I am having a VERY EXCITING WEEK! Why, just yesterday I went and had my hair cut for the first time in three months. I contemplated writing an entry about the whole dilemma—having painstakingly grown out my short layers only to discover that once the hair reaches my neck I start feeling like a muppet is roosting atop my head, wanting to go short(er) again but not TOO short, going to the stylist and saying “have at it” and not being entirely sure what exactly she did because then she dried it straight and WHO KNOWS what it will look like when I wear it curly again—but then I realized that it’s possible that no one cares as much about the state of my hair as I do.
(Oh, the irony of a blogger realizing that ANYTHING is only interesting to her. Ha!)
So instead of talking about my hair, we can delve right into TODAY’s adventure, which was going to see a new gynecologist! Because that’s totally of interest to everyone!
I embarked on today already in something on a snit, because Tammy was kind enough to ask her doctor for a recommendation for me, and it turns out that her very doctor is someone who specializes in My Particular Issues (unlike the practice where everyone specializes in everything), and Tammy really likes him and says he’s great, but of course he is not covered on my health insurance because my health insurance sucks hairy donkey balls.
Nevertheless, I made an appointment with a doctor whose credentials seemed acceptable and headed off for my early morning appointment.
There’s a thing that they seem to do in this town—and I would find it charming if it wasn’t such a colossal pain in the ass—where we have two hospitals relatively close to each other, and then EVERY DOCTOR IN TOWN has their offices somewhere inbetween the two. That’s fine, except that they all have the same address. Like, there are 400 doctors located at 123 Main Street, because actually 123 Main Street is a compound of offices, and it spans twelve blocks, and GOOD LUCK finding the office you need. So I left right after dropping the kids at school, because I already knew from previous experience that I would need plenty of time to park and figure out where I was going.
I managed to find it okay, and then I went inside. I was nice and early so that I’d have time to fill out paperwork.
Well, all they wanted was insurance information. There were no forms for medical history or anything, which I found weird. BUT when the nurse or medical assistant or whoever she was took me back, she asked me all sorts of questions and put the answers into the computer. I think.
See, there was just one small problem. I’m great at filling out forms. I’m a paperwork whiz, if you will. But the nice girl who asked me all of these questions? Had a southern accent as thick as molasses. I couldn’t understand a word she said. So the history interview went something like this:
Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
Me: I’m sorry?
Her: Haaa you evah blahdeewadoo?
Her: You knowah, in the waaneegreyfo?
Me: I… ummm… in 2002?
Lather, rinse, repeat. I may have copped to being a hypertensive man. I just don’t know.
Finally she gave me some attractive paper garments and left the room. (Her changing instructions: “Tay evrydee off ‘n’ ope in da frah, seegobeheeyamin”) I was extremely relieved when my new doctor arrived and spoke English. New York English.
I explained how I’ve been on hormone replacement since my hysterectomy, but I’m having some trouble with it, and also how apparently I am due for a mammogram, as I’ve been dutifully having them every six month ever since my breast biopsy which revealed some pre-cancerous tissue.
I was sure she was going to assure me that I really don’t need to be having so many mammograms, and also have a WONDERFUL idea for rectifying my hormonal woes.
Well, she did an exam and looked over my history and sat down and asked me if my previous doctor had ever suggested I go off of my hormone replacement.
“Uhhh…. no?” I said, leaving out the implied “… because it would be LUNACY to go hormone-less at my age.”
“Well,” she said, “I would hate to take you off estrogen at your age. But two years into hormone replacement you had a concerning change in your breast tissue, and we know there there’s a link between taking estrogen and breast cancer.”
We sat in silence for a moment while I considered this.
“Um, how do we know that had anything to do with my hormone replacement?” I asked.
“We don’t,” she answered. “But it’s concerning.” She likes the word concerning. I, as it turns out, am starting to hate that word.
There’s a part of me that knows she is Right and Good to be concerned about this, and I would certainly rather have hot flashes than breast cancer, but still. Dammit, woman, I could barely find my way to your office. Must we start out our relationship with you basically telling me that I’m royally screwed?
Then she suggested that instead of the topical estrogen gel I’m currently using, maybe we could try just having me take birth control pills.
Birth control pills. For hormone therapy after a total hysterectomy. Whaaaaaa?
Fortunately (?) when I pointed out that progesterone gives me migraines (and most bcps contain both estrogen and progesterone) she gave up on that idea.
But then she assured me that I would love our local Breast Health Center, and I should go over there for a mammogram and we could talk game plan moving forward, like can I drop back to annual screenings, etc. Fine. We went up front so that the secretary could call over and make me an appointment, and GUESS WHAT!
My health insurance doesn’t cover the Breast Health Center. Of course.
So they’re sending me someplace else for a mammogram, someplace that I expect will consist of a set of vice grips mounted on a table next to a Polaroid camera.
Once I finally finished up there, I took myself and my defeated sense of self-care down the street to drive through Dunkin Donuts. The lady waiting on me must’ve been related to the lady at the doctor’s office because I couldn’t understand a word SHE said, either. After some back-and-forth we determined that they didn’t have what I was asking for (a plain stick; it’s a rectangular cake donut), so I asked if they had old-fashioneds and she said yes. “I’ll just have one of those, then, please.” I paid and took my bag and drove away.
Inside the bag was a cinnamon twist. Because that sounds EXACTLY like a plain old-fashioned.
If she gets tired of slinging donuts, I think she could probably get a job at my insurance company.