Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


New doctors = New mountains of paperwork

Saw a new doctor today. Gee, I forgot how much fun that is. Actually, I think I liked the doctor, but the initial office-entry phase is a pain in the neck. Anyone with multiple sclerosis or another chronic medical condition knows the drill.

Don’t you just love the flurry of fill-in-the-blank pages that fly at you, every time you enter a new medical specialist’s office?

“Please plan to come a few minutes early for your appointment to fill out some paperwork.”

Some paperwork?

“Don’t you people share information with each other?” I wanted to shout. “Can’t we sign some authorization form to allow you to transmit basic paperwork to one another?”

Seriously. I’ve filled out Job Applications that required less detail and repetition.

Wait. What’s that sound in the distant background?

That’s right. It’s the sound of 25 trees, falling to the ground to produce several more reams of 20# white bond for new patient medical files.

“Here ya go,” chirps the cheery receptionist, passing you a sturdy clipboard with a stack of sheets attached to it. That’s right. It was a two-handed pass. That’s how heavy the thing is.

If you are an MSer (like me), you maybe even cringe a bit, as you accept the heavy clipboard. Maybe your hands are cramping or tingling today. Either way, the first appointment paperwork is a tall order.

As you heft the weighty assignment, the receptionist reminds you that yet another copy of your current insurance ID is needed. So you wrestle your card from your wallet and hand it over.

You find a seat in the waiting room and pick up the logo-imprinted clicker pen, which (of course) doesn’t work. So you check your pockets for another one and begin scrawling down your private identity information on one form, two forms, three forms …

How many times can you write your own name, address, phone number, and next of kin in one sitting?

Then you flip through 34 pages of HIPAA laws and related disclaimers. At last, you sign the final sheet, just as the nurse or med tech calls your name.

What, are they watching you scribble in your answers, just to time their summons?

Is this freshman study hall, or what?

So you stand up and follow into the inner sanctum, where the initial exam takes place.

As you kick off your shoes and step onto the dreaded Physician Scale, or perhaps as you sit and endure the torture-tight Blood Pressure Cuff, the nurse or med tech asks you if you’ve experienced any new MS issues.

Well, as a matter of fact …

Can we just be honest here and add writer’s cramp to the regular list of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms?

 Adapted from public domain artwork

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