Tag Archives: Doctors

Some things ARE hard

Today marks the completion of nineteen years of life in our motor home. Nineteen years of seeing this beautiful country (and a bit of Canada too). Nineteen years of meeting the most amazing people and seeing God at work in ministries big and small. We’ve slept in every state except North Dakota and Hawaii (still waiting for that bridge) and visited most of our national parks. It’s been a grand and glorious adventure – totally unexpected in so many ways, yet never once have we doubted that we are right where God wants us to be. But still, some things ARE hard. Recently I had some first-hand experience with one of those ‘hard’ things.
Earlier this summer I noticed an unusual spot on my upper chest. It started small but over the course of a couple of weeks it continued to grow and it could no longer be ignored. I sent a photo to our primary care doctor who strongly suggested that I find a doctor and have it removed and tested. Ah – those ominous words “find a doctor”.
One of those Hard Things.
Step one – Call a local doctor, explain my situation, and ask for an appointment. “Well, we have to send you some paperwork since you’ll be a new patient. Once we get the paperwork back, we should be able to get an appointment for you in four-six weeks.” Nope. That wasn’t going to work since we’d be out of the area by then. She suggested I contact an urgent care center.
Step two – Locate the closest urgent care center and make an online appointment. They confirmed via text and asked why I was coming in. I explained that I had a cyst that my PCP wanted to have removed and tested. “Oh, we don’t do that,” was the quick reply. They kindly suggested that I go to an emergency room.
Now I have to say, this did not seem in any way shape or form to be an emergency room event to me. But early the next morning Gary and I headed off to the ER at a small hospital about 30 minutes away.
Step three – The ER. We were seen quickly and a young ER doctor examined my cyst. “Hmmmm…Let me talk to my surgeon friend.” She came back a few minutes later. “Can I take a picture of it?” Sure! Click, and off she goes. At her next appearance, she had an appointment card in her hand. “I’ve made you an appointment with a surgeon next week. He should be able to take care of this for you.”
Step four – Go to the surgeon the next week, fill out new patient info (again), and hope that maybe today will be the day the problem will be resolved. After a careful exam of the cyst, he feels he can better take care of the removal in his surgical center. Next week. Two days before we’re scheduled to leave the area.
Step five – Return to the hospital, get checked into the outpatient surgical unit, and wait patiently for the surgeon to arrive. He arrives, we chat, he numbs up the area, does the deed, and sends me home with instructions not to go swimming for 10 days.
Step six – Call the surgeon a week later (and 200 miles away)to see how the testing came out. As expected, it was a small squamous cell carcinoma, but all of the margins were clear and there is nothing further to be done. Except stay out of the sun, and have my regular doctor check it over in six weeks. That should be easier to accomplish since we try to swing by that way at least once a year.
So all is good. It was a Hard Thing – but not an Impossible Thing. The timing was close – but we received good care (even if it took a couple of extra steps!). No pictures this time. (You’re welcome.) I may not be wearing any V-neck tops for a while, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be back in the wardrobe rotation soon!

But hey – NINETEEN years!! How crazy is that!

August 1, 2004

The Family Doctor

Before we actually left the project last week (was it only last week???) we made a quick overnight trip to our Family Doctor.
Dr MikeLet’s face it. “Doctoring” is one of those life necessities that does not fit well with our mobile lifestyle.  Sure, there are Urgent Care facilities and Emergency Rooms just about everywhere for those urgent and emergency type events, but for your standard check-ups, routine tests and just plain having a primary care doctor that has some history with you, that has been a little tricky. Several years ago we approached my nephew (the doctor) about us becoming patients at his group practice.  You know, those once-a-year kind that occasionally will call with a question so you can tell them sternly to GO FIND A DOCTOR.  He agreed! Fortunately for us, he also has a lovely wife and four great kids that we totally enjoy visiting, so our annual Family Doctor visit often turns into a beautiful family affair. This year was no different. In fact, this year was quite spectacular! Not only did we fit in all the necessary check-ups, blood work and mammogram (all came back with good reports, thank you, LORD!) but Gary was able to do a follow-up with a pulmonary specialist to make sure he was doing all he could to control his asthma.  All good on that front too! But of course the best part was not only did we get to see the good doctor’s beautiful family, but his sister Abby came over with her 5 littles (not so little, most of them, but a new addition we hadn’t met yet!), AND my sister and hubby also showed up for the afternoon.  We laughed and played games and with so many cousins around (and a trampoline in the backyard) we even had a couple of minutes for adult conversations!! What we didn’t do was take any pictures of all the fun! Finally, as the Maryland cousins were getting ready to head home and everyone seemed to be clustered in the hallway, Abby pulled out her phone and documented the day!
That’s not all of us, but it’s a good representative crew!
Good doctor reports blended in with good family visits. Ah, the beauty of it all!

PS – About the header photo – so few pictures were taken,  I had to grab one from our visit there back in 2018! We did not have Lizzie the RV with us this trip – she stayed put back at Potomac Park!

