In 2019, I found a lump and obviously freaked out. I was able to get answers within 48 hours and was told to follow up every two years rather than wait until I am 40. When 2021 rolled around, I was stonewalled by a local breast cancer center despite advertisements for self-referrals and the need for preventative screenings. Apparently there was a disconnect in the marketing department because I actually needed a doctor to refer me.
Long story short, I currently don’t have a PCP. I asked a specialist that I see and she told me to self-refer. I tried again, but no. Fast forward to 2022, I still haven’t had a follow-up mammogram but every month I self-exam and I have more concerns than ever. I called again and just said incredulously, “tell me how to get this done.” A very kind scheduling coordinate pulled some strings and I finally got an appointment. Thankfully, I’m all clear.
I’m grateful to the scheduling coordinator but here is the thing – why the fuuuuuuuck do women have to lobby so hard for their physical and mental health? I have excellent health insurance, but I would pay cash. Take my money. I just want to know one way or the other. From an outsider’s perspective it feels like hospitals use mammogram screening (something that EVERY woman needs) to make sure that their PCPs have patients. Whether or not that’s true, it’s feels like the facilities create barriers. The reason I don’t have a PCP is that my PCP moved and I looking for a PCP that I trust, but just some random provider.
Call my a hypochondriac, but I don’t have health insurance so that I can get sick and get treatment. I have very good, very expensive health insurance that my firm pays for so that I can avoid getting sick and/or minimize sickness. It isn’t lost on me that millions of Americans have woefully inadequate health insurance or none and this issues is all the more magnified for them.
We (women especially) are truly at the mercy of providers. It’s shouldn’t be hard to get diagnostic testing especially when you just know you need to make sure everything is ok. I will never forget being in pre-term labor being told that I was 32 weeks and if I was 33 weeks they wouldn’t even stop [the preterm labor] and to go back to bed. The blazé attitude of providers like, “if you’re really sick, it’s fine we can treat you,” is incredibly frustrating for laypeople. Furthermore it erodes any trust that I have in a provider.
I don’t want to be so sick that I cannot continue to work and pay for the aforementioned health insurance. I need my healthcare providers to jump on board with the idea of wellness and prevention. When I tell you I want a diagnostic exam just make the damn referral. Rant over.