Category Archives: Doctors

If Jeff Bezos was in Charge of the Affordable Health Care Website…

The other day, I got a 59 cent refund from Amazon.com.  I didn’t even ask for the refund.  They just sent it to me.  Something about a book I pre-ordered and the price changing after they sent it.

My experience with Amazon has been pretty good.  Other than the time they wrapped my nephew’s birthday gift in Happy Hannukah paper, I can’t say that I have any complaints.  I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty impressed with a bazillion dollar global company that makes it a point to give me back my 59 cents.

So, I was thinking about how life would be different if Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was brought in to fix the Affordable Health Care Website.  I mean, this man knows how to take care of a lot of people at once all over the globe.  Surely he could figure out how to manage health care for hundreds of thousands of people in one measly country.

The more I think about it, the more certain I am that Jeff Bezos is the man for the job.  So, here is my list of features that you would find on the Bezos version of the Affordable Health Care site.  I’ll let you decide if they would be improvements or not…

Once you sign up (which would, of course, be remarkably simple):

  • You would be welcomed, by NAME, every time you visit the site.
  • Relevant doctors would be recommended to you based on your recent search history.
  • Every doctor would have his or her own page, and there would be customer reviews.
  • You can search for doctors by price, customer review, or average appointment wait time.
  • Place procedures in your Shopping Cart, and wait for notification that the price has gone down so you can snatch up the better deal. (Hooray – now I can get that kidney transplant I’ve had my eye on for awhile!)
  • Choose a doctor, and then see the other physicians patients have visited after that one.  Does that proctologist have a disturbingly high number of patients who subsequently end up at a different proctology office?  Since that isn’t really the kind of experience you want to repeat, you might want to choose a different doctor…
  • People can bestow Medical Gift Cards upon you.  (I’ve been noticing you need that mole removed.  Here’s a gift card for that.)
  • You can put desired medical procedures on a Wish List, and people can gift them to you for your birthday.  (Thanks, Uncle Fred!  I’ve been needing that colonoscopy for awhile!)

I’m sure my brilliant readers can think of many other advantages to Amazon HealthCare.  You should definitely list them in the comments below.  Just like Amazon, I value customer feedback!

But don’t expect any refunds from me.

amazon_gift_card

I Would Pay The Whole 4 Cents to Be Sequestered with Brad Pitt

Until I can find the tangible evidence that my doctor hates my hair stylist, thus giving him the perfect motive to tank my thyroid test, I have decided to blame my depression on The Sequester. I mean, if my problems aren’t the result of thyroid dysfunction, they clearly must have some external cause. And this whole sequester thing is definitely stressing me out.

First of all, I’m totally bummed that “Sequester” has a completely different meaning than the one I’ve known all of these years. Until now, a sequester was something I could only dream about – having the government pay for me to stay in a hotel with maid service, room service, and all of the books I could ever want to read since I wouldn’t be allowed access to any media in case Nancy Grace might somehow manage to cajole me into nailing Jodi Arias to the wall.

When the news outlets started warning about an oncoming sequester in Congress, I pictured the whole muddle of them being locked inside the Capitol until they  knocked each other off and one person became the victor – kind of like a mix between Twelve Angry Men, Fight Club, and the cardinals in the Vatican conclave.  I was sorely disappointed to find out that this was not the case.

I was even more alarmed by rumors that this whole sequester thing might delay my tax refund.  After all, I use my tax refund to pay my psychiatrist, so if I don’t get my refund, I don’t…well, you get the picture.

Of course, I should be completely straight with you, and admit that we have received an unexpected endowment from the county recently.  Although, to be honest, I don’t think it would pay for the gas to take the check to the bank, much less thirty seconds with my psychiatrist.

In fact, I find it depressing that the county actually paid for a stamp to send this check to us.

Yes, folks, that is a check for 4 cents.

Yes, folks, that is a check for 4 cents.

And then Hugo Chavez died.  The only person more paranoid than me. The person who said, “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?”

Remember?  I’m the one who said terrorists are poisoning our food.  And now I’m depressed.  Hugo said there are mad scientists spreading cancerand he died of cancer.

I think the connections are pretty obvious.

If my doctor had just said, “Your thyroid is wonky, and that’s why you’re depressed,” we wouldn’t be in this big mess.

Just Give it To Me Straight; Will This Effect My GPA (Grand Plan to Age in relatively good health)?

