Paging Dr. Dover, Dr. Ben Dover


It was only a matter of time.

AGMA has enjoyed excellent health in her 62 years. Oh – a polyp here, a little dyspalsia there, maybe some elevated cholesterol numbers, but nothing needing any significant medical intervention. The only prescriptions I take are bioidential lady hormones to keep me from being a sweltering, raging witch. And it works.

Most of the time.

I always feel very fortunate when I fill out medical forms and can put “N/A” under past surgeries. I don’t think that my wisdom teeth removal when I was 21 really counts. Even my kids popped out with minimal fuss with no episiotomies. I know…  TMI.

My body is a virgin temple when it comes to the scalpel.

Maybe not for much longer.

I’ve been having some weird GI issues lately and the levels of lipase in my blood are really high. My GP wanted me to see a GI doc to get a scan of some sort.

AGMA firmly believes that we all have to be our own best advocates when it comes to our health care so, of course, I did what everybody else does. I went straight the the Internet for a diagnosis. And I got the bejeepers scared out of me. Serves me right.

I took some deep breaths, slapped myself back to my senses, and started on an actual productive Internet search. I went on the hunt for a good GI doc. My GP suggested some GI practices that are affiliated with the same hospital she is, but I really wanted a medical group that has more than a 2 star rating on Yelp. Or maybe it’s not Yelp. RateADoc or something like that.

AGMA decided to go to a GI group that was well rated and really close to where she lives but is not affiliated with her GP’s hospital. I don’t think my GP was happy with me.


It’s not her virgin temple.

The next hurdle was to actually get an appointment. Not as so easy. My doctor of choice was booked up until September. Huh? Let that sink in… He had no appointments available until September.

I’m no medical genius, but I’m thinking that the majority of GI issues really are not the kind of thing that can be put on hold for 4 months. But what does AGMA know…

I was told I could get an appointment with a Physician’s Assistant in the same practice, but at another location farther way – of course – in two days. Score.

But what exactly is a Physician’s Assistant?

During the appointment, I riddled out that PA’s are there to weed out people who don’t have conditions bad enough to warrant a GI doc’s time. Just a guess. But I bet they still bill the appointment to insurance at the doctor rate.

I gotta get me a racket like that.

So she wrote an order for me to get an ultrasound to check things out. But I had to schedule it. Here we go again…

Again, I tried to get the US at the location that’s a mile from my house. Their first opening was June 15th. Seriously?  I told the appointment lady that I could wait until June 15th, but I wasn’t sure my gall bladder and pancreas could.

She poked around on her computer a bit more and said there was a cancellation today at 2 PM I could have. At the farther away location. Of course.

And she happened to mention that I couldn’t eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the ultrasound. And I didn’t get up early enough this morning to have a snack. Of course.

But fasting is good for the soul, right?

I’m fantasizing of a big ol’ juicy burger later this afternoon.

Surprisingly, AGMA wanted to be efficient for once. I decided to get a test sample kit done at home this morning that the PA said I needed to do as another piece of the “let’s figure out what’s going on with AGMA” puzzle. I can drop it at the lab near the ultrasound place so I don’t have to make yet another trip out to the hinterlands.

It was such an interesting and unusual “collection” experience – I feel compelled to share. Lucky you.

Let’s just say it involved getting a “sample” of a certain daily – most of the time – bodily output that is NOT liquid.  And transferring it from a collection “receptacle” (that was a trick…) into 4 different sample jars. I wore rubber gloves. I regret not wearing a hazmat suit.

The lab tech who gave me the kit cautioned me about all the ways I could screw up the tests. If I didn’t do each one just right, it would require a test do-over. Even a smudged name on a vial could mean a do-over.

AGMA’s hands were shaking and she broke out into a sweat as she wrote her name and DOB on the vials. Dear God in heaven, I do NOT want to do that over. Please.

Now I know some of you out there are veterans when it comes to engaging with the medical profession and are shocked at my naivety about all this stuff. And think I’m whiney and wimpy.

That’s okay because I am.

