Sort by:

Category: My Life with Mayo Clinic

On the Fly: Mayo Clinic Trip Number Four, Winding Down

I’m in DFW, waiting for my flight home. This whirlwind trip to the Arizona Mayo Clinic will last a total of about 48 hours, and this is hour 46. In 90 minutes I’ll be home. In 120 minutes I’ll be picking my car up from the dealer. And in 180 minutes I’ll be at work.

I think.
There are many updates I will share, but for now I will just say…

It was all good news.

Mayo Clinic Trip Three, Part 1 – Big Changes

After all the appointments I had back in January 2011, and the subsequent bills, we knew it’d be best to get my next round of annual appointments in the same year… so as to minimize expenditures by making the most of having met our deductible so early in the year. So, when the beginning of October rolled around, I called Dr. GH’s secretary to schedule an appointment… just as I’d been instructed.

Imagine my surprise when, after explaining why I was calling, I was told, “[Dr. GH] is no longer with Mayo Clinic.  We are working to identify who will fill his role, and will contact you when we do.”

Oh.  Right.  Okay.

Wait.  What?

He’s gone?

No more hairy chests and bizarre questions?  No more medical explanations involving YouTube and unexpected analogies?

And then, of course, I began to wonder about things that actually mattered.

What if they don’t get me a new doctor in time?  What if my new doctor wants to change my regimen?  What if Dr. GH had it wrong all-along?

Luckily I didn’t have long to wonder, as I received a call within 48 hours informing me I had an appointment.  So, after a few tweaks to the date and time of my appointment, I began my list.  The list of questions I want to be sure to ask my cardiologist.

Kate's List of Questions for Mayo

I suppose it isn’t actually a list of questions… it’s more like a collection of various notes I’ve made for myself over the year since I last saw my Mayo doctors.  Some bullets are significant, and some border on silly, but they all matter to me.  I get the undivided attention of doctors at the top of their field just once a year.  It would be unwise not to ask questions and make the most of this tremendous opportunity.

After wrapping up my list (for the time being, since I add items frequently and up until the doctor walks in the exam room), I moved on to establishing my neurology itinerary for late-December 2011, which proved to be a challenge impossible due to Dr. A-Z’s complicated holiday vacation schedule and overwhelming popularity.

I will spare you the details, but I can say… from the time I called to schedule this trip these trips to Mayo Clinic AZ, I knew things would be different.

More on just how different it’s been later this week.

Until then… How do you prepare to head to a doctor’s appointment (big or small)?  Do you write lists?  Take a friend?  Remember to bring your medicines?  What’s the best advice you’ve received?

My Mayo Clinic Traditions

To deal with all the awkward, and make my annual(ish) Mayo Clinic trip something special I make a point to develop a new tradition, buy an item of clothing, or discover a new treat every time I come to Mayo.  This trip has been no different.

For starters, I am freezing.

“Freezing in Arizona?” you say?

Yes.  It is December, after all.

Although, to be fair, I got married on this exact day six years ago (Happy Anniversary, Danny!) and it was 70+ degrees.

walking on our wedding day

But, stick with me. Please.

So it’s December.  And since I arrived, AZ has been cooler than home almost every bit of every day.  Plus, it doesn’t help that I am almost always cold.  (I’d say I’m just weird like that, but since I like to imagine you are like me in that regard, I won’t.)

Are you like me?

Anyway, yesterday I broke down and bought two more long sleeve pieces I can layer with the wardrobe I packed.  These two new items will make a significant improvement in how warm I feel… especially when paired with one of the four scarves I brought.  (I NEVER leave home without a scarf.  Even in the summer.)

I also bought these.  They are delicious.

Nabisco Munchables Pretzel Rounds, buttery flavor

Too delicious.

But that’s not the point.

Since I make a point to begin new traditions, it only makes sense that I make a point to continue those new traditions during future visits.

So, for this round of Mayo Clinic trips, here’s the status of my must-do tradition list:

  • dine at Kona Grill Done, with my SIL and her littles.  I even left my debit card there.
  • make at least one trip to MoJo Yogurt
  • people watch and eavesdrop so I can remember this trip vividly and take it all in
  • FaceTime with my sweetie
  • make and eat lots of homemade sandwiches Although, this is a sort of ongoing goal.
  • sleep
  • visit Pro’s Ranch Market as often as possible for chicken taquitos and  aguas frescas (What’s your favorite flavor?)
  • spend some quality time at TJ Maxx
  • stretch every morning AND every evening
  • consume bagged lettuce to my heart’s content I’ve already restocked once.
  • Christmas shop… for 2012
  • take pictures Who am I joking?  I do this all the time.
  • read
  • appreciate a few weeks of Arizona weather (don’t worry, it usually improves in January)
  • watch sports
  • buy plane tickets for summer vacation
  • spend quality time with my in-laws, nieces, and nephews Again, with the ongoing bit.

And, these aren’t traditions, but I’d like that to change:

  • take Daniel to Oregano’s for a late anniversary date
  • actually respond to people who call and/or text

Here goes… I will keep you posted.

On Elephants and A-w-k-w-a-r-d Explanations

It is unavoidably awkward to explain to folks (or even to not explain to folks) that you take off work to travel half way across the country to go to the doctor when you aren’t fighting some sort of terminal illness.

So, usually, I don’t explain myself.

I get some sort of perverse pleasure out of leaving people guessing.  I am afraid I really do.  It’s like dressing the elephant in the room in a safety orange vest with reflectors and flashing lights.  And, it keeps me in control of the conversation.  Which, frankly, is exactly how it should be when it comes to my health.

Am I wrong?

Having said all that, I have learned it is important for the folks near me to know about my health.  You know… in case something goes wrong and I need help.  And, I suppose, as I discussed here, overcoming my pride is a process that requires I practice often, and with consistency.

Now, don’t misunderstand.  I by no means tell all.

I am guarded.

Extremely so.  In many areas of my life, not just in regards to my health.

There are plenty of those awkward moments when someone asks where I’ll be for however many weeks I’ve planned to be away from work, and all I say is, “Out west,” or “In Arizona.” and just keep spelling “a-w-k-w-a-r-d” until the awkward stops, the topic changes, and/or they walk away.

Again, like I said.  I just love dressing up that elephant.

But, really?  It’s a need-to-know.

I Bring the Rain to PHX

I am here in Arizona, and it is raining, and it is perfect.  This winter rain during my Mayo trip is a tradition, and I’m glad PHX is holding up her end of the deal.

rainy day with citrus trees

My trip began very early this morning (we’re talking before 4:00 am), but I landed at PHX before 9:30am.  My second and final flight of the day was filled with a high school girl’s basketball team who happened to predominantly be made up of first-time flyers… who cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  They were sweet girls, but they were oh so frightened.  It broke my heart.

On a happier note…

Maple Syrup Shortbread Cookies by Nikki's Cookie Confections

Along the way, I picked up these beauties, to take my medicine with.  The three delicious maple syrup shortbread cookies (adorably shaped like maple leaves) were worth the $5.99 I spent.  (Do the math?  That’s essentially $2 a cookie.  And they weren’t more than 1″ wide!)

I digress.

My cardiology appointments are in the morning.  Look for an update tomorrow.