Wednesday, July 21, 2010


While my DH is traveling this time, I made myself a giant to-do list. Some of the items are very small and take five minutes ("take out trash") and some take almost a week ("remediate mildew in closet" - actually there are two such closets, each a different list item). I get to cross each of them off when I am well and truly done, and I add more all the time. The list is nearly two pages long now, and over half done. (I wonder whether I will get completely done - time is growing short.)

Can I tell you how unexpectedly and unreasonably happy it makes me to look possessively over this list and all the things with lines through them? One of the things about the list that gives me a bizarre Gollum-like pleasure in examining it over and over is the anticipation of showing it to my husband when he gets home. No matter how many nice things he says about all the things I get done (given that we both work full-time, and, while he definitely does a lot of stuff around the house, I view the housework as my responsibility), the idle comments he lets slip have finally convinced me that he thinks our house is a pigsty and I do nothing but read the internet all day. He says that's not what he thinks, but I believe differently. But there's no arguing with this list. It's an IMPRESSIVE list. It contains things he did NOT think I would be taking on.

(Accuracy break: I read the internet a LOT. But my house is really hot, and I can't be doing chores all the time, and I feel like the internet is my zero-human-energy way to fill time when my brain is not able to work with the grieving infertility, missing my husband, loneliness for companionship, and pressing desire for people to leave me alone so I can have some peace and quiet and get things done. The internet is a cool-down opportunity so my brain doesn't overheat, OK? And I feel the need to use it for substantial periods each day.)

As usual, with me, there's eight paragraphs of introductory material and a sentence or two of point. The point is, one of the items on the list is that I have to make an appointment to have a physical. I haven't had one in several years, and I know I have moles that need to be looked at, and probably other things. I have a bit of mental energy for being told unpleasant things by medical professionals. All that mental energy and then some is consumed even by my lackluster approach to fertility treatment (there's a reason I put off making THAT first appointment for so long!). So I am about to have gone two years without seeing the dentist, even though I knew I needed six fillings two years ago. I don't want a dozen root canals (in fact, I would refuse them), but part of me would prefer that to having my life become an unending nightmare of medical treatment. At least when most people have to live like that, THEY ARE RETIRED. At least they have TIME for the pain and suffering. In addition to dealing with this misery, I have to take time off work and wander into my boss's office periodically to tell him that yet another professional needs to analyze my defective person. At some point, he's going to realize that I'm just a hazard to the workplace.


I got brave and tackled this matter. There's a great hospital really near me that I already use to get my blood drawn - so I know they take my insurance. To minimize the medical misery, I'm going to get all my treatment (other than dental and RE) in one place - one set of directions to memorize, less stress, less complexity what with the horrible city and the horrible parking and the horrible traffic and the horrible lateness getting absolutely anywhere. So I was brave, and I searched on the hospital website for a female doctor practicing family medicine at that address.

AND THERE AREN'T ANY. There's one male doctor, who looks kinda creepy from his picture, and another male doctor who's actually even closer to my house - but HE gives the indications of being a non-native English speaker, and I have a rule about how my doctors have to have English as a first language (otherwise we can't communicate, and after I had a colposcopy with no anesthetic, I realized just how important it was that the doctor be familiar with medicine as practiced in THIS country, and willing and able to chat with me freely while she is using sharp objects on my body. And that is it on foreign doctors for LIFE. Except Israeli doctors, I seem to do fine with them, but their English is awesome).

So what do I do? Go to a different hospital? Or will someone other than a family medicine doctor give me a general physical? Or has my insurer already picked out a PCP for me and I should use him (but preferably her)? Or should I just deal with having a male doctor? I don't plan to do that, really. Since there are female doctors, I would like to have one.

I appreciate all your great wisdom.



  1. A regular internist should give you a physical. There are usually tons of internists at hospitals (although I don't know how many actually have outpatient office hours).

  2. Actually creating a list and getting to cross things off, or even better, finish it, is one of the most rewarding feelings. I hate my to do lists, but I love when I finish them off.

    I feel like I've been productive. I don't blame you about wanting to have a doctor whose primary language is english. In healthcare, it's important that there be no miscommunication.

    Does the hospital you're searching have any doctors who practice Internal Medicine? They can be used as family doctors, as well. I wouln't go with the creepy looking doctor. Doctors get awfully personal, and you defintely want someone you can be comfortable with.

  3. LOL! We are SO alike. I love, love, love making lists, and even more so I love crossing things off. I've been known to add an unexpected item to my grocery cart, THEN add it to the list, THEN cross it off immediately. Does that make me ill? :-)

    I can also relate about the hubby thinking I do "nothing" all day. I remedied this problem in a similar manner: knowing my love of crossing things off, I made a checklist of sorts that I post on the fridge. It motivates me to actually pull out the vaccuum (that's several different items to cross off, one for each room!) AND it shows Mo that I actually DID something productive! Not that he ever doubted it, of course, according to him.

    Why is it that women still feel responsible for housework in this day and age? It's totally the same way for us. Mo pitches in and occasionally will do dishes or take out the trash or do a load of laundry, but the onus is always on me.

    As for the PCP, I have no advice. I don't generally like doctors at all, except my RE, whom I saw only on tranfer/retrieval and consult days. I loved my physician's assistant, though. I usually saw her instead of my primary care doc. Now that we've moved, I've got to find someone new and have no idea how to go about it. You're doing better than I am in that regard!

    Big hugs, and sorry for the longest comment on record.


  4. check for internal medicine doctors

  5. Actually, most of my favorite doctors in the past (my current doctor aside) have been male. For some reason, the female doctors were the ones that minimized my pain, pushed the bcp, basically looked at me like I was weak and ignorant. The male doctors seemed to have more compassion - maybe because they had wives or daughters and weren't all liberal feminists? But that was mostly for my treatment of endo, so I don't know - maybe a female GP wouldn't be so harsh? You could always take a quick trip to the office and ask to meet the doctor for a quick hello before you make an appt. Most docs will give you 15 min of their time for free.

  6. hmmmm, if you absolutely can't locate a female doctor, you could ask the male doctor to have a female nurse in the room with you. any clinic i've ever attended allowed that.

    are nurse-practitioners legal where you live? i wonder if they would do physicals.

  7. Love your comment on list making-I am so the same way for my own person satisfaction of marking through the items! And I have to agree with you about the internet, its what you do when you can't mentally do anything else. At least that is me and why my posts and comments are so rock star brilliant. I am actually seeing a dermatologist for the first time today to look at moles b/c it has been on list FOREVER! I think if I had your experience with a doc with ESL I would def have your same rule-yikes!

  8. I would also look for someone who practices internal medicine, or a nurse practitioner. I used to see a nurse practitioner, and I felt like she spent a lot more time with me and really listened to what I was saying more than my other doctors. If thee's anything serious, they're all probably going to refer you to a specialist, anyway, so in my mind, it might as well be a pleasant experience.

    I also only like to see female physicians.