Even though I’ve had close relatives and friends who’ve gone through the wringer with doctors and hospitals and insurance, I’ve never experienced it directly myself.

It’s like you step into an alien universe.

ET, bend over and say ahhhhh.


34 thoughts on “Paging Dr. Dover, Dr. Ben Dover

  1. I so feel your pain on this one. But, take the advice I never pay attention to myself….Stay off of the internet. It just scares the hell out of you. Every. time.

    I lost parents/grandparents to early deaths and it left its mark on me. So, I “catastrophize” every medical issue that arrives, no matter how small. It’s not a mole, it’s melanoma. It’s not fatty tissue, it must be breast cancer. Twinge in my upper arm…might be a heart attack. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    I love PA’s…they take their time with you, in a way that the official MD cannot. It’s where I got all of my questions answered. Hope all is well with you, AGMA, and you get your answers soon. 💕

    And p.s. About that stool sample. I worked in HR for a hospital and had to explain the “extraction procedure” way too many times for comfort. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m taking your advice Van and staying off the Internet! Nothing I read was good so I just decided to play the ostrich and stick my head in the sand. Ha!

      It’s hard not to get overly concerned when you have a family history of people dying fairly young. My sister is like that – everything is a huge deal unless proven otherwise.

      I had high hopes for the PA as well, but it turns out that the doctor (who spoke with on the phone once and exchanged messages with) has been more helpful. How’s that for crazy. The PA was supposed to call me to get an MRI scheduled. She left me a message, I called her back and left a message the same day. Then she left on vacation and didn’t have anybody follow up with me. I wasn’t a happy camper. But the doctor got things rolling so I’m in a much better mood!

      Yeah – that sample kit… I’d much rather explain it than do it! But thankfully I must have done it all right as I wasn’t asked to “re-collect” Whew!

      Thanks for your good wishes Van. I really would love it if they figured out what’s going on and it’s something that can be successfully treated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hope your medical issue turns out to be really minor and easy to remedy …
    would miss your humorous posts if you were laid up for a while!
    stay positive and alert, keep checking out whatever you are told.
    praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I pissed off my GP in the last year by going to a specialist on my own too. The deciding moment for me was when he came into the room with printouts from WebMD. Ummm, no. I gave him points for transparency (i.e. “Beats me what’s wrong with you!”), but when his diagnosis was simply to wait and watch, I too sprung into unilateral action. Like you I also got an PA, which in turn did lead to my eventually seeing the specialist. When all was said and done, I apparently am fine, and a final report was sent to my GP. I look forward to my next annual physical for him to comment on all of it, NOT. Good luck to you, AGMA. I hope all will be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much!!

      WebMD…seriously?? And again, if we don’t advocate for our selves, the doctors sure aren’t going to do it for us. I’m sure you had good reason to pursue things with a specialist and just because things were fine doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have done it. You have the peace of mind that all is good right?

      I am finally connected with a doctor! Yeah! MRI tomorrow so we’ll see… Thanks again for your good wishes!


  4. Sending positive thoughts your way. Check out your temple any way you feel is right… personal GP be damned. But do check it out. I am a firm believer of early detection, positive thinking, and good medical science. It always amazes me what is medically possible these days. Keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks PWD11!! I love the affirmation of my temple! And I too love the idea of early detection, positive thinking and good medical science. And lots of prayer. More tests coming up so should know something by late next week. Thanks again Pat!


  5. The problem with doctors and hospitals is they are just no fun and we tend to avoid them like the plague until we are really hurting. We need doctors and nurses that are entertaining, like Robin Williams entertaining. They should teach comedy performance skills in Med School.
    Hope all goes well AGMA. Keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ilona! I’ve been so very blessed with spectacular health all my life – I’m afraid I’ve become a bit spoiled… And I have avoided doctors and hospitals like the plague!

      Emotionally, I really would like to ignore all the symptoms and hope they just “go away” (the ostrich head in the sand syndrome) but the grown-up in me says I can’t. Sometimes that grown-up really ticks me off!

