“What’s a Girl Gotta Do to Get a Pap Around Here?”

TracySorry guys this is a girlfriends gab session today, you might want to blog off, I promise I will make it up to you with a nice manly post soon.  The dreaded “Papanicolaou” otherwise known as the “Pap test”.   I don’t know a woman who looks forward to having one, but when you have been trying to arrange an appointment and two weeks turns into 6 months, you just want it done!  I feel the need to vent, out of complete frustration with the medical systems process I have experienced lately.

A Pap test is a screening test used in gynecology to detect premalignant and malignant (cancerous) processes in the cervix.  It still remains the most effective and widely used method for early detection. Significant changes can be treated, thus preventing cervical cancer.  A very serious topic when it comes to preventative health care for women.  The test was invented by and named after the prominent Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou.

pap test

I have been having regular yearly paps since my twenties but this year I just couldn’t seem to coordinate my busy schedule with the hours my family doctor was available.  I originally wanted the female doctor of the clinic to do my pap for personal reasons but right now if one of the carpenters down the street offered, I might take him up on it.  You’ll understand why by the end of the post.  This is where my frustration comes in and this post originated.

I was told by a receptionist at my doctors office, (who I think needs to ask for compassion and an attitude adjustment this Christmas), that I needed to come into the clinic for a consultation before I could book my pap test appointment.  A consultation from my family doctor? A doctor who has my complete medical history at his finger tips?  What could I possibly say that would change the way he prepped for, or did this procedure?  It’s a routine test that as far as I remember was pretty straight forward in the past.  Undress from the waist down, cover yourself with a extra large stiff paper napkin, keep socks on, shimmy down until your uncomfortably close to the doc, knee’s bent, feet in stirrups, look at the ceiling, cold metal utensil put you know where, slight pinch, press here and your outta there.  So let me get this straight, I can’t get a pap test done without a consultation but I can have a mole removed from my nipple without any prior appointment.  I am curious what they would ask me that couldn’t be asked on “the day” to justify this extra clinic visit?  I can understand this if I was a new patient with no medical history on file, but this is my family doctor, so I just don’t get it?  An appointment for an appointment?

I tried calling my gynecologist to see if they could help me out.  They were very helpful and referred me to another family doctor whose receptionist figured it all out.   All I needed was a referral faxed from my family doctor to them and I was in like Flynn, without a consult, no visit before the visit, just a pap test.  My head starts to spin at this point.  The receptionist whom I spoke so highly of before NOT then tells me I need to have an appointment to get the referral.  If I could attend the appointment to get the referral, can’t the doctor just slip my heals in the stirrups quick and just get it over with?  And if I could make the appointment to get the referral, wouldn’t I just use that time to have the consult?  What’s going on here?  What is happening to the medical system!  I am simply trying to get a procedure done I have had umpteen times, and keep getting told I need an appointment to book an appointment.  I have medical so it’s not the cost of the visit that bothers me, but what about those who don’t have medical coverage?  They have to pay each time they see the doctor, and the doctor gets paid each time they schedule an appointment!  Are you following me here!  It’s starting to become clear why it takes so long to see your doctor.  We are required to have two appointments when we really could do with one.  And so I ask “WHAT’S A GIRL GOTTA DO TO GET A PAP AROUND HERE?”

P.S ~ I faxed a letter to my doctors office expressing my concern with both the receptionist and the process that I have to go through to have a simple test done.  I have also talked with two women who work in doctors offices and both have assured me that this is not normal.  I don’t like to complain about much but sometimes it just needs to be done to create change.  I am hoping to get my questions answered, I will keep you posted! 

Update~ I was called by the New doctors office saying that my Dr. did send off a referal to them so that I can get my Pap test done in the New Year!!

Tracy signiture