Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fun Times with the Doctor

I went to the doctor this morning. There's nothing wrong, except I needed a refill on my thyroid prescription.

Back in December, I got my thyroid levels rechecked at the lab, and they were fine at the prescription level I was on, so I figured I'd be able to get refills. The problem was that my regular doctor left the practice to go somewhere too far for me to go, and the doctor handling the refills while they tried to find a replacement doctor only gave me one refill.

So Monday, after I went back to the pharmacy and they faxed my doctor's office for refill approval, I went to the doctor's office to beg for multiple refills. The woman at the window told me that they've finally replaced my doctor, and I'll need to see him before they'll authorize a bunch of refills. I argued that the lab work was just done, and can't they look at my records without my having to come in?

She said no, I needed to see the doctor first. And I asked why nobody had told me that. And she said they should have sent out a note the last time to the pharmacy asking them to tell me I need to see the doctor before I can have any more refills. And I told her that's not the pharmacy's job. That's the doctor's office's job to tell their patients when they need to come in.

So I made the appointment, which I had hoped to avoid, because my medical insurance has about a billion dollar deductible to keep the premiums low, and that appointment was for this morning.

My new doctor seems like a nice guy. He looked in the chart and commented that I have some sort of medical term (I didn't recognize the name from my Medical Terminology class) that means I'm susceptible to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD--I recognized this term), and did I ever smoke?

No, I never smoked beyond that first attempt at inhaling when I was in college in the Drama department and everyone else smoked, and there was this nervous energy that permeated the department and even got to me. But that one blast of smoke hurt my throat, so I never did it again. And I wasn't married to a smoker. And my parents never smoked. And besides, my doctor never said anything to me about a lung problem. Ever.

Except, when I had as my doctor the one before the one who just left, I had a persistent case of bronchitis that took over a month and a half to clear up, but that was back around 1990, and my lungs have been fine ever since.

So my new doctor started looking through all my records, trying to find the lung diagnosis. My file is pretty fat with office visits and lab results (beautiful numbers last time on all the cholesterol & triglyceride tests). At the very end of the paperwork, right before the back of the manila folder, he found it: a pulmonary evaluation. For Mr. James Mac-something that didn't print right. Last time I looked, I wasn't a "Mister."

My doctor folded the mis-filed page over so it would stick out of my file, crossed out the note about my lung condition, and asked if I planned another physical soon. I told him I was looking for a job and wanted to wait until I got one so I'd have better medical coverage. So he told me he'd let me have 6 refills, and I needed to have a physical by the time they ran out, job or no job. That works for me.

Going to the doctor is a lot more fun when you're well than when you're sick. Actually, doing anything is a lot more fun when you're well than when you're sick.


Bekah said...

I am so afraid of doctors that I just never go. But I loved your story...reminds me of a few clinic run-ins of my own. The mix-ups seem to abound!

One of mine was when I went to the ER right after college with HORRIBLE stomach pains. After informing me they did not have a bed for me (but they could get me a wheelchair if i wanted...uh...does it recline?) they finally took me back about 3 hours later and left me in a room. Then a male nurse came scurrying in to move me. I asked why and he said "I accidentally put you in the pelvic exam room." WELL GET ME OUT OF HERE! THAT'S NOT MY PROBLEM!!!!

Maybe they were expecting James Mac-something too. :)

I'm glad you are a-okay! :)

SkyePuppy said...


I don't really understand your fear of doctors. Dentists I could understand. They have all those drills and hooks and other instruments of torture, and you can't reply to anything they say, because their hands and all the instruments are in your mouth at the same time.

Doctors only have a stethescope.

Great story. Good thing he got you out of that room in time.

Bekah said...

Oh - petrified of dentists too. But I go to them twice a year! I think the difference is that growing up, I only went to doctors when I was sick...and I wasn't sick often past the fourth grade, so I didn't go often. Now I'm scared to death to find out maybe I AM sick. You know...the whole denial thing.

Pretty much the only trauma left to experience at the dentist is a root canal and a broken jaw. I've done the rest. And I have TMJ, so my jaw hurts all the time anyway. I've given up.