It’s Not a Toomah!

I don’t usually make doctor’s appointments, but after nearly a week of persistent, crushing headaches, I gave in. I work in an industry that requires a fully operating brain, so something had to be done.

The appointment started like any other — height, weight, a litany of questions about my lifestyle, family history, and brief summary of what I’d been experiencing. The nurse quietly took notes, showed little concern, and then left to get the doctor.

If it's my brain we're focused on, I'm not concerned about quick doctor's appointments. Let's do it right.

The doctor, a petite Eastern European woman who could use a cheeseburger in her life, came in and repeated back to me everything I’d told the nurse. She had great reading skills. I’ll give her that much.

From there, she asked more detailed questions about my headaches — frequency, location, sensation, possible triggers and so forth. She examined my ears, my eyes, my throat, my glands and concluded I was experiencing migraines. She couldn’t have been more sure.

I’ve had migraines before. I remember back in sixth grade, squinting at a whiteboard from the back of the classroom when the words suddenly became fuzzy. The teacher called on me to read the board, but I told her I couldn’t see. You know that spot you see after looking at the sun? That aura? As my migraine came on, an aura blurred my vision to the point of blindness. A friend helped me to the office where I unloaded a bowl of Cheerios in the nurse’s bathroom. The only cure was sleep.

Nothing I’ve experienced in the past week has been nearly as intense as a migraine, so I was a bit troubled by the hasty diagnosis. Not only that, I was prescribed Imitrex, which isn’t exactly Oxycodone, but I don’t like being prescribed drugs on a hunch. I was also given a migraine treatment plan, which was more like a diary. Each day, I’m supposed to record headaches, their severity, what may have triggered them, what I did to treat them, and so forth.

So, when all is said and done, I left with an Imitrex prescription (20 pills/$66) and a diary.

The No. 1 scare tactic opponents use when arguing against universal health care is the quickness of treatment. You’ll be in the waiting room for hours! Yesterday, I was in, out and done in 30 minutes. When it comes to my health, I don’t want a quick appointment. Trust me, I’ll make time. I want certainty, and I’m willing to wait for. Draw some blood. Swab something. Take some urine, at least. If it turns out something’s truly wrong, let’s tackle it. If I check out fine, hey, I’ll leave a tip with my co-pay.

When I got back to the office from my appointment, a co-worked asked, “What if they told you that you can’t drink coffee anymore?”

That’s about the time my headaches started going away.

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