      And I hope I get a doctor like Robin Williams! 🙂 Thanks again for your good wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope your sense of humor can maintain your adaptability and you can come out of all this with a clean colon and negative tests. Please give y regards to Dr. Ben Dover! (I loved that one. I was a nurse for over 36 years. Wish I could help butt(LOL) you are on your own with this one. Good luck and please let us know how everything “comes out.” No sordid details. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I had gallbladder issues about 8 years ago and ended up taking the easy way out on selected a doctor and hospital. I did it all as an emergency patient. One night I had incredible horrible pain. My wife took me to the ER when a nice young lady doctor told me something, “We take it out now or you die.” Well, I think she said it nicer than that, but that was the effect. I’ve found that decision making while pumped full of morphine is relatively easy.

    I would have preferred your route…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes! That was a bit dramatic wasn’t it, Andrew. But it’s a good way to get them to pay attention to you fast…

      So the ultrasound showed my gallbladder is doing just fine thank you. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. I was kind of hoping it would be something like that that is pretty easy to take care of. Oh well…more tests coming up in the next week. Oh joy.


  8. Ya know, these issues are most common in and/or only interesting to other people when they are observed in the very young or among us old farts. So far (knock wood/fingers crossed/any other superstitious actions to ward off evil spirits), I have been fortunate enough to mainly observe/experience vicariously through friends/relatives/loved ones/strangers vicariously through blogs I follow. Bottom line, I hope your issue is resolved without too much more undue pain/inconvenience, bearing in mind that it took my sister at least six months and 2-3 doctors, excluding her GP, to get there. I know that doesn’t sound too promising, but at least she reached a resolution, and throughout this process I had to remind her that doctors are only human beings who, like all the rest of us, do the best they can on any given day. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much!! And a great reminder about doctors and really all medical staff. I seem to have a good trajectory – more tests coming up in the next week. Hopefully, they can figure it out after I have them done. Yes, yes – minimal pain please! 😉

      I’m glad that your sister got things sorted out and that she didn’t give up until she got the help she needed. Hopefully she’s doing well now! Thanks again for your kind thoughts!


  9. I like PAs, better than doctors actually, but I doubt they can conduct surgery very well. I hope you can get your problem squared away quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile, stay of the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! And I’m purposely staying away from the Internet because it’s just too crazy with “it could be this” or “it could be that”. I think there is a time for gathering research to help you become more educated so you can be a better advocate for yourself, but not yet. Besides, right now I’m in the ignorance is bliss mode… More tests this week.


  10. Some 30 years of medical procedures and tests would make a person immune to embarrassment you would think (I’ve had two kidney transplants, been on dialysis and so on ). Oh not true, so I related to your post and laughed. You are a bolder writer than I.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVE that you laughed!! Thanks for letting me know!

      Boy – you have had lots of practice at this medical thing. I might need your advice as to how to navigate the “system” at some point… 🙂

      Yes – it’s difficult to write about such “delicate” matters, but since I go for the laughs, I just plowed right in. Again, glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, good humor is always good, especially when the subject is not so fun. I’ve had so many surgeries I need a zipper. My gallbladder surgery was back in the 80s when they did very long incisions, now I think it’s four little punctures. I prefer the advances of the medicine.

    I don’t know where you live but I would not be happy having to go through all you’ve gone through getting appointments and choosing doctors. Makes me very grateful for the easy access we have to treatment. It’s stressful enough to need medical attention without having to fight for appointments and drive all over town. I suppose your situation is more the norm than mine but I really would not like that. Bless you. I hope it’s soon resolved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Linda! I do too!

      So where do you live? Canada? I hear the health care system is really good up there! My friends in Ireland have great heath care as wel.

      I’m in the U.S. and our system sorta sucks. I’m very fortunate in that my husband has pretty good health care insurance. Not everybody is so lucky. I hate that there is such inequity in our heath care.

      And you are kind of on your own in trying to get care coordinated. It’s up to you to get things rolling and becomes kind of a crap shoot really. Not very comforting right?

      Thanks for the kudos on the post! And your kind thoughts!


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