Any sort of physical pain, whether sharp or dull, severe or slight, recent or chronic, actual or imagined, serious or funny, can only be ignored for so long before a person realizes it’s time to see a doctor. One of the worse things about doctor appointments, as far as I’m concerned, is the foolish questionnaires you inevitably have to fill out to theoretically help them diagnose your condition.
First, there is the list of medical questions about catastrophic diseases to which you must check “yes” or “no.” Have you ever had cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gout, body odor, halitosis or hangnail? You dutifully go down the list checking “no” beside each box and wonder if people with some of these conditions would really be able to fill out these forms.
Then they go on asking all about your pills, medications, and what sort of chemicals you are putting in your body. Accustomed to the prodding questions, I carry a list of medications, dosage, and how often I take them. Actually there are only three since they don’t count coffee or breath mints.
Any allergies? This is important because giving a medication that you are allergic to could cause you to end up leaving the office with a halo and wings. Thank goodness they don’t care about allergies like dust, pollen, mold and being allergic to watching football on TV.
Any surgeries? They love to ask about surgeries. Unfortunately, you can’t deny having been under the knife because your body carries the scars forever. I finally thought this all out one day, the best I could recall, and wrote it down under my list of medications. The year may not be right, but at least I will be consistently wrong without having to figure it out each time.
Finally, my favorite part, the nude drawing of a person on which you are supposed to mark where the pain is and what kind of pain, using x’s, o’s, arrows and such. The figure is, of course, devoid of any anatomical parts and is either a man or a bald woman. I wonder where you would put the x if the pain is in a private part. Fortunately, mine is not, so I dutifully mark the x’s and resist the urge to draw hair and earrings on the figure.
Eventually the nosey questions are all answered, your next of kin, emergency phone number, and whether you have a living will is marked. You wonder just what exactly it is that this doctor plans to do to do today that might require a living will and wish you had remembered to kiss your honey goodbye and say “I love you” to all your children, pets, and plants.
Now it wouldn’t be so bad if you could answer the questions once and be done with it, however, the entire process is repeated every place you go. If you are referred for X-rays or an MRI, you must answer the fifty questions again. By the end of the day I am putting “writer’s cramp” in the blank space for other diseases.
I wonder what would happen if I checked “yes “ to all the catastrophic diseases and gave my next of kin as Mickey Mouse? Actually, I don’t think it matters as long as you get the name of your insurance company right. I am fairly certain that no one ever reads or even looks at any of the other information that they ask for.
In spite of the surgeries I so carefully wrote down, the technician still asks, “Have you ever had any surgery?” And the first words out of the doctor’s mouth are always “Where does it hurt?” regardless of how carefully you have drawn x’s on the nude figure.
“Are you allergic to any drugs?” the doctor asks.
No, only to pain – and mountains of useless paperwork.