Orange County Register — North County News; Date: Sept. 6, 2018; Section: News; Page Number: A4
WHAT A DAY
Even if I’ve retired, my body needs to keep working
As we grow older, it’s a shame that our bodies don’t work as well as they did in our younger days. I sailed through most of my young adulthood without ever seeing a doctor. Of course, that could have been because I was poor and uninsured, but at least I was lucky enough to have good health.
Now I’m happy to have insurance, because there are parts of my body that would like to retire. I just wish I was a little younger to take better care of them. It’s annoying to have to plan all my trips around whether I’ll need refills of my medication, and I don’t always remember to schedule my yearly checkups.
Recently, I went to the drugstore for my hormone pills. They informed me that I was out of refills, and that my doctor was refusing to give me more. This seemed like a mistake. My doctor was clear at my last exam, that he wanted me to stay on this particular medication.
My family, and most of polite society would like me to stay on it, too.
I called the doctor and spoke to one of the nurses. As it turns out, I was due for my yearly checkup, but I had either missed the reminder card, or hadn’t received one—I won’t assign blame here. After I promised to make an appointment, she grudgingly allowed me one more refill.
When I arrived at my exam, I received more bad news. It seems I had forgotten to get a mammogram last year. I had good intentions, but I’m easily distracted and perpetually overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up the phone and fit something else into my schedule.
The doctor informed me he was holding my hormone prescription hostage. I could have a 3-month supply, after which he’d cut me off if I didn’t produce the results of a mammogram—and yes, it had to be mine. I tried to argue that this was breast extortion, but he wouldn’t listen. He just kept talking about my health until I surrendered.
As soon as I returned home, I called the Women’s Breast Center and made the appointment. The woman on the phone wanted to know if I had orders from a doctor for a mammogram. I told her my doctor’s name.
“I don’t see any order for you here,” she said.
“They faxed it over, maybe 15 minutes ago,” I told her.
She paused. “Sometimes it takes a while to get to us.”
We spoke for several minutes longer, until I convinced her to make the appointment, and I would provide a copy of the doctor’s orders when I came. I hung up with the same question as when I go for my mammogram and they put a hospital bracelet on me with my name, birthdate, etc.
Do they get a lot of random women trying to get mammograms, of their own free will?
I’m trying to picture the woman who wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee, I feel like getting my entire chest pulled into a machine and flattened between glass plates. I don’t need a doctor for that, do I?”
I’ll be getting my mammogram in two weeks, which will be well within my doctor’s deadline. My body may not work as well as it did, but at least my doctors are keeping it from retiring completely.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].