Up until now, I have been able to get by with yearly visits to my cardiologist who would do blood work and take my blood pressure and my gynecologist who would do the pap and mammogram and also take my blood pressure. I also had a nurse who was very competent with triaging who worked in the school I worked at who was there every day of the school year. With no medical concerns or complaints (thank you, God and maybe my genetics!), I have had no need to visit a general practitioner who would do a breast exam, check my blood pressure and ask me a few questions, and so stopped years ago. But there is more, I probably really stopped going to a general doctor because of a nervous and maybe inept physician who very dramatically, sent me rushing in an ambulance to the ER for a heart arrhythmia (yes, it was a complicated one but I clearly was not having a heart attack as I had had the irregular heart beat for several weeks and I later found out that is not so unique around menopause!). That was several years ago. In fact, my last visit to that medical group was so long ago I now have to make a written request for my medical records that are archived by a special company!
Of course, and duh, as we age so do our medical team members (which was initially shocking to me) and this is an adjustment I just don't like to make. My beloved gynecologist died last year. 56 years old and she lost her battle with a rare cancer. Then my cardiologist retired last year, as well, looking like he had a stroke the last time we met. And, of course, I retired and so no longer have access to Dr. Nurse at my school. My little medical team is no more. Learning to embrace change and transition is my new personal goal. And so just yesterday, in preparation for retirement and for our trip, I finally went to meet a potential new doctor. I had read up on her and she came recommended by a friend. She's committed to preventative care and runs marathons (so she takes are of herself and others, which I like). Actually, the friend was recommended by my cardiologist but seemed a little awkward using your friend as your doctor and so I choose to see her colleague. I was ready to say, "Hello, yes, yes, but I don't really like you so I will try another doctor." This is one great thing about being older and wiser. I don't just accept what's in front of me. I take the option of reviewing everything and if it doesn't feel right, I choose to look elsewhere. But....she was smart and kind and calm and open to my questions and lists. She was also very.......young. I will call her Dr. Thirty Something.
As I left, happy to have a new doctor to "case manage" me as I age and give me advice about my health (get a shingles vaccine she advised me because I am over 60), but it was as an odd feeling looking at Dr. Thirty Something thinking, she might be tending to me on my death-bed (retirement has made me much more reflective about my mortality...and when did I start looking like my mother?), but then, again, at least she most likely won't die before me or retire in my lifetime!