Thursday, April 03, 2008

stay healthy!

Today I had a new experience in the US: seeing a doctor. It all started a few months ago, when I was feeling particularly tired and was gaining a lot of weight. Now I don`t feel that tired any more and I am trying my est with the gym and the ice skating. Plus, let`s not forget about my strolls! I walk at leasto 25-30 minutes every day! Some days I walk much more than that :) It is ironic that I find myself walking so much in a country where people hardly know what pedestrians are :P (it`s not a criticism! It`s sort of true...). However, it seems that it doesn`t matter the effort I`m putting into losing weight gets higher and higher.

This, together with other strange symptoms I've been experiencing, made me want to try to see a doctor. At first, I wanted to try a basic doctor, which is what here they call "internal medicine doctor". However, at the end, after scheduling and canceling several appointments, I went to see an endocrinologist - the doctor who is specialized in metabolism, thyroid and diabetes diseases. personally, I do have a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism, to be precise) , and this eventually may affect my metabolism. So, here are the steps to go and see a doctor in the US:

1. have an insurance (you don`t want to pay for the whole thing by yourself, trust me on that)

2. find what doctors your insurance can provide you with.

3. call the doctor and schedule an appointment.

4. confirm the appointment 24 hours before.

5. Go to your appointment earlier. On the phone, they suggest "to allow yourself some time for the paper work". I tell you: go way before your appointment. It took me half an hour to fill in all the paperwork! This is the US, where everybody sues anybody about anything! That`s why all the policies (that consists in 10 sheets of paper in the least) need to be written, read and signed.

6. Be sure to take a book with you. Personally, I hate waiting, specially at the dentist or doctor because on the walls they always have these posters on the diseases they deal with and their symptoms. These posters have very bad effect on me and they soon make me feel pretty uneasy. The fact is I have a tendency to hypochondrias, so that when I read about a disease and its symptoms, i`m soon convinced I have the disease myself. Having a book while in the waiting room helps me to keep my mind focused on something else.

7. I didn`t have to wait a long time (unlike in Italy or Brazil), the nurse soon took my pressure, measured my height, and made me step on the scale (gosh!! as I told you, I didn`t have any pleasant surprises). A few minutes passed by and the doctor came and had a look at my thyroid, my reflexes, my heart, and all this sort of things that doctors always do.

8. In the doctor`s office, then, we had the anamnesis, or medical history, where you get to talk to the doctor about what you are feeling. This is the best part, because at the end you can also talk a little bit. As I walked in, I saw he was drinking Lavazza coffee, and soon we were talking about his Italian teacher and the origins of his last name (Lithuanian, by the way, just like my host dad). However, my medical hostory didn`t really help much and the real results will come after my bloodwork is done.

9. This is the best part: they collected my blood on the spot, at the very practice, by the very nurse that welcomed me at the beginning! This is why the US are so effective...I can complain about many many things, but in terms of efficiency they really are impressive! This way, i don`t have to worry about a thing but coming back the next week! Isn`t this amazing?

10. Schedule your next appointment (if needed) at the front desk :)

You see? Wasn`t it easy? I was really really worried at the beginning...but now I`m very relaxed! Also, my insurance is paying for everything...:)

1 comment:

Emmanuele said...

I think i should go to a doctor too, because i'm putting on weight in spite of my running and other exercises...but thinking about the healt care system here in Italy i prefer to run more and more..and more! Probably i'll resolve my issues faster than seeing a doc...and believe me, i know them very well...ehheeh... :P