Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crazy, invasive medical histories

My health care provider system decided it needed a new format for medical histories. Before I could see my oncologist for my check-up last month, I was asked to fill out this this 6 page, small type opus. One page was devoted to the health histories of my relatives: the 4 grandparents, a space for a paternal aunt and a paternal uncle, a space for a maternal uncle and aunt and of course my parents.  I asked what would happen if I had more than one maternal aunt and uncle, which is the case. They offered more sheets. What do I know about their health anyway?  Missing were questions about my own children, the health histories which I  at least, have some familiarity with. Wouldn't the health history of my children be more pertinent than that of my aunts' and uncles'? They listed at least 50 conditions that these people could possibly have. I just drew lines in the I don't know columns. The only thing I thought they needed to know is that my mom and aunt had breast cancer too. And this same aunt had had Graves' Disease as I had.

They wanted to know about my drug use, which was in a separate category as medications that I am currently on.  If I were taking illegal drugs, would I admit to it on this form? The same goes for questions about my sexual many and of what sex.

Every time I get a mammogram, I am asked when did I first  and last get a period and how long did I breast feed. In the past few years, I have had at least 8 mammograms. I doubt that they ever even read the answers to their questions. All they really need to know is whether I am pregnant.

They also have some form for me to indicate what medications I am on and whether I need a refill. Once I answered, why yes I DO need a refill for my Prilosec. She, the oncology radiologist, refused to give it to me. She said that for all she knew I could be gathering multiple scripts from various physicians  This is for a drug that I needed as a direct result for cancer treatment (Adriamycin shredded my stomach lining) that has zero abuse potential. It is also available over the counter but it is cheaper if I have a prescription for it.

Anyway, that annoyed me being accused of being a Prilosec abuser.

I am assuming that it will be some person's job to input all this data, which I very scantily provided, into their database.

My favorite invasive question of all times was one asking of my 'frequency of sexual intercourse'. I left this blank as I could not see any reason that they would need to know this. This was way back when I was 18 trying to obtain birth control  pills at the UM's Health Service. I was not yet an adult (that would happen on Jan 1, 1972: I would still be 18 but the law changed). I had severe menstrual cramps that would incapacitate me. I had read in my grandfather's medical journals that birth control pills would get rid of them but I thought if I told them that, no pills for me. Th doctor ended up asking me in person. I replied that I didn't see why that was important. She said that BC pills would not be appropriate for those who who only occasionally had sex. I then said that given that I do not have BC pills, I haven't been able to actually calculate an accurate "sexual frequency". But maybe, if I had them, I could acquire an acceptable baseline of sexual activity.

  Please just give me the pills.
They worked. No more cramps. No more dreading each month afraid that I would be experiencing end stage labor, which is what it occasionally felt like. I took them until I was trying to get pregnant with Shanna. I experienced only one more bad set of cramps. After the babies, ibuprofin took care of any cramps. Too bad it wasn't available when I was in high school. A lot of misery could have been averted.

I just read that a UM worker's computer was stolen containing many unsecured patient histories.

It is snowing hard. The city never got around to cleaning up after the Xmas Eve snow so I didn't run yesterday. I found a neighborhood near me that has private roads that had been cleared. Not a pleasant run with the 35 mph gusts and icy patches but I felt good when it was done this morning.

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