The arrow on this mammogram points to a small cancerous lesion. A lesion is an area of abnormal tissue change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I just returned from my yearly moments of torture, that I refer to as getting my boobs squished, but more academically minded folk would call a mammogram.
Boy was it fun.
Actually, though, while not the most comfortable experience of my life, I have to say that the worst part has nothing to do with getting your flesh and muscles smooshed between two plates while you stand in a contorted position and try to fantasize that you are taking beauty shots. No, that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part comes from the fact that I moved last summer.
What? Confused readers everywhere (well the few of you who are reading).
As you know, when you move, especially from one state to another you must find new medical care. First, however, you have to wait the endless amounts of time before your full medical benefits kick in (if you even have medical insurance) then you have to go through the torture of finding a doctor when you have no clue. I kept putting it off for a couple of reasons, one laziness, and the other that I’ve had to leave two wonderful doctors in the past two years and I just didn’t want to go through it again. To be fair, the first one that I left passed away just before we moved from Colorado, which meant I would have had to choose a new one anyway. The second fabulous doctor quit the practice just after I moved from Kansas, which means the same thing. Maybe I’m bad luck on doctors.
Anyway, I finally realized that preventive medicine was the better way to go, and got myself together to get a doctor. Of course, there was only one accepting patients in my area. One, not so exciting, kind of personality-less doctor. I’m giving her a chance. Maybe she will warm up, but meanwhile that’s what I got.
In preparation for my first visit I had contacted the prior medical group hoping to be able to walk in carrying my complete medical history and hand it over.
“Can I please have my medical records sent to me?”
“No, we can only send them to your doctor after they have you sign a release.”
WHAT?! THESE ARE MY RECORDS, WHY CAN’T I HAVE ACCESS TO THEM?!!
I didn’t feel like fighting that battle, so I gave in and waited until my first appointment and sent away for records. That made for an exciting appointment with Dr. Personable.
“I don’t have any records of you.”
“No, I have to have them sent.”
“Well, what medications were you on?”
“I can tell you a few.”
“Why were you on those ones? They don’t help cholesterol or blood pressure?”
“Um, because that’s what my doctor told me to take.”
“Well, what do you want to do now?”
Ugh! This is part of my problem with this particular doctor. If I knew how to treat myself, I would, but she’s supposed to be the expert. In my opinion, she should lay out my options and then help me make decisions, not ask me to tell her what to do. I’ve seen her twice now . . . we shall see if we go past a third visit.
On the second visit, she had my records, but not all of them. No sign of my immunization record. Luckily I have that (current as far as I know) and will bring it to them eventually, or send it. But seriously, where the hell are they? Supposedly Kansas didn’t have them either. So then why didn’t Colorado send them? When all medical records have been put into a computer, why are mine so incomplete?
Ok, next visit involved getting my vision checked. True, I didn’t have those records sent (different doctor, and in Colorado) but I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t think there were any major things that they couldn’t discover simply by doing the exam.
Oh how wrong I was.
See I have a Nevus inside my eye. What’s a Nevus? According to Wordnik it’s :
“n. A congenital growth or mark on the skin, such as a mole or birthmark.”
Translation, I have freckle like birthmark inside my eye. Sarah has a freckle that you can see on her eye.
It’s a freckle.
Anyway, in Colorado, my fabulous eye doctor had the technology to take pictures of the inside of my eyes to look at the size and the shape of the nevus, as well as my general eye health. For that reason, I haven’t had to have my eyes dilated in years. When I went to get my eyes checked, I assumed that would be the case here, but of course I was wrong. And, not being a medical professional, I didn’t know to mention the nevus early in the appointment. After a severe scolding from Dr. Lackofpersonality #2, I was informed that I have to come back (with an expensive copay this time) and be dilated because “now that he knows, he has to check it.”
That fun happens tomorrow.
Next, of course, was the fun female examination I discussed in “Things I Don’t Understand”. At least there I connected with a fabulous Nurse Practitioner, and solved the mystery of my past history by simply choosing (under her guidance) to move on and let it go.
Ah the relief.
Back to today’s misadventures in Medical history. I walked in thinking there should be no problem, they sent my records. Well, yes, they sent my records. They sent the analysis of the records. They DID NOT send the films. No pictures. Nada.
“Do you have them?”
“No, they wouldn’t give them to me.”
“They might not look at the new pictures without them. We’ll have to send for them again.”
One of the worst things is waiting for the results of a mammogram. Even though there’s no family history of breast cancer, it looms as a possibility in every women’s mind. But, because of the incompetence of medical records and a confusing inability for one system to talk to another, I have to wait longer than the average time to find out my results.
There are a couple of good things about this now. I finally have access to my own medical records, via technology. So if we find ourselves moving again it shouldn’t be so hard. I also have finally caught up to myself in terms of proactive medical treatment.
Except for the dentist.