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.