Medical tests confuse me.  Not the try-to-get-into-medical-school-so-you-can-spend-the-next-decade-of-your-life-not-sleeping kind of medical tests.  And not even the “Better 1… or Better 2?” kind of optometry tests (though those kind of confuse me, too; I always suspect that I am being tricked and neither one is better, they are both exactly the same.  Coincidentally, my contact prescriptions seem less accurate every year, and I go twelve months seeing things in a blur because I am afraid to admit to my optometrist that I lied when I said #2 was better in the hopes of making the test end more quickly.) No, I am talking about the extract-some-bodily-fluids-to-send-to-a-lab kind of tests.  When you think about it, it’s my poor bodily fluids that are actually being subjected to these pop quizzes for which they never had the opportunity to study.  So, I guess it’s not the tests that confuse me – just the results.

“Mrs. Cap’n Firepants? I’m just calling to tell you that your test results were negative.”

“Oh my God!!!!!  So, I do have cancer?”

“Umm, we weren’t testing you for cancer. Just for kujdjidlkjkdjf.”

“Oh my God!  So, I have that? …Uh, what is that?”

“No, I am trying to tell you that you do NOT have it.”

“But you said the results were negative.”

“That means you don’t have it.”

“But shouldn’t that be a positive thing, that I don’t have whatever it is? Are you one of those glass-half-empty-people?  Because maybe you shouldn’t have this job if you are going to be spreading your gloomy outlook on life to perfect strangers.”

“This has nothing to do with my optimism or pessimism, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants.  It’s medical terminology.  When what you are trying to find in the test is not present, then you say it is negative.”

“So, are you saying that you wanted to find this in my blood?!!”

“I need to make some more calls, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants.”

“Wait!  Are you positive the test was negative?”

“I’m hanging up now.”

I breathe a sigh of relief that I apparently do not have kujdjidlkjkdjf.   And then I remember that I was kind of hoping that I do have it because it isn’t fatal, can be fixed by taking a pill a day, and would explain why I am such a terrible person.

So, now I am positive that I am feeling negative.

This may explain why my gynecologist’s office just leaves an automated message about my Pap Smear every year.

My bodily fluids would have totally rocked this test.  photo credit: dullhunk via photopin cc

My bodily fluids would have totally rocked this test.
photo credit: dullhunk via photopin cc

Can I Make My Hair Stylist My Primary Physician? If So, Will Coloring My Hair Double My Co-Pay?

“Have you had your thyroid checked lately?”

“No, why?”

“Well, you just seem to be losing more hair than usual.”

This slightly disturbing dialogue occurred between my hair stylist’s sister and me as she was washing my hair.  I don’t think she realized that she was pouring gasoline on a hypochondriac’s fire.

It didn’t help when my hair stylist, himself, said, “Oh yes, we had a client who had thyroid problems.  But instead of losing her hair, she lost her eyebrows.”

I think you can predict what I did when I went home.

It says a lot about my husband’s understanding of me when he said nothing after walking in on me in the bathroom with my nose pressed to the mirror, trying to look for evidence of any missing eyebrow hair.

The truth is, I have been thinking of getting my thyroid checked.  It was checked 3 years ago, but my sister, Crash, had already planted the idea in my head a couple of weeks ago that I should make another go at it, and I am a firm believer that one medical test is never enough.  Especially when it comes out negative.  I’m not paranoid (much), but it seems to me that there are a lot things that can go wrong between the draining of my blood in one office building and the examination of it in some anonymous warehouse under a microscope.  Just check out the “Non-Fat Yogurt” episode of Seinfeld, and you’ll be paranoid, moderately suspicious too.

What I’m trying to figure out, though, is how I can get my doctor to just order the tests without me having to go in and explain my rationale for needing them.  Because I already paid my hair stylist $150.  I don’t see why I need to add a $20 co-pay to the mix.

“Hello?  Yes, I wanted to see if Dr. Jimmy can order some thyroid tests for me?  No, I don’t need to meet with him first.  My hair stylist’s sister already diagnosed me.  Plus, I did the internet checklist.  Really, the blood tests are just a formality.  If Dr. Jimmy wants, we can skip those, too, and he can just start giving me the drugs.”

Yes, I’m sure that would work.

