Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A Doctor's Visit

Today I went to the doctor. Although I will not divulge details which are too personal, I must record some of this experience, since it is so typical of the past year of my life.

Step 1: Arrive 10 minutes early for my 9:00am appointment, because there is always paperwork to fill out before the doctor will see you.
Step 2: Sign in using the highly sophisticated new method of protecting patient information, which involves drawing a thin pen line through your name after you have gone in to see the doctor. After signing in I am given my paperwork which includes at least 5 pages of filling out my and my family's entire medical history. No, it doesn't matter that I've done this every time I've seen the doctor. Just do it. Don't ask questions.
Step 3: Receptionist asks for my insurance card. What? I didn't bring your insurance card since you've been going to this doctor for the past 6 years and they should have it on record by now? Sucks to be me! No no, it's okay. I'll just have to pay the doctor's fee up front. Sure, they'll reimburse me when I bring my insurance card up to the office later in the day. Sure. Wink wink.
Step 4: Wait 45 minutes in the waiting room. Luckily, they have 3 copies of Self magazine. Luckily, I like Self magazine. No crying children, yet. But one 70 year old man asleep and snoring like a beast.
Step 5: Called back to the office! Victory! Yeah, right... First I must pass the scale of doom, which I swear always reads at least 8 pounds more than my scale at home.
Step 6: Spend another 30 minutes sitting on the examination table in the examination room. Don't even try to get up and move to the comfortable looking chair, because as soon as I do a nurse will come in and remind me to sit on the table. To help calm my nerves, the room has been designed to be as serene as possible, from completely lacking reading material (unless I want to read the chart on contraceptive information) to the artwork on the walls. No, wait, the artwork on the walls depict 4 different battle scenes from World War II. They're all aviation battles, so you can't see any people, thankfully. Except for that one guy falling out of his airplane. Yes, very calming.
Step 7: Doctor arrives! She is very kind and nice once she gets to me. She listens to everything and answers all my questions. Due to my lengthy list of concerns and symptoms, she has ordered several tests, which will begin immediately.
Step 8: Wait for 20 minutes.
Step 9: The EKG! I'm given a paper, midriff-showing tank top to wear as the nurse sticks on 8 little electrodes. After attaching the wires to all these electrodes, the nurse turns the machine on. 5 seconds, I swear 5 seconds later the test is over. Rip all the electrodes off.
Step 10: Wait 15 minutes for the doctor to come back and examine the results and tell me they're normal.
Step 11: Chest x-ray! The radiology room smells like a high school chemistry class gone terribly wrong, and I get to put on another paper tank top. This was quick and easy.
Step 12: I think I'm done for the day, but the radiology tech sends me to the lab. The lab?! What?! My doctor never mentioned bloodwork! Oh she didn't? Well she ordered it! So off I trot, trying to be as brave as possible. The nurse was the most amazing bloodworker I've ever had, and I applaud her. It was quick and easy and relatively painless! Amazing woman! Yaaaaay!
Step 13: Queasily head back up to my doctor's office where I wait for another 25 minutes.
Step 14: Doctor comes to tell me that my x-ray looks good. She has ordered another x-ray for tomorrow. I am free to go!

So there was my day at the doctor. And this is very typical. So goes my life. Another round tomorrow. Wish me luck.

*note: most waiting times are guestimated, although I do know that I was at the clinic for a total of 3.5 hours today.

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