Here’s another one for the rule book: Never try to find a new doctor on a Monday.
Not that it would be any easier on a Thursday, of course, but Mondays usually come with baggage.
Don’t even bother asking anyone for recommendations. The recommended ones aren’t taking new patients. Or they’re not taking your kind of insurance. Or they’re younger than your kids.
Technically, I wasn’t even trying to find a new doctor– just my somewhat new one, whom I’ve seen a couple of times before, but now she’s moved to a different practice. She used to be five minutes away, now she’s 25.
Such is life.
The times I’ve seen her have been for routine physicals and each time, one of her first questions has been, “When is the last time you had a colonoscopy?”
That’s not in one of the “save the date” slots of my brain. They should have just tattooed it on my butt, like they do with cars after an oil change.
It’s physical time again this week and I need to give her a concrete answer.
I called my former doctor at the beach, the one who sent me for my original test. The automated voice goes through that infernal, You have reached blahblahblah… if you are a physican, dial blahblahblah… if you know your party’s extension, blahblahblah. When I press my way to humanity, she can’t find the test results in my chart, but sees the date when they sent me: 2003.
The imaging center where I had the procedure has the same blahblahblah answering device. The human I found by pressing 0 searches for my records, but eventually tells me I was purged.
Yes, I remember that part quite vividly.
The report is in storage, but she will call down and retrieve it, she assures me.
I suppose it’s logical that a colonoscopy report be stowed in the bowels of the building.
She will send it to my new doctor if I will supply a FAX number.
Noooooooooooo problem-o, right? Just call the somewhat new doctor’s new office and get a FAX number.
First the phone book:
Our phone company didn’t even send us White Pages this year, telling us that folks don’t use them any more. (Why? No one has friends?) Instead, they sent us two sets of The Real Yellow Pages, one that’s readable and a second, miniature version for elves, fairies, or beady-eyed people.
Finding my doctor–excuse me–Physician– in The Yellow Book or The Real Yellow Pages is an exercise in insanity. If I had a Sorta Yellow Pages, I’d look there, too.
She isn’t listed in those faux white pages that are printed in front of The Real Yellow Pages, so I turn to Physicians & Surgeons. There, things really get complicated.
It isn’t enough to know she’s a doctor… is she Family Medicine, General Practice, Internal Medicine, or one of the 67 other specialties listed?
None of the above. I don’t see her name anywhere.
Then she must be listed by the name of the new group she’s in, right? If only I knew what that is. I call a number I think might be it, but they are not familiar with her. The human at 0, which I pressed this time after the first blahblah, kindly says she’ll look in the medical directory.
It still shows my doctor’s old address.
I put away the phone book and move to the computer and 411.com. First, I look by People and find her name, age, home address, and husband… but not her business address. I try again via the Business listings, looking under “Doctors.“
The list is organized by how close the doctors are to me in distance. When I change the setting to get an alphabetical listing, it does so… by first name.
I don’t know her first name. I know it isn’t Ann or Sue, but something multi-syllabic and mysterious, which actually helps in my search. I scroll until I locate a mysterious name. I click on it: old office address.
For gawd’s sakes, has the woman gone into Witness Protection?
Finally! After another blahblahblah, a receptionist in another office is able to tell me the doctor’s new location. I go through another calling cycle to the somewhat new doctor to get her FAX number and then do a repeat to the people who purged me.
I’m on the home stretch now… IF the colonoscopy Purged Files clerk locates my file and FAXes it to my somewhat new doctor’s new nurse at her direct, secret FAX number at the new practice, that’s it! By Thursday, please.
What are the odds? I have no idea. Can’t think about that now. The whole experience has given me a migraine.
Would that be Physicians & Surgeons – Neurology, Physicians & Surgeons – Pain Management, or should I go directly to Physicians & Surgeons – Psychiatry?