Hey, barbers used to be surgeons.  It's not that far-fetched...photo credit: rhinman via photopin cc

Hey, barbers used to be surgeons. It’s not that far-fetched…
photo credit: rhinman via photopin cc

I’m Not Dead Yet

So, I went to see Dr. Jimmy, the other day, and he seems to think it is unlikely that I have a blood clot, despite the overwhelming evidence on the internet to the contrary.  Because I love Dr. Jimmy (in a completely Hippocratic way, of course), I feel somewhat relieved.  To be honest, I almost did not go to see Dr. Jimmy because my leg felt a lot better on the day of my appointment, but we haven’t seen each other in awhile, so I did not want to hurt his feelings by canceling my appointment.

Plus, I wasn’t sure if they had one of those 24-hour cancellation policies requiring me to pay anyway, so I might as well go and try to get my co-pay’s worth.

Dr. Jimmy, like me, has a Dorfenbergerthalumus that overheats when he is late.  This is a very rare trait in doctors, as many of you will attest, I am sure.  My appointment was at 11:30.  At 11:40, the nurse called me back to the exam room, and asked me a few questions.  After taking my blood pressure, which is one of the few medical tests I always ace, she walked out, and said that Dr. Jimmy would be in soon.  About 60 seconds later, I heard my chart being taken out of its pocket on the front of the door, a quick knock, and Dr. Jimmy strode in.

“That was fast!” I commented.

“No, it wasn’t,” he frowned.  “What time was your appointment?”

“11:30,” I said.

He looked at his watch, and shook his head, frowning.  “I hate running late.  But I’ve had a couple of people this morning who had more than one issue.  I don’t mind if they need to talk about multiple problems, but I wish they would tell the office when they make the appointment, so we can plan enough time for them.”

I tsk-tsked, completely sympathetic, despite the fact that, the day before, I had considered doing the same exact thing when my throat morphed into a volcano.  “I’ll just have to ask Dr. Jimmy about that, too,” I thought, as I swallowed a Zyrtec-D, which calmed the volcano, making my near Appointment Faux-Pas wholly unnecessary.  I didn’t have enough time between the throat scare (is it strep?  Oh, my God, if I don’t get it diagnosed in time, I’m going to die of Scarlet Fever.  Or, at least be blinded like Mary in Little House on the Prairie.  I am not nice like Mary.  Blindness would definitely not improve my temperament…) and my appointment to imagine any other new ailments, so, mercifully, I only had one enigma for him to solve.

Of course, he could not solve it.  Because there is probably nothing wrong.  At least nothing life-threatening.  But it helps to have him say, “No, I don’t think you’re going to die from a pulmonary embolism.”  It’s definitely worth the $15.

Even if he does smile a bit and shake his head.

Wonderbutt waiting in the chair for another chance to give me a blood clot. He is looking away because he is mad at me for walking past the chair instead of settling in and folding myself like a pretzel so he can get comfortable.

Wonderbutt – still waiting, completely forlorn that I have not joined him in the chair for our nightly ritual.  Don’t worry – I sat with him after that.  Didn’t want the poor guy to die of a broken heart.  Though that would be fitting revenge for giving me a blood clot.

A Public Service Announcement for Hamsters and Hypochondriacs

I was happily painting my toe-nails and reading my Oprah magazine when I realized that I need more testosterone.

(Ha.  That would be a very funny statement coming from a guy, wouldn’t it?)

I am not a guy.

As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, I often discover that I need new treatment for my heretofore undiagnosed diseases that my lazy doctors are unable to cure.  So, it was with great delight that I read an article in Oprah that identified all of my current symptoms (plus or minus 3 or 4) and the underlying cause – low testosterone.

I informed my hair stylist of this revelation.  My hair stylist is suffering from the same exact symptoms.  He is a guy.  A gay guy.  He thinks I may be on to something.

My husband thinks that I am off of something – my rocker.

Here are the symptoms – just in case you are interested in diagnosing yourself:  depression, severe lack of energy, inability to focus, blah, blah, blah.  See?!!!!  You need more testosterone, too.

Wait a second.

I’m watching David Letterman, and he says I’m a hamster, and that’s why I’m depressed.

No, he’s a hamster.

No – hamsters that were exposed to late night television showed brain activity that resembles depression.

I wonder who the hamsters were watching.

See?!!!  Inability to focus.  Classic symptom of low testosterone levels.

If you are a hamster, and you are reading this – get thee to a testosterone testing technician immediately.  You need your energy for running on that wheel.

If you are a person, and you are reading this – get thee to a psychiatrist.

I’ll meet you there.

