Reality

Juggling the schedules of multiple people can be a challenge.  As I posted a new month’s schedule and reviewed all our upcoming committments, I got to wondering How did this happen?  Why do I have another month with multiple doctor’s appointments?

I recall a couple years ago.  At the conclusion of a routine exam I was told, “You’re a healthy X year old woman,” and I remember thinking,  No, I’m not. I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know how to explain it, but there is something seriously wrong.  I know what healthy feels like, and this isn’t it.  That was the last of my “see you in a couple years” appointments.

I was okay only seeing my doctor rarely. I liked never getting sick enough to need a doctor.  Every other year was just fine for a routine appointment “just to make sure.”  Illnesses came once in a blue moon.  And that was good.  My doctor is a nice person, but I’d rather not need his expertise.

So when I wrote out the month’s calendar and saw yet another month with multiple doctor’s appointments on multiple days, I wondered why does it bother me so much to have all these doctors’ appointments on the calendar?  I like my doctors.  Really.  But there is something about needing to see them that I’m not too crazy about.

This year started off with so many doctor’s appointments that I declared April  “no appointments” month.  It felt wonderful to know that I wouldn’t have to see a doctor for those few weeks.  April was the calm before the storm.  I’ve been in zillions of times since then.  All these months later, I feel a ridiculous sense of victory in keeping that one month free.

When my PCP went to six-month follow-ups instead of two, it was great.  When my rheumy said her goal is to get me stable enough that I can go to quarterly follow-up instead of monthly, I wanted to dance for joy.

It’s not just having to juggle my other committments to make time for appointments.  It’s not just arranging childcare.  It’s not just the wrench it throws into my meal-prep routine.  It’s not the driving involved.  Those are managable scheduling issues.  Inconvenient, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately managable.  It’s not even the cost of fuel or the copay.  Copays add up quickly, but I’m grateful to have insurance instead of paying for those visits out-of-pocket.  Fuel is expensive, but there’s no bus service near my house and I live too far from everything to walk or ride a bike (wonder what would happen if I attempted to ride a horse – my docs don’t have a hitching rail).

What bothers me so much is the constant reminder.  Looking at the calendar points out – explicitly – that there is an ongoing problem.  There is no escape.

Frequent follow-ups make me feel like I’m chained to this disease forever.

Sometimes I want to live on a houseboat in Egypt!

 

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3 thoughts on “Reality

  1. I know how you feel. It’s those constant reminders that drive me crazy.

    I find it’s even worse when I come away from a doctor’s appointment with a change in my treatment plan or a new test or procedure booked. I think I tell myself that these appointments are just my doctor checking in with me, and I’m really fine. Then when he or she has to prescribe a new med or book a test, I’m reminded that that’s not exactly true.

  2. I think it’s hard to endure the constant doctors’ appointments because with each one we attend, we hope that tweaking the meds or changing them or or or will result in a solution to the problem. And of course, there really is no real solution. We can change the situation within this disease occasionally, and temporarily, but in the end we still have rheumatoid arthritis.

    I’ve seen more doctors and had more appointments in the last 18 months than I had in 15 years. It’s incredible. I guess, like you, I just have to look on the bright side: at least I CAN see a doctor, and CAN get meds. So many can’t.

    Nevertheless, I hope that you’ll need to see your doctors less frequently from now on.

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