Monday, May 3, 2010
The Dreaded Yearly Check Up
I am not sure why I view it with such trepidation - I've never had a particularly bad experience or menacing news from my doctor- but I still would prefer to not go. The visit always involves something uncomfortable and violating, which we are taught to view as necessary to monitor our health...and I am not just talking about the physical part of the exam.
The first step in the appointment is to get weighed. No comments are made about my weight...it is jotted down quickly and we move on to get my height. Yes, I am still short. That has not changed in the last year. My blood pressure and temperature are measured, and I appreciate that the nurse tells me what these are and that they are normal.
When the doctor finally comes in she asks me how I have been eating, drinking, and exercising, even though I already wrote these pieces of information on the yearly update form when I first arrived. I do not know if I am projecting, but I get the impression that my doctor is hoping I have no concerns and that I just say I'm being healthy. Don't get me wrong, I like my doctor. She doesn't pry too much and is matter of fact about what she does. It is possible that some people feel more able to tell their doctors when something is concerning or that they need help with their eating or exercising. I do not, however, feel that able to share this with someone who I see once a year and I know is in a hurry to get to her next patient.
I thought about this and realize that for a lot of people the primary care doctor is the only regular access to someone who may be able to help in this area. That is what your doctor is there for! So forget about the other patients that may be waiting and look out for yourself. Ask for a referral to someone who may be more able to spend the time with you or ask your doctor what she knows. My visit next year may be longer, but at least I will have more control in what occurs.