This hamster needs an intervention.
photo credit: http://www.thehipstermom.com

 

Another Two Hours of My Life I Won’t Get Back

So, we have an elderly friend, MILlie, who moved into town a year ago.  MILlie needs to go to a doctor.  Instead of choosing from one of the thousands in San Antonio, she wants to see her former doctor.  Which is fine.  Except that he is 2 hours away.  And MILlie doesn’t drive.  For a recap of the beginning of this story, you can go here.

After finally getting the doctor’s correct name from MILlie, assuring her that I did, indeed, intend to have her accompany me on the trip, doing an internet search, calling a wrong number that directed me to the right number, calling the right number only to be told I needed to give them more information which I didn’t have, calling MILlie to get More Information, calling back to give them More Information, not being asked when I called back the second time for the More Information..

I made an appointment.

We were in business.  I marked the date on the calendar for MILlie’s appointment and cleared my schedule for our road trip.

MILlie came over a few days ago.

“I need you to cancel that appointment,” she said.

I raised an eyebrow.  At least that’s what I think I did.

I hope I didn’t look like this.
Photo credit: buzzinefilm.com

But more like this.
Photo credit: jezebel.com

Although, it possibly could have been more like this.
Photo credit: truthquake.com

“May I ask why?” I cautiously said.

She pulled out an entire section of the newspaper from her purse.

“I was afraid you were going to argue with me, so I brought this as proof,” she said.

“Don’t Ever Drive in this Town Two Hours Away Because The Roads Suck and You Will Die a Horrible Death” the headlines said.  Or something to that effect.

“The roads are terrible there because all of the oil trucks are ruining them, and I would hate for something to happen to you just because you were driving me to the doctor,” MILlie said.

The roads are terrible here, too.  But, I did not point this out to MILlie.  Part of me was jumping for joy that I wouldn’t be going on the road trip, part of me was resenting all of the time I spent planning this adventure, and part of me was thinking about the last time I took MILlie to a doctor in town – which was not an experience either one of us would like to re-live.  The environmentally concerned part of me was ticked off at all of the oil trucks, and the financially desperate part of me was wondering how I could cash in on this whole oil thing…

MILlie said, “So you don’t mind canceling the appointment?”

“Are you okay with me picking a doctor here in town?”

“Yes.”

I gulped.  “Alrighty then.  I will get right on that.”

As soon as MILlie was gone, I called the 2 Hour Away Doctor.  “Uh, do you guys have a recommendation for a doctor here in San Antonio?” I asked.

“We’ll have someone call you back with that information.”

I’m still waiting.

Something tells me I’m going to wish I’d made that road trip.

Hypochondriacs Should Not Have Access to the Internet

There is something wrong with me.  No one knows what it is.  The CIA refuses to believe that terrorists are poisoning my food.  And the doctors refuse to believe that I am not crazy.  But has anyone bothered to test me for cat litter disease?  I think not.

I thought toxoplaswhatever was just a great excuse for getting out of changing the litter box for the nine months I was pregnant.  But, it turns out that pregnant women are not the only victims.  In fact, 1/3 of the world’s population is walking around with this infection RIGHT NOW!

A test of a bunch of Danish women showed that the ones with the infection had a higher risk of suicide attempts than those without the infection.  According to the scientists, it is not necessarily causally related.

But, I’m not fooled.  Notice that this study consisted entirely of women.  The scientists are just trying to cover up the fact that these poor women all married husbands who force them to change the litter box.

Of course, I have not attempted suicide.  (Unless you count the time, last week, when I drove on the highway at night without turning my car headlights on.  But, that was kind of not really deliberate, so I don’t think that counts.  And, let’s not mention that minor incident to Cap’n Firepants, okay?)  And, I am not Danish.  So, I guess that is why no doctor has recommended this test for me.

Oh, and we don’t have a cat.  We used to have a cat, though.  Who committed suicide.  Okay, not really.  But, I am pretty sure that I did get toxoplaswhatchamacallit, and I am, right this moment, suffering from other problems that it causes which the sexist Danish scientists have not yet discovered – such as an inefficient colon and a tendency to acquire mattresses that need immediate disposal.

My point is that I am quite frustrated with the inability, or the complete lack of curiosity, on my doctors’ parts to figure out what is wrong with me.  Doesn’t anyone know how to Google besides me?

