Thursday, October 3, 2013

Too many questions

Subtitled: Things that make you go "hmmm". . .

I have spent entirely too much time in doctors’ offices in the last six months. Doctors, nurses and lab techs all love to ask questions. Sometimes I wonder what they do with the vast amount of answers they collect on each visit because at the next visit, they ask the very same questions all over again. (Disclaimer: my medical care providers have been awesome through my recent experience. This post is written totally tongue-in-cheek. If you work in the health care field, please do not be offended. You're doing a fabulous job. You are appreciated. I love you.)

On April 19, I affirmed I am not allergic to latex. On June 12, I re-affirmed I am not allergic to latex. I continued to be questioned about potential latex allergies on Aug. 30, Sept. 4 and Sept. 18. (All by the same doctor’s office.) I’m not sure how quickly one can develop an allergy but apparently it can happen over night. By the time I had my recent surgery, I was surprised they didn’t wake me up half way through and ask if I was allergic to latex.

The question that always makes me want to laugh out loud, although that would be totally politically incorrect because it is a very sad reflection on our society, is, “Do you feel safe in your home?” I live with a malinois. What do you think? (Granted, the implied answer runs the spectrum from “absolutely, totally safe” to “in danger of bodily harm most waking hours.”)

I have gone to the same gynecologist since I moved to this area 25 years ago. I go for an annual appointment every spring. Every year they ask me how old I am. Umm . . . one year older than the last time I was here? Can’t you look at my file and figure it out for yourself or is this some kind of mental acuity test to see if I've gone round the bend?

Sometimes the questions have legitimate merit but seem to invite untruthful answers. Example: do you use illegal drugs? Um, no . . . but what happens if I say yes?

When I was discharged from the hospital, I had four pages of instructions regarding medications, do’s, don’ts and what to expect as I healed. Carefully typed between the prescriptions I was to have filled and phone numbers to call if I had any questions was the sentence, “Bring these papers to your next doctor’s appointment.”

I could not figure out why in the world I would need to bring my discharge instructions to my follow-up appointment but I stuffed them in my bag and took them along. (I already live with a malinois, no sense tempting fate.) No one asked to see them and no information contained on those pages was requested. It was almost as good as puppy Phoenix’s “required” $50 health certificate to fly from Oregon to Iowa that not a soul at the airport showed the slightest interest in inspecting.

I am happily celebrating The End of the question that has come at every gyn visit since the beginning of time: when was the first day of your last period? As a rule, I have no idea. This always resulted in me staring blankly at the nurse until she sighed and handed me a calendar, at which point I would pick an often random day that seemed likely. On any given day I have a lot of things on my mind. What to have for supper. How to improve Phoenix’s UKC glove exercise. Why OnStar keeps sending me messages about low tire pressure when my tires are just fine. But I have never spent a lot of time thinking about the first day of my last period. And now I never have to. Ever. Again.


  1. Re: the last sentence - yay! It really is a wonderful thing. ;-)

  2. The last day of your menstrual period question will still be asked - when you reply that you've had a hysterectomy, they will ask when...and note it... every time... :)

  3. Also about birth control. Just write it down people-it won't be changing any time soon.