As much as I don’t like going to the doctor, I knew this was something I needed to address. I already had an appointment with my PCP in June but I certainly didn’t want to wait that long. I had a trip planned to Greece at the end of May so I needed to be healthy for that.
I called my PCP’s office and to no great surprise, there were no openings prior to my already-scheduled appointment in June. Instead, the patient care coordinator offered me an appointment with something called “Rapid Care,” which to me sounded like urgent care but with an appointment. She had an opening the following day.
[Quick sidebar: Urgent care definitely has its place. But because people can’t get appointments with their primary care doctor, people have no choice but to go to urgent care (or the ER) when it’s not always appropriate to do so. My issues with this are a) there’s no continuity of care; it’s express-lane medicine. Sometimes that’s fine; it might hold you over until your PCP appointment 3 months from now. But often they’re only treating your symptoms and not the underlying cause. Hopefully it’s not something serious while you wither and age waiting to see your PCP. Also, b) why should I have to pay more for urgent care when it’s not my fault I can’t get in to see my PCP? Urgent care visits should cost LESS than a PCP visit. They spend far less time with you and provide less care, and they’re often staffed with PAs and NPs, who are less expensive than physicians. Yet my copay is more.
Okay that wasn’t really a quick sidebar.]
I saw a nurse practitioner (despite what I said above, as a general rule, I love NPs!). She recommended running labs, which I expected, and also told me I was pre-diabetic, and had been since 2015! This was news to me, at least in the clinical sense. I am addicted to sugar, was overweight, and my entire family is diabetic, so it wasn’t THAT big of a surprise, but this was the first time a provider told me this information—and it was 2019, four years after the initial diagnosis, and I was just hearing about it. Granted, I hadn’t really paid attention to test results and such online like I do now (I pretty much obsess over it now), but this is another fallout from the lack of continuity of care. Doctors leave, the new ones don’t follow up with the patients, patients get disgusted with having to see yet another new doctor, so they don’t follow up either. It’s a cycle that benefits no one. It’s true—google it.
The message I got back from the NP wasn’t particularly alarming; I was anemic. My red blood cell count was low as was my iron. My hemoglobin was 9.4; the low normal for women is 12. Again, I wasn’t terribly surprised. I’ve never been much of a meat eater, which is what I thought you needed to eat to get iron in your system. Well, that and spinach; I also don’t eat spinach! But I picked up some iron supplements along with some iron-fortified cereal (I do love cereal!) and started taking those daily. By my calculations, I was now getting about twice the daily amount of iron I needed. Great! No big deal. I’ve headed this off at the pass, right? Oh I wish.