Except, it's gotten a wee bit more complicated.
I have seen the same doctor, my "primary care doctor" - a osteopathic physician - for the last 14 years. After my exam, I had an EKG and the 'standard battery' of blood work and urinalysis.
He has sent me to the same nurse practitioner for the last 13 years who takes a pap smear every year and refers me out for my annual mammography.
I have seen the same endocrinologist for the past two years, referred to, of course, by my primary physician.
This year, since it's been eight years since the last testing, he also referred me for bone density study as well as a gastroenterologist for (say it ain't so, but oh no, it is) colonoscopy.
And, this year, I have acquired an orthopedic specialist, since I have either torn a rotator cuff in my left shoulder or have an acute case of tendonitis (let me tell you something: being 'in good shape' ain't all it's cracked up to be).
I'll have an MRI on the 28th when I see the specialist and we'll know how to proceed. Meanwhile, my chiropractor, whom I see every week for an adjustment on my lower back is treating my shoulder with electro-stim and hydroculator packs three times a week. I'm feeling slow improvement, but it still hurts like hell.
I'll have my last acupuncture treatment for allergies on Monday which has been highly successful - just a wee bit of sneezing, two episodes of slight wheezing, and one morning of itchy eyes, but other than that, all is well.
I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing in order to stay healthy - "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and all that - but I gotta tell ya, it begins to feel just a tad narcissistic after about the second week of this.
And suddenly, it takes two to three weeks to get it all done, where it once took one day - an hour visit in the office - and that was that.
Now, it's "annual" this and "every five to ten years" that and "well, orthopedic surgeons now specialize in hips and knees and ankles vs. shoulders, elbows and wrists".
Are you kidding me? Really?
It sometimes feels as if it's all gotten a bit out of control - or, perhaps, specialization is an indication of better control.
Some days, I'm not sure.
Here's one incident that took me completely by surprise - to my delight.
So, my usual NP OB/GYN person was out on sick leave when I called to make my annual appointment. Turns out, she had a carpal tunnel thingy that got complicated in surgery and was not yet back to work. She was there on the day of my visit, but I saw her associate and afterward, she and I "visited" in her office for 10 minutes - just to catch up.
You know, 'girl talk' and all that. Hey, it's only once a year. Gimme a break.
But, when I was in with her colleague, who was really cracker-jack, she also did a very thorough history as well as physical.
"Do you drink alcoholic beverages?" "Yes."
"How often and how much." "Oh, depends on the time of year. Now that the Spring is here and into the summer, probably a glass of wine or two, maybe one or two times a week. During the winter? Maybe a glass of scotch on a Sunday night or once a month after a tough Vestry meeting. Or two scotches, if it's been particularly difficult and we've talked more about buildings and grounds than mission and ministry."
"Excuse me?" "Umm . . . church talk . . . never mind."
"Do you smoke?" "Well, it depends. If I'm stressed. If something wonderful has happened. If someone has a pack and makes an offer . . . . "
She frowned, looked over her glasses and said, "Do I have to make you write on the board 100 times, 'Smoking is bad for my health'?"
"Okay, okay, okay."
"Hmm . . . you have been in a relationship for 34 years, is that right?" "Yes."
"Are you monogamous?" "Yes."
"Is she?" "Far as I know."
And then this, right out of left field: "Has anyone said or done anything to you that has made you feel uncomfortable or threatened or hurt?"
"Why, no. No. I mean, you mean, like, well, domestic abuse or violence?"
"Yes. Physical or verbal. At home or at work or in your family or among your circle of friends?"
"No. . . But, wait . . . You know? . . . Thanks for asking."
"Of course. Thanks for not reacting badly. You would be amazed how many 'suburban housewives' I get in here who are really insulted and upset. Some have filed a written complaint. Makes me wonder why they are reacting so badly."
And then, I did. React badly. I started to get all verklempt, remembering the time, oh, way back when, when it really would have been important for someone - anyone - to have asked me questions like that."
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yes," I said. "I was just remembering when I wished - hoped, prayed - that someone had asked me those questions. . . You know?"
"Yes," she said, "Yes, in fact, I do. Which is why it's so important for me to ask the questions. You know? Because, 'way back then' even if we DID ask the questions, and we wanted to, we couldn't. Or, if we had, it wouldn't have made much difference because no one would have done anything about it anyway. You know?"
"Yes," I said, "I know only too well. Hey, thank you."
Maybe specialization is a good thing. Maybe we need to see different people for different things who'll ask different questions and not make assumptions.
Which reminds me - if you haven't read Ann Fontaine's brilliant piece on clergy misconduct in The Episcopal Church, please read it now. You can find it here.
G'won. Read it. Whether you need to or not.