Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I called my doctor's office a couple of months ago and said that I needed an appointment for my annual check-up "sometime after the first of May." Last year I went during the last week of April; I always try to do my annual and my mammogram on the same day so I don't have to take so much time off work, and in order for my insurance to pay for the mammogram, it has to be more than a year since I had one (they would probably be okay with it being a week or so early, as long as I had a prescription for it, but it saves hassle).

So the scheduling person said, "How about May 1?" and I said that would be fine, even though it was a Monday, and I try not to be gone on Mondays. But whatever, I told her fine, and she gave me a few alternatives as far as times, and we settled on 11:00. Then I called the imaging center and made an appointment for a mammogram at 9:30 that same day. They're usually pretty quick, i.e., I don't have to wait very long, and it's usually fairly easy to get an appointment with them.

It's sort of like making travel plans, though. You never know when you're making the airline reservations whether you'll be able to get the hotel that you want, and vice versa. So I usually make the doctor appointment first, then fit in the mammogram either before or after it.

So the appointment was in my Palm Pilot, and in iCal on my computer (on all three of my computers, and on my phone.

The mammogram went fine. She had to do one film over for some reason--I probably breathed--and my arm hurt all night and still hurts today because of the contorted position I was in for that one, twice. And I won't know for sure until tonight--she said if they needed anything else, or if there were any problems, they'd call by 5:00 the next day--but there wasn't any indication that anything was amiss. (Although, I was thinking about that. The technicians are careful to tell you that they don't read the films, they just look at them to be sure they are good pictures, technically. The radiologist reads them later. But you know that those technicians know what they're looking at. I would think it would be awfully hard not to react, or not to say something, if you saw something worrisome.

But they're professionals, so they don't, of course. Like the sonogram technician who did my ultrasound a few years ago and just kept talking to me casually while she was circling the "ton" (my gynecologist's word) of fibroids that had taken up residence in my uterus.

Anyway -- I had the mammogram, got out of there at 10:00, and didn't need to be at the doctor's until 11:00, so I went and gos gas, and went to the bank, and still got there about a half hour early, so I sat out in the parking lot and read for a little while. I got up to the office at about 10:45, checked in, and sat down to wait.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

They have a sign up that if you've been waiting more than 30 minutes, to please go up and ask, because the receptionists don't always know if the doctor cut out the back door to deliver a baby or something. So I gave it 45 minutes--actually an hour after I got there--and at 11:45 I went up to the desk and asked if the doctor was just running late, or . . . ?

The receptionist said no, the doctor wasn't even there, and he wasn't actually scheduled to be there until noon. I said, well, okay, but my appointment was at 11:00, and she looked it up and said no, it's at 12:30.

Realizing that it would do absolutely no good at all to argue, I went and sat down again to wait some more. I called Bob, and work, and let them know I was, through no fault of my own, going to be late. Because I don't think I've ever written an appointment down wrong, which is what the receptionist obviously assumed that I had done. What I imagine happened is that the doctor changed his schedule, they changed my appointment, and no one bothered to tell me.

Oh well. Everything turnedout fine. Well, I guess I don't know 100% until a month has passed, because that's how long they say it could take for PAP results, but I'm assuming everything is fine. My blood pressure was slightly elevated (120/72 when it's normally 110/70), but I assume that's the result of the appointment mix-up. Little enough to be worried about, I suppose.

I love my doctor. He's really exceptional, I think. I used to see a nurse-practitioner in the same practice, but she left the practice for medical reasons of her own right before my surgery, and the head of the practice did my surgery, and I've continued to see him. Bob really liked him a lot, too.

While he was examining me, he asked me if I had a "fresh mammogram," and I said, yeah, this morning, and he said, "Can't get much fresher than that!"

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