Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tell me again why annual physicals are a good idea

I get the whole concept of wellness visits. And I appreciate that my insurance company will even pay for them in the hopes that if I keep these regularly, they won't have to pay for catastrophic care. But sheesh. Like a good and compliant little patient, I went to my work-up today and left cursing the fact that my parents were allowed to reproduce and feeling more than a little sorry for myself. But more on that later.

When I woke up this morning, I remembered in the nick of time that I wasn't allowed food this morning thanks to the appointment. This also meant that my morning diet Coke (I don't like coffee but need a caffeine hit somehow) was also off the table. So I was a somewhat surly, tummy rumbling grump when I got dressed. And apparently the morning caffeine hit is desperately necessary for me since as I got dressed, it didn't occur to me not to put on my tattiest pair of underwear. (I've been a little slack about folding the laundry lately and all the decent stuff was still in the drier and I didn't feel like rooting around in there to find any). So I rationalized that no one ever sees your underwear. Well, duh! Obviously when you have a physical everyone and the janitor sees your holey drawers. This revelation occurred to me as I was on my way to the appointment; damn the lack of caffeine to wake up the brain cells a little earlier.

The good news about my doctor is that I like her (well, until this morning, I liked her). And the office is efficient. And the nurse is nice. Well, she was nice, at least until she started reading verbatim what I'd told the doctor about my migraines. Then she made me squirm, because let me tell you, I sound like a rambling idiot with moderate to severe diarrhea of the mouth when I'm at the doctor's office. My doctor, she sat and listened to everything and then zeroed in on the worst of my genetic lottery. She already knew about the migraines so she reiterated that I might want to see a neurologist.  But she didn't harp on it. She asked about the history of colon cancer or polyps in my family and suggested that I might want to get a colonoscopy a good eight years before general recommendations. Suddenly the visit was going downhill quickly! We brushed past that unpleasant idea and on to the fact that I've been neglecting my annual visit with the lady parts doctor and that my most recent mammogram was two years old. I must have made the appropriate noises about scheduling these things (and I really do intend to, just as soon as I find a spare minute) because we moved on to the actual physical. My pulse and blood pressure were elevated for me, which threw them firmly into the normal range for any other human being on the planet. But I defy you to be told that you probably need your butt roto-rooted and you definitely need your ta-tas steam-rollered again and not show an elevated pulse and blood pressure!

After determining that I am, at least superficially, digustingly healthy, the doctor left and sent in the lab tech. This lady was perfectly nice and friendly but I hate, hate, hate anyone bearing needles. The fact that I have to break out Lamaze breathing to get my blood taken must be a dead giveaway about my longstanding phobia. And I do know that I should be properly hydrated (I wasn't) and calm (calm? when a needle is about to plunge through my sensitive skin and plunder the blood I worked so hard to make? yeah right!) for best results. But I panic anyway, constricting my veins into microscopic threads. I tried to be cooperative, which my mother will agree is a huge improvement over my childhood self. But still the needle poked out of my arm uselessly collecting no blood. So this sadist from the lab nice phlebotomist lady proceeded to stick me in the back of the hand, because that's a comfortable spot from which to draw blood.  After making me squeal like a pig, she did get blood and we were done, except for the urine sample. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I seem congenitally unable to give a clean catch (aka midstream) without peeing all over my hand. And yes, it was the hand that had just been punctured for blood so that the cotton meant to staunch the bleeding (admittedly not doing much bleeding) instead bloated with pee. Yum-o.

Once I had finished washing up and scrubbing the skin off of my hands, I headed for the check-out thinking that I was finished for another year. Wrong! They handed me a new migraine prescription to try and sent me off down the hall to referrals. I wrongly assumed that were going to force my pee-free hand and proactively make a neurologist's appointment for me. Oh no. That colonoscopy she so casually referred to in the exam room? That was what they were scheduling. Apparently I can be trusted to call a neurologist (probably can't) and to schedule my own overdue mammogram and lady parts visit (I'm sure I'll get to it, at least sometime before my physical next year) but they weren't letting me leave the building without getting me on the gastro-enterologist's list. Fie on efficiency anyway.

Man, I love doctor's visits. And apparently that's good since I'll be visiting every doctor in a tri-state area for unpleasant violations preventative work-ups in the next little while. :-P Next year I'm going to try being stoic and not so chatty. Maybe that will result in fewer referrals. Probably not, and not just because I'm not convinced I can actually pull off stoicism. Since I've admitted to all this bad genetics already, it's likely in the computer tainting my file forever. ::sigh:: Just what I always wanted: to be the person with a whole fleet of doctors who know her name. On the plus side, if you need a recommendation, I can already give you an internist, gynecologist, and ENT specialist and it looks like I'm about to add neurologist and gastro-enterologist to my list.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you had me smiling while I was reading your post.You have a good sense of humor about visiting the doctor.


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