I very, recently, had to have an ultrasound on my wrist. The young technician looked like she belonged in high school. When she left me in the room to wait for the doctor, I questioned what I was doing. Maybe I should leave and rethink. The radiologists in the city were older. The technician seemed more experienced. I have known them for fourteen years. They are so sophisticated. I was sweating profusely when the doctor came in. He looked like he was younger than my daughter but he had some gray in his beard. He introduced two young residents who looked like they were applying to college. “I probably know your mothers,” I blurted out of nowhere. So then I had to explain that all my friends had children who were doctors at this hospital. “I live in ____,” I continued. “So do I,” said this nice, young doctor. “So I do know your mother?” I asked incredulously. “I don’t think you do,” he explained, ” I did not grow up there.” He told me where he lived and as he asked me if I was in pain. I let myself relax, as I watched the screen, as he guided a needle deep into my wrist to aspirate a cyst. “Don’t worry,” I reassured him, “you can still say hello to me in the local supermarket.” He, relaxed, in turn, and smiled. And just to be safe, I added: “I know where you live.”
My husband and I share some doctors but not all. So I have all his doctors in my contact list as well. He has given each and every one of them permission to talk to me on his behalf. Onto my husband’s health. I am trying to maintain his health. I had him start taking saw palmetto in his forties to ward off prostate cancer. I have him on CoQ10 to help ward off whatever it is supposed to ward off. I make sure he goes to his doctors regularly. He is older than I am and so he has more things wrong with him. Yet he is stronger than I am. I remind him to take his morning meds. I am desperate to maintain his health because I desperately do not want to be alone. And I desperately do not want to start over.
Every week, we have at least one doctor’s appointment between us. Sometimes we have two and on occasion, three. Three doctor appointments a week. You have to go through the robo systems to get an appointment. You have to wait to see the doctor. Then you have to go to the pharmacist and drop off the prescription(s). Then you have to go back to pick them up. Then you have to set up your follow up appointment. This is what I mean by maintenance. It is tedious and constant.
The maintenance plan. I remember someone in the one percent was quoted as saying: “It is easy to make money. It is a lot harder to maintain it.” Maintenance for me feels like the kiss of death. It means I am no longer innovating. I am spending all my time and energy and money just trying to hold on.
I am trying to maintain my health. I never knew we had so many body parts. I never knew there were so many doctors. More than half the contacts I have in all my devices are under the letter “D” for doctor. There is the allergist and audiologist. The breast specialist . The chiropractor and cardiologist. The dentist and dermatologist. The endocrinologist and the ENT specialist. There is the foot doctor AKA podiatrist. The gastroenterologist and gynecologist. The hematologist. The internist. The jaw specialist for TMJ. Lab Core. The mental health specialist. The neurologist. The orthopedist and ophthalmologist and oncologist. The physical therapist, the psychologist, the pulmonologist, the pharmacist and the podiatrist AKA the foot specialist. There is Quest Lab. There is the radiologist for mammograms and sonograms. There is the therapist. The urologist. The visiting nurse for when we come home from surgery and the veterinarian if I get another kitten to replace my Tigger. And the X-ray technicians for plain old X-rays.
Have I left anyone out? Each one is a specialist. But I am one whole person and no one seems to know it. The podiatrist is not the back doctor. Yet, because of my feet, I have poor posture. The hand doctor is not the neurologist. Yet I have tingles and numbness in my fingers. Is it a pinched nerve in my back? Is it carpal tunnel syndrome? The cancer specialist is not the cardiologist. Who will approve of the herbal supplement I have decided to take to ward off melanoma from returning? Who is running this job? I cannot be my own GC!
ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE BEING ON TOP OF ALL THE DOCTORS? HAVE YOU EVER FORGOTTEN TO GET A TEST YOUR DOCTOR TOLD YOU TO GET? DO YOU LONG FOR ONE DOCTOR WHO GETS THE WHOLE PICTURE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE BODY PARTS IN A HEAP?