Since it's a new year, my insurance will pay another thousand bucks for dental work, that I didn't think I needed until my tooth started hurting last week. I called my dentist to see when he had scheduled me for and to my good luck, it was the 27th of January, yesterday. The office was empty when I arrived but had to wait for about 20 minutes anyway, while the dentist finished his sandwich. I was escorted into the inner sanctum and offered a seat in the chair from hell. You know the one, the one that causes you pain as you lay there staring into a light that is really too bright, so they give you sunglasses. Finally the little dentist arrives smelling from peanut butter and jelly and tells me that he is going to clean my teeth, even though he just cleaned them 3 months ago. He tells me that my discomfort is from a possible crack in my tooth beneath a huge filling that he can replace with another filling and if that doesn't relieve the pain, then a root canal and a crown! I listen and allow him to clean my teeth again, while he chastises me for doing a poor job brushing. I explain that I just hired someone to do that for me and that I'll pass along the complaints... I prepare to leave and go to the check out desk and wait about 5 minutes for anyone to notice me standing there, when a cute little girl comes out of the backroom also smelling from peanut butter. She asks me if 2 o'clock is a good time for me and I tell her sure and she hands me a card that reads Tuesday at 2:00 sometime in April, WTF? I guess my tooth didn't rally hurt hat much.
Somehow I've made it for several years without a primary care physician or PCP. My kidney doctor got tired of my pharmacy calling to refill all of my meds each month and kind of insisted I make other arrangements. So I contacted my insurance company for the name of a reputable doctor within my plan. They chose one in the upscale part of town in North Scottsdale and today was my appointment. As I mentioned, I'd not had a PCP for several years and the last one was a pretty Japanese woman about 35 years old that I was more than satisfied with, but she decided to specialize in something else. I recall my first and only visit with her and she had asked me when was the last time I'd had my prostate checked. After thinking over her question, I replied, "I just had it checked this morning on my way here, but thanks for asking." she laughed and said, next visit for sure and promptly changed specialties... Today, with this in mind, I wore my new Costco underwear, you know, the good ones without any holes in preparation for my exam.
I arrived at my appointment right on time and to my surprise, there were very few people waiting and I checked in. The kid, a 20 something guy wearing scrubs took my driver's license and insurance card as I asked if you needed to be a driver to see this doctor. He said, no but people use other people's identification to get free appointments. I sat down, only to realize he handed me about 10 pages to fill out! I was pretty sure that no one ever read these things so I did manage to fill out the first page completely and fill out my name and date on all of the others. I no sooner turned it in at the desk and asked my driver's license and insurance card back, when they called me inside to be weighed and measured. Someone took my blood pressure and escorted me into a room where I waited for about 15 minutes when an older man entered after a double knock on the door. He introduced himself and asked me to have a seat on the examining table, I did. He took a position about 10 feet away from me and read me the information that I had filled in. He never got any closer to me than that. He asked me when I'd last had a colonoscopy and I told him. He asked me if I'd had a flu shot and I said, yes. He asked if I'd had a Pneumonia shot and I said, yes and he said, good, that it was good for 5 years. He asked me if I'd like a injection of B-12, that it would give me energy and I yawned and said, yes again. He then asked me if any of my prescriptions needed refilling and I told him what I needed. he left. I waited about 20 minutes alone when I finally left the room and told the first person I saw that I'd been abandoned in room 8 and they told me to go back there and wait. Again, I did. I was then escorted to a restroom and instructed to pee in a cup and prepare for blood work. Sitting outside the shit house door, I heard a wall yell my name and I got up to look for the wall that yelled, only to see another kid with a needle in his hand ask my name. As he stabbed me, he asked if I were enjoying retirement and I replied, "Not since Oprah went off the air" and a girl sitting behind him began laughing. He told me that I was free to go as I looked for a door that said exit, when another girl sitting at yet another desk said, not so fast, you have to make another appointment. I immediately saw $$$ signs, but for them, not me. I asked why I was to make another appointment and she said, to get the results of my blood tests. I wanted to say, just call me, but figured out that they won't make money from my insurance company if they just call me and I agreed. I'm probably call well in advance and just cancel my appointment, so as not to incur the $35 charge that is posted on every wall if you don't call 24 in advance of each appointment canceled. I wore the new underwear for nothing!