Moving is ranked as one of the most stressful things a person does in their life. Packing, cleaning, lifting and then doing it again all in reverse when you get to your new place. Just to make things spicy, let's make that move an interstate one. Leaving all that you know to move to a place you’ve never been before, let a lone lived in. Where are the nearest shops? Do they do good coffee? My scripts! Where do I fill my scripts?! Then begins the slippery slope of realising that the medical team that you finally collected needs to be replaced! Where do you even begin when finding the current one was hard enough?
First things first. Breathe. Then like anything that is built to last, you start from the foundation and build your way up. This is exactly how I attempted the transition.
The foundation; the ground level, the mighty GP. Finding a good GP can be the difference between an easy ride and wanting to pull your hair out from frustration. I first did what any millennial would do, I Googled it. I looked up GP practices in my area. No body wants to be travelling miles to ask for a script refill if they don’t have to. To then narrow down the search I added in a couple key words…chronic…and…management. Let’s face it, as a Chronic Sister, I need someone that wasn’t going to shy away from the long list of ailments I have acquired over my 31 years. Thankfully, most GP practises have bios of their doctors on their website. After reading a few profiles, I decided to swipe right on the one I felt matched what I was looking for the most and hoped for the best. As a side note, if there are any app developers out there, a Dr Tinder would be a hot commodity if you ask me.
I booked in an appointment for the next available slot. Baring in mind, I did this search a month or more before moving. This was the first of many things I had to organise on top of the usual moving needs. I checked in with all of my specialist either face to face or via email. I asked for any recommendations that they had for a similar specialist in my new area and if they could organise a referral.
Most worked out this way apart from one. This one was tricky. I needed an appointment within a certain time to keep on track with my treatment plan so I needed to find a replacement specialist and quick. We all know what specialist waitlists can be like so to say I was concerned would be an understatement. I had finally gotten on top of my pain, I could not afford to go backwards. I needed to figure out to get a referral from my new GP, without actually seeing my new GP. How on earth was I supposed to do that?! You ask. There’s no harm in asking, so I rang the reception and pled my case. Understandably she couldn’t help me, policy was policy and there was no Telehealth appointments without seeing the GP in person first. She did however offer an olive branch and suggested I write an email and send it to the practice for the attention of my doctor. So thats exactly what I did. I laid it all out as best I could and clicked send and hoped for the best. Days go by, I hear nothing.
Between the fog of planning the move, work and life, an unknown number comes across my phone. I answer expecting the robotic drones of a scam phone call telling me the ATO is sending police to my door but to my surprise a person was there. A receptionist in fact, to a specialist in my new city who wants to book in an appointment for me. In my confusion I ask who sent the referral as I hadn’t heard back from anyone.Turns out the new GP had sent out a referral on my behalf after reading my email. What ,a , Queen. Not even an hour later another unknown number calls… ANOTHER SPECIALIST. Not only had the new GP sent one referral, she sent two so I would have the best opportunity to meet my treatment deadline. Moral of the story here is the age old one of, if you don’t ask you’ll never know.
Piece by piece I’m collecting my specialists again and soon my team card will be full. The process in finding them is just the first part. The second is the re-do of all of the first appointments. Be warned, even though you’ve told your story a million times you can still feel its sting when you least expect it. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body if it’s feeling scared, panicked or anxious. Even the chronic veterans amongst us can get caught in the trauma trap that is re-telling our story. In prep for these appointments that are unavoidable, write a list of all the key points of your health timeline, it’s beneficial to do it in chronological order if you can. It will help you and your doctors track you story. If you can, take someone with you, just for moral support, if you can’t, take your emotional support water bottle, I know we all have one. Make it easy on yourself. Do whatever you need to do to make you comfy. Comfort is key.
Even if you aren’t moving states and you’re feeling the need to change your roster of doctors. Do it. You are worthy of a team that understands you and is in it with you. Shop like your life depended on, because it kinda does.