New patient paperwork. The very idea of it gives me a tummy ache that I probably should see a specialist for. How is it in this day and age we don’t all have a secret little online portal where we simply sign a paper, one little bitty signature line, giving our doctors, doulas, psychics, shamans, waiters, etc., full access to whatever they need?
I have jumped through the necessary hoops and registered online so that I can see my test results, list of current medications and complete health history going back to the not very funny thing that happened to me in college, so why can’t I just sign a piece of paper letting someone else see it? And then, why can’t those designated viewers of my entirety of my physical existence have at it? View away!
Too many questions…mine and theirs. For example, why do I have to put my name at the top of every page and why do I have to write in all the insurance info and also give them my card so they can make a copy? I know that copy is going into my file. If there’s two files, make two copies. How many times do I have to ask a medical receptionist, “Is the group number the same as the I.D. number?” with a tilt of my head like a confused beagle? When I say, “There have been no changes to my insurance, ever,” why does the receptionist reply, “I still need to make a copy?”
As Jed said every dang day, “What in tarnation is going on.”
Recently, it was my husband’s turn to go to a new doctor. I printed out the seven-page new patient health history packet and handed it to him. He was sweating. I assured him that I would help him every step of the way.
It was sorta smooth sailing on the first page, after he figured out which one the first page actually was after the printer spit them all out onto the floor. And then he got waaaay under the hood. Because of HIPAA, I can’t actually divulge some of his questions, or the people associated with them. But I can provide an excerpt of our conversation that has been heavily redacted, or made up, your choice.
“Why isn’t it asking me for my name on the first page?”
“Let me see…Well, because you aren’t on page 1. They’re out of order. Put them in order.”
“Okay. Have I been diagnosed by any doctors with anything?”
“What about that little bump behind your ear they shaved off? What was that called?”
“That wasn’t a bump.”
“Ya it was, it was like a flat bump. From the sun.”
“It was a 2mm patch.”
“Ok, pick whatever synonym you want, but something went bye-bye. All I remember is that it wasn’t the bad kind, it was the ‘probably-should-be-removed-but-nothing-to-worry-about’ kind of thingy.”
“Okay, anything else?”
“You have a harder than average noggin. I’ll bet someone has told you that.”
“I’m trying to finish this.”
“No. You’re healthy as a horse.”
“I’m nervous about being healthy.”
“Right. Nowhere to go but down.”
“What about my (insert relative’s name) problem with (insert issue)?
“That’s not ‘significant.’ But go ahead and mention that. It’ll be funny.”
My last words to him as he trudged through the door were, “If you get asked questions that you know you’ve already answered in the packet, you still need to give a verbal; they probably don’t even look at that packet. And you need to ask questions. If you come home and tell me you didn’t talk, I’m going to be really upset. Use your words.”
Always the supportive wife.