I am at that age where a lot of my social life revolves around my doctors’ appointments. Since the days are long gone when the general practitioner treated all ailments, my calendar is marked up with appointments for various specialists. Last week was my yearly appointment with my family practitioner, who basically goes over everything from the myriad of specialists, reads me my lab work, asks how I’m doing, and sends me on my way after instructing the nurse to give me a flu shot. The whole visit generally takes less than an hour. It is a requisite, once-a-year square filler that I don’t mind too much. Seeing a doctor when I don’t have any problems is usually a win-win situation. I fill my square, get required medications refilled, and don’t have to go back for another year.
The doctor came in and asked if I had been overly tired lately. I laughed and said I’m always tired. I’ve been tired all my life. He then told me my thyroid-stimulating hormone had doubled since last year, which indicates that my thyroid is not working at optimum levels, so my brain is attempting to kick its butt into production by pumping out a lot of hormone to stimulate it. Although I don’t have any other symptoms of hypothyroidism, he is starting me on a thyroid supplement. I almost kissed him. Anything to give me a little energy boost besides a mid-afternoon Diet Coke.
Then came the bad news. My once-a-year square filler had now turned into four additional appointments—one for lab work in six weeks, one for lab work in six months, another doctor visit in six months, and a Medicare appointment. What? I walk in with the expectation of getting this yearly visit over with, and end up with four more appointments.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t that way with all my other doctors. I have an appointment with my cardiologist tomorrow, who I know will require me to get another ECHO, and then have another appointment to discuss the results. My follow-up appointment for my cataract surgery from last spring is next month. My yearly dermatology appointment is coming up soon, and she’d better not find anything that requires additional visits. I’m not sure when my yearly GYN appointment is. I wouldn’t mind missing that one. I am ignoring my joint aches and pains because a simple visit to an orthopedic doctor will guarantee three months of twice-a-week physical therapy and another two or three office visits, if not a surgical recommendation. Nope, not going there! As it is, I have to take Younger Son to the orthopedic doctor for numerous rechecks on his broken hand. Oh, and I believe I have a dental appointment next month, as well.
Why is it that one simple doctor’s appointment exponentially multiplies itself? At the rate these appointments are multiplying, not only will I have no open days on my calendar, but I will have to double up. I may be forced to decide which doctor rates higher on my priority list as I juggle appointments that overlap each other. Of course, there is no question of actually scheduling two appointments for the same day, as I can never guarantee I will make it out of Dr. A’s office in time to wait three hours in Dr. B’s office. And I’m not even including the ancillary appointments for mammograms, bone dexas, and colonoscopies. I am so bogged down with doctors’ appointments I may go crazy. No, wait. I can’t go crazy. That would constitute an appointment with a psychiatrist, and we all know how many follow-up visits psychiatric treatment requires. I could be stuck in this cycle for years. Never mind. All is well.