The first step was to get a new PCP, because not only was my current PCP booked for the next six weeks, but I didn't even know where she was located any more -- I think she'd moved once during the last four years -- and suspected it wasn't anywhere very convenient to me, since her last office hadn't been. It took me until early August to get around to going to my insurance company's website and searching about for a PCP that was accepting new patients. Then cross-referenced their results with Google Maps, to find one that was actually near me. I came up with two that were reasonably close, one woman and one man. All else being equal, I do have a preference for female health care providers. It's not a huge preference, but all else was pretty much equal here. The male doctor's office was slightly closer to my house, but it wasn't on a bus route and the female doctor's was. Bonus, her office was right next to the new Super Wal-Mart we normally shop at, so I knew right where it was. Dr. Manning it is! Assuming she has any appointments free and really is accepting new patients. I put both numbers and addresses in my sidekick, just in case, and set reminders to myself to call, which is one of the few ways I ever get stuff like this done. Five or six reminders later, I called Dr. Manning's office. The receptionist had appointments available in August, but she recommended making one in September. "You'll need to change your PCP with your insurer first, and they usually make changes like that effective as of the first of the following month."
Next step: call my insurance company. "We can't change your PCP."
"No. Talk to HR at your company, they need to do it."
So I called HR, and they told me to fill out the change at the insurance company's website. I did. And then HR emailed me a week later to ask what the change they needed to approve was, because the insurance company was making them approve it but wouldn't actually tell them what it was. Bureaucracy at its finest!
A week after that, I got a new insurance card for my new PCP, effective 9/1. Hurrah!
Obstacles at work arose: one of my co-workers wanted me for a special meeting on Wednesday morning. I told her I couldn't make it. An urgent project (which had been waiting for the last four months, until now when it made it to urgent) needed to be done today. "I'll start it in the afternoon. Maybe I can finish it the same day anyway." Yes, sure, I could have rescheduled the appointment. But it had taken me four years to getting around to making this one. Nothing was going to stop me now!
This morning, I asked Google Maps how to get to the doctor's office. The option for "directions by public transit" is quite spiffy! It even lets you put in your desired arrival or departure times. It told me to leave my house at 9:33 to catch the bus to be there by 10:00. My appointment was for 10:30, but they asked me to be early to fill out paperwork. Besides, I could read the World Tree rulebook while I was there.
I called my doctor to confirm I had an appointment still, (I did) and wandered around the house gathering the things I wanted. IPod goes into purse, grab lunch bag, where's my Sidekick? I hung up the phone after confirming the appointment, and remembered that my phone is my Sidekick. Oh. Right.
Before leaving, I checked my purse to make sure I had my insurance card. Which I did. I checked the PCP on it: Dorothy Jackson. Oops.
I dialed my insurer and headed for the bus stop at about 9:23. Five minutes later, I confirmed that yes, I had correctly changed my PCP, I just had the wrong insurance card. I hung up, put the phone away as I was almost to the bus stop, and decided to read ... the World Tree book. That I'd left at home.
Well, it was 9:28 now, and Google Maps had said "leave the house at 9:33 to catch the bus at 9:38." So I jogged back to the house, grabbed the World Tree book, and jogged back to the bus stop. I arrived at 9:34, with about 10 seconds to spare before the bus pulled up. Eeeeee.
On the bus, I braided my hair. It was a quick ride -- I could walk it easily, it's no more than two and a half miles. It's just a nasty sort of walk, since the direct route is along the highway.
So at my stop, I gathered up my lunch and purse and headed off the bus. I thought about blogging the morning so far -- "I almost missed the bus going back for my book" -- and promptly realized that I'd forgotten the World Tree book. Again. 9.9
I bolted back to the bus. "Here she comes," the bus driver said with a laugh. Another passenger handed me my book; he'd spotted it before I got back.
All possessions in hand, I made my way to the doctor's office without further incident.
The visit itself was quite nice, actually. The office staff was all friendly and Dr. Manning herself was great: friendly, chatty, unhurried, frank, and enthusiastic. There's a lot of complaining in the health care industry about doctors hurrying through visits, careful never to allot more than 15 minutes to each one, and I am accustomed to spending most of my time at a doctor's office either waiting or with a nurse. I did spend some time doing both of those, but I probably spent at least half an hour talking to the doctor about this or that mostly-health-related thingie. And some non-health-related things: I put down "IT" for my job, since what I actually do is complicated, and this prompted her to talk about her adventures with the big push for all-electroonic records. "I've always been a Mac person, but I got used to Windows. I'm not sure about Vista, though."
"Just hold out for Windows 7," I advised her. "It'll be out October 22."
"You know the date!"
I did, but only because a friend had just mentioned it to me that morning.
She recommended Adora Chocolates to me: they're chocolates that serve as calcium supplements. Apparently they taste just like real chocolate. Dr. Manning: "I got a big bottle of regular calcium supplements years ago, and somehow -- it's so strange! -- the level in that bottle never goes down. I'd look at it and say, 'I need to take one of those.' Then I'd go away and not actually take one. But with Adora, oddly, I never forget to take my calcium supplements any more." She grinned at me. "Sometimes I take more than one!"
I giggled. "Can you overdose on calcium?"
"Well ... yes. But two's fine."
Over the course of the exam, she recommended I get a baseline mammogram, which apparently they like for you to get before you're 40 so they know what 'normal' is like for your chest. And bloodwork, which apparently I have to go to the lab so they can draw the blood myself, instead of the doctor being able to send it, rats. So I still have more work to do on the health front.
But! I did make it to the doctor! I am (at least until the pap smear results come back) officially Well! And after it took me so long to get around to this, actually making an appointment myself, and getting there under my own power without someone else driving me or lending me a car, feels like an Accomplishment. Worthy of blogging about!
Which, okay, it probably wasn't. But I blogged about it anyway.