There’s a child’s game that’s really quite simple called Musical Chairs. The children gather in a circle around a bunch of chairs. Music plays, and the children march in a circle around those chairs. When the music stops suddenly in the middle of a song, everyone rushes to sit in a chair. The catch is, there are fewer chairs than children, and whoever doesn’t get a chair is out of the game. (Each time someone leaves the game, more chairs are removed from the circle.) So you always wonder who will get a chair and who will be left standing.
That’s how my calendar went with doctor appointments last week. I called it Musical Doctors.
When you see many specialists, and each require multiple checkups and followups each year, sooner or later this kind of thing is bound to happen. For me, the game started this time when I needed to make an appointment. A few days before I’d been thinking thinking about how nice it was not to have any doctor appointments lately, how much less stressful it felt, how much more time and energy I had. Then I tried to make an appointment and discovered why I’d been enjoying a blissful break in the doctor hecticness: they were all piled up in March and April! In 3 weeks I had 5 appointments scheduled, with 2 more a couple weeks after that. I often have appointments grouped together coincidentally, but 5 in 3 weeks is a lot, even for me! And suddenly I was scheduling a sixth! It wasn’t easy fitting that sixth one into my schedule, but I made it work.
I was dreading the 6 appointments in 3 weeks. It was overwhelming just thinking about it! But then I took a closer look at my calendar and realized I had an unfortunate conflict. The appointment with the hardest doctor to schedule, Dr. T, happened to conflict with a support group I’m in that means a lot to me. Not only that, but this was a special meeting of the group. It had taken me 6 months to get this appointment. The last time it took me 8 months to get an appointment. Still, I called the office and asked to be put on the cancellation list, just in case.
But I wasn’t putting all my eggs in that basket! I emailed Dr. T and explained the situation. I was clear that I would keep this appointment if I had to, but if it was at all possible to move the appointment, even if it meant waiting a few more weeks, I’d really like to do that. A few days later, I got a call from his office. They offered me another time slot, and I was so excited. But when I pulled out my calendar, I saw that I already had an appointment that day. This was the only day they could offer me. The other doctor, Dr. C, is also hard to schedule, but not as hard as Dr. T. Technically I had time to do both the same day, but I knew I would haven’t have the energy for both. I figured I’d take my chances. I took the new appointment. Now I could go to my support group!
Ok, it was time to call Dr. C. She was booking into July (and this was mid-March.) I could wait if I had to, but it wasn’t ideal. But wait, they’d had a cancellation later in April! This would mean seeing Dr. C the day before seeing another doctor, Dr. H, and each involves a lot of driving. Still, it seemed like the best possible option. I took it.
It was an odd set of coincidences, but somehow it seems to have worked out. My biannual dental appointment, my quarterly rheumatology checkup, my annual determatology checkup, and several followups all just happened to fall in the same 3 weeks. Such is life when you have multiple chronic illnesses.
After some juggling, each doctor is now in a time slot. And who’s “out” like in the game? I’m not sure, but I think it’s me.