I went to the doctor today. I have a doctor but I don’t go to him often. Oh, he’s nice enough. About my age. Very friendly, good manner, no weirdo bullshit like with the guy who would only take us on as patients if we had no chronic illnesses, or the Botox Doctor whose receptionist (and the good doc herself) couldn’t smile properly because of the Botox and whose solution to my whatever-the-problem-was (I don’t remember, this was in the early 00s) was surprisingly NOT Botox but birth control pills, or the most recent family doctor who told me an IUD wasn’t a very reliable form of birth control and also gave my baby a sticker to play with, which he almost swallowed, while she gave him a flu shot, or the one before that who was ancient and wonderful but mostly ancient and was forced to retire.
You can see, maybe, why I prefer walk-in clinics? On the other hand, a GP gives you a nice sense of continuity. You have a file, and a level of trust. I chose this one because a) he didn’t seem crazy b) he was taking new patients and c) he refers people wildly. As in, if you go to him, he doesn’t try to talk you out of or solve your problem. He refers you to someone else who can deal with it. I went to him a year ago for my nausea; he sent me for an abdominal ultrasound. I went today because I needed a pap and also I wanted a referral for some blood tests to see if I’m low on iron because my last several periods have been like a veritable Niagara Falls of blood.
Walk-in clinic doctors are always trying to talk you out of what you want; the referral, the antibiotics. They have to, because they see so many patients. They don’t trust people. I get it. But I know when I’m really sick and when I need something. This is how I manage my own health care. My doctor listened carefully to my complaints, told me I am probably NOT in perimenopause (however, I do believe him to be incorrect and I did shut him down by telling him how early my mother menopaused hi doctor I have the Internet as well!) and then wrote me a requisition for blood tests. Thanks and goodbye.
But before I could get that piece of paper:
First I had to make an appointment, a week ago. Today at noon was the first appointment I could get, so I took it. Now, this doctor is late. He is troublingly, chronically late. He’s not late because he Takes His Time, the way the ancient, now retired doctor was. He is just late. Maybe he is a superhero and is always in phone booths, putting his khakis back on?
The first time I went to see him, my appointment was for 10 am and I waited an hour. The second time, I made a very early appointment on purpose. I had the second appointment of the day, at 9:15. I still waited until nearly 10:30. Why? Because he didn’t show up to the office until 10 am. (stuck in a phone booth? Khakis needed cleaning? Sore spot on his pinky toe?)
So with today’s 12:00 appointment, I was genuinely worried I would not be back in my neighbourhood to pick my kids up from school at 2:55. Being canny, I called the office at 11:45 and asked what time I should show up for my noon appointment. The receptionist said, hmm, hmmm, come in at 12:40?
I showed up at 12:45. I sat in the reception area listening to I’ll be Home For Christmas Do They Know it’s Christmastime Santa Claus is Coming to Town until 1:25. I also got to overhear a great conversation between some random woman and the bank of receptionists re: the random woman’s attempt to visit Las Vegas over the weekend and how Customs held her for four hours because she’d had a DUI THIRTY YEARS AGO AND SHE PAID THE FINE. Also they wanted to know about her association with some disease clinic which was PRIVATE INFORMATION THAT WAS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS
…apparently our business though? Now, anyway.
I went in the exam room and took off my pants and sat on the edge of the exam table for a while longer, simply having a WONDERFUL Christmastime, before Dr. Superhero came in. Not sure what time that was, but when I got back to my car it was 1:53. Home by 2:15, eating lunch by 2:20, out the door at 2:45 to pick kids up from school, my pesto breath crystalizing in the cold air.
But before I left his office, I noticed he’d left my file open on his computer so I sneaked a look. Our visit was accurately documented (“left-shifted uterus”?) but for one thing: UNREMARKABLE CERVIX he’d typed. Well I never! I think he’d feel differently if he’d ever seen my older son’s head. Sir! My cervix understands the meaning of a clock, at least. When it’s go-time, my cervix SHOWS UP and DILATES.