I don't know things. I don't know how things work.
Because I look like everyone else and I sound like everyone else, I tend to get a lot of quizzical looks back when I get stumped by something ordinary.
The pharmacist tonight was a case in point. Every question she asked seemed to get a weird response from me (or so I thought it seemed to her). I dunno. It was just so clear that I was not a typical client.
I say all of this as a preface to describing my experience with the neurologist today.
Skittles has migraines, you see (so does The Spouse and so do I). My regular course of treatment (over-the-counter ibuprofen-type products) has resulted in ulcers and general stomach issues for her.
Which is bad, because the Kid Advil/Motrin/Panadol/Whatever seems to work for her.
The best medicine I've come across for her was a liquid product I used to buy in Spain. It cost about $3 for a big bottle, which lasted forever, and she seemed to get relief from it.
But it upset her stomach.
And I haven't been to Spain recently.
I talked to the Family Practitioner at our French Medical "Centre" across the street from our apartment in Moscow, and all she could really tell me was to get another MRI-type scan done ("Just in case") and to look for a neurologist.
So, of course, I put the whole thing off until it was time to come to the US, thinking I'd just pop in to see a specialist here.
Long story short, of course this is not how things work here. But I had forgotten.
I needed a referral. But I don't have a primary care physician here. I could find one (or maybe ask the French doctor in Moscow to deal with it for me), but that just made my head swim.
So I asked my sister-in-law.
She's a dentist.
She was happy to deal with the on-line form for me.
So we did this.
And then I got a call from the hospital.
Telling me that the first available appointment was not until October.
But my good karma paid off. I asked if there was a waiting list for cancellations and the nice woman on the phone said no, but, coincidentally, she had just received notice of a cancellation.
Which resulted in an appointment for today.
Between that call and today, I received one mailing, one phone call from a real person, and at least two automated calls from the hospital. Some of this involved getting background health and insurance information from me. But the message I came away with was IF YOU ARE LATE, WE MAY HAVE TO RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!
They really drove this point home.
So much so, that I slept badly last night, woke early, and arrived at the office 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled appointment.
I was worried that there would be additional testing that I would be unable to schedule before we return to Moscow at the end of August.
I was worried that the doctor would not grasp my situation and be weird about the fact I was showing up without a proper referral or medical records or a US-based primary care provider.
I was worried that whatever he suggested would not be feasible in Moscow.
It turned out that all of this was unnecessary. It was the consultation of my dreams. But I didn't know it would work out that way.
We did have to wait for the doctor (beyond our scheduled appointment time), but once he was in the room with us, he was in no hurry. He spent a long time examining Skittles and then talking to me.
He had a great manner with kids and a reassuring manner with Nervous-Nelly mothers.
He suffers from migraines himself, so he understands.
He said everything I wanted to hear ("Here are some tactics for dealing with/identifying triggers, here is an Rx, and she does not need any additional testing. if this drug does not work for her, and it might not, call or email and I'll write you another Rx."). He must have talked to us for over an hour.
I did not realize the level of stress I had been carrying all day until the appointment was over and it suddenly lifted.
My effusiveness was probably a little over-the-top.
But I was so relieved.
Unfortunately, Skittles had a headache tonight before I had the chance to fill the Rx. I ended up taking it to a drug store, but I can't collect it before 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. She is sleeping peacefully now, so no real harm done.
But I was sorry we did not have a chance to try the new medicine. I am very eager to see if it helps her.
After all, that is the whole point.