FAQ #12 – What about going to the Doctor??

I have to be honest here – “doctoring” is one of the more challenging parts of our mobile life. We do have a primary care physician/family practice in PA, and we do our best to get there once a year for annual check-ups, mammograms, and blood work. Thankfully, those visits are delightfully routine. “Everything looks good, see you in a year!” So we keep up to date on screening tests, shots, and those wonderful Medicare questions – “Are you happy?” “Do your stairs have railings?” etc. We have that end of our healthcare covered. (Plus we get to combine those doctor visits with a visit with my nephew (one of the doctors in the practice 🙂 )and his sweet family. It’s all good.

If we’re just plain sick and feel like we need to see a doctor, then it’s off to the Urgent Care we go. The down side of that is that we’re always a New Patient, so we’re starting from scratch with all our medical and family history. Generally speaking, we have to be REALLY sick to chose to go that route. Like kidney stone sick.

The biggest problem comes when a routine medical visit requires some type of specialist follow-up. This past November Gary and I went to the Optometrist at Costco (near Atlanta, GA) for our regular eye exams. Not unexpectedly, our prescription had changed and new glasses were in order.
But then she threw me a loop when she said she wanted me to see an ophthalmologist because she felt that I had “narrow angles” which could lead to glaucoma and even blindness. Yikes!! I called the recommended eye care practice, and they said they could fit me in in February. Nope. That wasn’t going to work.
When we got to our January location I ran into the same problem. The light bulb finally went off and I called in early February to get an appointment at an eye center near our March project. With that lined up, the only glitch was going to be if something needed to happen (like a laser treatment of some kind) AFTER that initial exam.

I had my exam on Monday and thankfully, the good doctor thought my angles (whatever they are!) looked just fine! Phew! He gave me a thorough exam, said no follow-up treatment was needed and that he would see me next year. I let him know that he probably wouldn’t see me in a year (who knows where we’ll be next March), but thanked him heartily for the good report. It feels good to have that little optical concern behind us.

Gary and I have been blessed with relatively good health for two almost 70 year old folks. We don’t take that for granted.  But we know all of that could change in a flash. Thankfully, even though we generally move every 3-4 weeks, if some type of specialty care is required we can rearrange our lives to accommodate that.  We also are often in contact with local folks who can make recommendations.  But still…..dealing with medical issues while traveling around the country isn’t our favorite thing!

Just trying to keep it real, friends!

Getting to the Heart of the matter

Well, it might be the lungs. We don’t actually KNOW it’s the heart, but it might be. Or it could be. And we need to know!

Earlier this spring Gary began to notice that his asthma was becoming more and more a nuisance. He’d have to pull out his rescue inhaler several times a day as he found himself more and more often short of breath. You know it had to be a concern to him when HE suggested that we contact our family doctor to see about seeing a pulmonary doctor. Our GP (also our nephew, so that helps in these situations!), lined up an appointment pretty quick and off we went to see what we could see. And learn what we could learn.
What we learned was that the lung guy didn’t want to do anything in the asthma realm until any cardiac issues could be ruled out. Seems that when you combine shortness of breath with some chest heaviness and a bit of family history (we’ve been told that Gary’s birth father died of a heart attack in his early 50’s), all kinds of cardiac red flags start waving.
SO – we went back to our favorite GP (that cute nephew) and he ran some preliminary tests – EKG, chest X-Ray, and blood work. When all of those turned out to be normal (phew), he sent us home to find a cardiologist closer to where we’re parked to try and figure out just what is going on.
Miraculously, we were able to get an appointment with a well-respected cardiologist yesterday! (I know, that’s crazy fast, right?). The consultation went well, a second EKG came back normal, and a nuclear stress test along with a echo-cardiogram were ordered. The first of those will be on this Friday. Again – crazy fast!

To say that this last week has had a different trajectory than we expected would be an understatement. But oh, the way the LORD has taken care of us and blessed us these last couple of days has been amazing!

  • Dr. Mike (my nephew) was right on top of Gary’s symptoms, and got everything started to get answers.
  • Along with the pulmonary specialist (who had an opening just a day after we called!),  we also got to visit with our nephew and his sweet family.  We love those guys!
  • Since we were already ‘south’, we stopped in for a quick overnight with my sister and her dear husband.  Love me some sister time!
  • Once we returned to Montrose, we spoke to a local doctor and he was able to get us that SAME DAY appointment with a cardiologist.  Oh My!
  • Nothing so far has indicated a critical heart issue. But with the symptoms, we want to cover as many bases as possible.  When all is said and done, we might just end up looking at that asthma diagnosis again. But until we get the all clear, we’re ever so grateful for everyone’s prayers and concerns. We’re giving God all the Glory for His gracious care of us.
  • We even were blessed with a beautiful sunset on the way home!

Great is your faithfulness, Oh God our Father!