There was a board game marketed to girls back in the 60’s that resurfaced again in the 90’s, and that’s when I met Mystery Date. It was a silly game where you tried to assemble an outfit for a date and then you opened the little plastic door to see if your outfit matched that of the Mystery Date guy. (For example: if you had assembled the “beach” outfit and opened the door to reveal the guy dressed for a “formal dance,” you lost … the game, and also 20 minutes of your life to this stupid, sexist game.)
But Mystery Date popped into my head for a reason. Since having my son, I’ve been working to wean myself off the Boston-based care team in pursuit of more hyper-local providers (and because I loathe the arrival/departure board at Joslin). The promise of pregnancy now the past, I don’t feel the same push to make the long ass drive to Boston in order to meet my medical needs. So in the last few weeks, I’ve been working to assemble a new, short-drive team of healthcare providers. I currently have new appointments with an OB/Gyn, a primary care doctor, and am gently shopping for a new endocrinologist. (I plan to keep seeing the team at Boston to track my existing eye complications, as I don’t want that crap going off the rails.)
Finding new providers is kind of like Mystery Date. I spend a lot of time combing my insurance company’s website to see who is covered by my plan, then calling those HCPs to see if they are taking new patients, and then getting all of my records shipped from previous providers to the new team. Then I open the little plastic … I mean, the regular-sized medical office door to see if what I’ve assembled matches what’s being provided.
Finding a new healthcare provider is similar to starting a relationship. There’s this slightly awkward breaking in period where you are both getting to know one another, and then either the confirmation that, yes, personalities and needs are lining up or NO WAY expectations are way maligned. For me, I crave a personal relationship with my healthcare team, one that the healthcare system barely makes room for. Being treated as a whole person provides the best health outcomes for me; it’s important for my team to see my health concerns in the context of real life.
Otherwise, it’s like showing up dressed for the BIG SKI TRIP only to see that your healthcare professional is more into a romantic picnic. Or worse … the experience goes full DUD.