alone. But you’ve
now reached (or passed) the age when you need to change your bad
habits. Bodies are mechanical and chemical systems. Our souls may be
eternal but the mechanisms that support daily life are not. We wear
down and out like any other working tool and living being. Think about
your car or your pets. Would you have tried to drive a vehicle for
decades without an oil change or tune-up? Or leave a puppy without a
rabies shot or flea meds? You deserve at least at much attention.
You’re overdue. Dial today.