Blind Date

Going to a doctor for the first time is a lot like a blind date. You hope you’re going to like the other person. Maybe even someone has told you you’ll be perfect for each other, but there are so many variables! What if you find out that the other person is a Democrat and you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Republican? What if the other person is Pentecostal and you’re a Presbyterian?

So you can understand why I had a lot of anxiety about my doctor’s appointment this morning, especially since I hadn’t been to a primary care doctor in fourteen years. I had to get up earlier than normal so I would be ready to leave the house by 7:30. The doctor’s office was in a nearby town and it took a full forty minutes to get there in rush hour traffic. I found the office, went in, and started filling out my paperwork. I was almost done when the receptionist called me over to tell me that my appointment had been cancelled. Cancelled!

It seems their computer system was down and the doctor had instructed the receptionist to cancel all “new patient” appointments. “That’s a problem,” I said, “because I need prescriptions before I go out of town. Do I just let my blood sugar spiral out of control?” She shrugged and suggested that I go to a walk-in clinic.

I walked out the door in tears and cried in my car for a few minutes before beginning the drive home. I had really been pinning my hopes on getting in to see this particular doctor. I knew my next chance to get an appointment would be not days but weeks away.

As I drove home weeping, I considered my options. The walk-in clinic that the receptionist had suggested is way on the other side of town from us. However, there is a clinic very near our house, so I decided to try there. I was desperate, you understand. I am almost out of all my meds. I walked into the clinic and asked if they took walk-ins. “No,” said the receptionist, “you have to have an appointment.”

Just as the tears began to well up again, she added, “But we’re not busy, so I can get you an appointment.” Oh, happy day!

I was called long before I had finished filling out the very comprehensive paperwork. I was questioned in great detail by the nurse. My blood pressure was taken and it was 110/60. I was so happy I could hardly stand it. This means the meds are working!

Finally, the Physician’s Assistant came in to talk to me. She also questioned me in great detail and studied the chart of blood sugar readings I’d brought, along with the list of all the meds and supplements I take. We talked for well over half an hour. I think that’s the longest I’ve ever had a medical professional spend with me at one time. The longer we talked, the more I liked her. I know she’s a PA and not a doctor, but she is very knowledgeable and I began to feel that we were really on the same wavelength. She understands about my financial constraints and is willing to forego expensive tests for the time being in order to focus on the most urgent issues. The whole experience was such a breath of fresh air.

She called in my prescriptions and said that unless some new issue comes up, I don’t have to see her for another three months. She gave me a lot of control over my insulin dosage so I can adjust it as needed. My goal is to get off of insulin completely, and she is all for it. The visit was also considerably cheaper than it would have been had I gotten in to see the doctor I had an appointment with this morning.

So, even though I didn’t see the doctor I had planned to see, God had already arranged something different, that was also more convenient and cheaper. I see no reason to try getting in with that other doctor again. And for the first time in quite a while, I feel hopeful that I can start addressing my health issues (and they are legion) one by one and that I’ve found someone who can help me do that.

I was able to pick up my new prescriptions and then come home and start making a few preparations for our trip. I know you must think we’re crazy to take a trip when we have these massive medical bills hanging over our heads, but this trip was already arranged before I ever got sick. My parents gave us a week in a timeshare, where we can cook our own food, so the primary expense is gas. Lucy and Jasper have no memory of ever going on vacation–just of traveling to visit relatives from time to time. We used to go up to this area in Arkansas every year, but the kids haven’t been for 13 years. The last time Walter and I were there was for our 25th anniversary–nine years ago. So it’s a pretty big deal.

 

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