03 Aug The Fun of Changing Doctors
I’m not one who totally embraces change unless I’m the one who wants it. I love changing a room: thinking of a new theme, then repainting the walls if it’s required, looking for new decorations, such as pillows, mats, rugs and artwork to suit the theme, and changing furniture – if I can, or if I’m allowed by the other person of our abode who dislikes change more than me!
I dislike, however, having to change my doctor. I would’ve said ‘hate’ but know someone will tell me off if I use that word, even when it sums up the situation precisely! Changing your doctor is the pits as you then have to go through your medical history and that of both your parents. That, my friends, is where the problem begins. Sometimes it would be easier to lie and say ‘none’, rather than spending the next half hour going through the exhaustive list of your ailments, surgeries, diseases and the like, even though you’ve listed them on the enrolment sheet. Usually I have to write PTO and fill up the blank space on the back as they haven’t provided enough room where it says, ‘List all’. My surgical list is generally fairly normal: Tonsillectomy, Appendectomy, Caesarean, Hysterectomy, as are my ailments which include: early stage osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, wrists, and spine, which means I’m likely to require hip and/or knee replacements when the daily routine of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3, Magnesium, Hemp Oil, Turmeric/Curcumin and Collagen fails to hold that necessity at bay any longer. Then you discuss your asthma and your Action Plan of what preventative you take and how often you require Ventolin. Next is the scintillating topic of allergies (and hay fever), and what sets them off, or rather what doesn’t. It seems to be a growing list as one gets older These occur all year and, if I’m very, very lucky (and I’m not as I haven’t won Lotto yet), I’ll only experience Sinusitis once in twelve months, and will have times when a motley, red and itchy rash isn’t covering most of the upper half of my body. I now own shares in pharmaceuticals such as Cetaphil and Sorbolene; one has to get some money back somehow. And I spend more on medications, creams and supplements each week than I do on food.
Then comes the really interesting conversation with the new GP. I could almost feel him waring with himself as whether or not he would ask, considering I’ve only booked a general consultation, of a whole eight minutes. And almost immediately I can see how sorry he is that he went ahead with asking about my family’s medical history. It started with “Did either of your parents suffer from”:
Heart Disease? Me: Yes. Him: which parent? Me: both. Him: to what extent? Me: Mother, first heart attack at 59, 2x quadruple heart by-passes. Father, heart attack around 60, from memory.
Blood Pressure? Me: Yes. Him: which parent? Me: both. Him: to what extent? Me: Mother’s usually sat around 180/120, not sure about Father, though he did have a Stroke. Him: I think it’s best we take your blood pressure then. Me: (smugly) Sure. After the first reading he looks perplexed. Him: Can you stand up please? Me:(smugly) Sure. After second reading he excuses himself while he goes to get another sphygmomanometer. Him: Hope this one is working. Me: (smugly) fingers crossed. The third reading is the same. Him: Do you know your usual reading? Me: (smugly) Yes, about 110/65, sometimes a little higher 115/70 Him: unusual for someone with that family history, and carrying your weight Me: (my look told him to leave it there) apparently so. Next question?
Cancer? Me: no, Libran. Both ex-husbands were Cancerians; neither marriages worked. Him: (a little tense now) Did either of your parents have cancer? Me: Yes. Him: Both? Me: No. Him: Which parent? Me: my Father. Him: Where? Me: Lungs. Him: Was he a smoker? Me: Yes. Him: How heavy? Me: I never saw him weigh himself but I … Him: (glaring at me now) How many cigarettes did he smoke a day? Me: not sure, he lived in England. Him: (deep breath, rubs his forehead) Do you think he smoked a lot? Me: Oh God yes, for about forty years. Both his sisters died from cancer too, and all of his cousins, six of them as I recall, on his mother’s side. Is that important? Him: Have you had a recent mammogram? Me: recent, as in …? Him: (looking like he is very sorry he asked) the last two years? Me: Yes. Him: Can I gather it was clear? Me: (smiling) You can. Him: Very pleased (though he didn’t look it). Bowel Screen? Me: I’ve received another kit. Him: That’s a start, thought it’s probably best you use it. When was your last screening? Me: Never. Him: Never? Me: Yep. Him: It’s free for those over 50! Me: Well, I’ve saved the Government some money. Silence …..
Him: And you’re …. Me: Nearly 60. Him: Let’s hope we get you to sixty. Do you have an existing Health Care Plan?
Me: (smiling like a psychopath, with clenched fists) No. Do you have a Dental Plan?
Footnote: The surgery called. That doctor has gone on extended leave and I now have to see a new doctor. Let the game begin …