You should really thank me for not including any of the other pics I got when I did a search for  “kitty litter”.
photo credit: Rescue Rabbit via photo pin cc

No. I Was Just Going to Drive Two Hours to Take a Look at the Place.

I do not have a good track record with doctors.  So, I tend to avoid them if at all possible.  I prefer to use the internet for my diagnoses.

MILlie, an elderly friend of the family, needs to go to the dermatologist.  The only one she likes is in a different town that is about two hours away.  Because I have had experience with trying to convince MILlie to try a new doctor in  our town, I know better than to try that again.  So, I agreed to take her.  Which, in case you were not paying attention to my first paragraph, is a major sacrifice on my part.  I am not telling you this merely because I want you to admire my heroism, but also because I want you to truly understand the irony of the last line of this post.

I called MILlie to make sure I had the right contact information so I could make the appointment.

“Well, let me get out the phone book,” MILlie said.  “Okay.  Here’s the address.”

“That’s okay.  All I really need is the phone number for now,”  I said.

“Well, it’s right across from the hospital.  It’s in a big building.  Across from the hospital.  And, it’s in a suite. S-T-E.”

“No problem.  If you can just give me the phone number, I’ll get the directions from the internet later, and then you can point out the building to me when we get there,” I said.

“Oh.  Am I going to be with you?”

“That was a cool office building. I guess we can drive the two hours back home now. Maybe we should bring MILlie next time.”
photo credit: JeromeG111 via photo pin cc

Paradise for Control Freaks

Today, I would like to talk about Mother’s Day.  Haha!  See how creative I am?  Everyone else is posting about Father’s Day, but not me.  I do not bend to society’s norms.  I do not do what everyone else does.  I do not –

remember what I was going to talk about.

Oh, yes.  Mother’s Day.  So, I never mentioned what Cap’n Firepants gave me for Mother’s Day.  (On a half-sideways note, I must say that I don’t really understand why husbands give wives anything on Mother’s Day.  After all, I am not the Cap’n’s mother.  But, I certainly am not complaining about getting an extra gift.)

Anyways, despite the fact that I really meant it when I said that I didn’t want anything except to be able to sleep late,  the Cap’n gave me a gift card to The Container Store. Now, I am pretty certain that it is no coincidence that The Container Store happens to be across the parking lot from the golf store that he went to that same day.  But I was not unhappy with the gift because he wrote a very mushy note inside the gift card, and I have been asking him for about 10 years to write me a mushy note, and I would not have cared if he wrote it on a napkin that had been chewed up by Wonderbutt.  And, no, I will not share the mushy note with you, partly because it’s private, but mostly because I’m not exactly sure what I did with it.  But don’t tell that to the Cap’n.

Now, I do like The Container Store.  But I did not realize at the time of receiving the card that it would save my marriage.

I have been referring to this summer as the Summer of Purging.  And I am not referring to any kind of eating disorder.  First, I moved my classroom to a new school, which necessitated some major disposing of unnecessary curriculum materials that had accumulated in the nooks and crannies of my previous room over 13 years.  Now, I am in the midst of my normal Summer Closet Inspections and the Attempt to Save my Daughter’s Room from Being Overcome by Silly Slappy Hands.  And, I am helping my mother-in-law scale down her belongings so she can move into an independent living facility.

Out of all the people I am dealing with, I appear to be the only reasonable one.  Everyone seems intent on trying to save every last insignificant item from the Death Squad Judgement of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants.  Even Wonderbutt snatched back a completely disemboweled toy I threw in the garbage the other day.

After a particularly grueling day trying to convince my mother-in-law that the entirety of her 1200 square foot apartment will not be able to be squeezed into her new 300 square foot room, the Cap’n and I then began to have a slightly not very reasonable discussion about the possibility of storing some of the apartment contents in our home.  And I became pretty sure that I needed to initiate divorce proceedings immediately.

Then I remembered my gift card.

“I have some errands,” I announced to the Cap’n and Dimples.

I drove straight to the Mecca of Organization, and strolled down the aisles, leisurely admiring the order and color coordination of each section.  Every time I turned a corner, I felt a bit more tension roll away.

After spending 2x the amount that was on my gift card, I was ready to return home with enough containers to control the mess that my life has become.  And I told Cap’n Firepants that whatever doesn’t fit in one of the many repositories that I purchased can NOT COME INTO OUR HOUSE.

And we lived happily ever after.

A Little Slice of Heaven
photo credit: http://www.containerstore.com

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