It’s official.  I must scan my medical record.

I had been thinking about not wanting to make another copy of it, something I already did in part several times this past year on account of moving, getting a new primary care, GI, GYN (two takes for that one).  Providing a full copy means not only copying (and paying) but sorting.  See, I had it all nice and neat and sorted in a binder.  But then I was working and my schedule was difficult to manage in the Fall, and time was tight – long story short, whenever I had to pull out some record of crap for some other crap that would itself eventually become part of the record, this past year I just kind of yanked it out and then shoved it back in any which way.  The shit’s a mess.  Not a disaster, but not neat.  There are multiple copies of crap, but not uniformly multiple, so I can’t be sure what’s a duplicate and what’s a copy.

This means to make a copy of it, I need to sort.  Sorting means reading.  And reading means Memories.  I had been thinking that the reason I was reluctant to bring a copy of my record was the bringing and delivering and the witnessing of the office/doctor reaction of “holy shit that’s a huge medical record”.  And now I’m realizing that I feel this sucky feeling EVERY time I have to spend too much time with that record.  I am realizing that probably a big part of why I was reluctant to make a copy was that making a copy means witnessing my own reaction – which does involve thoughts of the lucky recipient to be – but which also and possibly more significantly is recognition of the dead ends that are reflected in the record…and how it felt to hit them.  As much as I’d like to (and as much as I truly, consciously believe that I can) disassociate the very unpleasant feelings this record evokes, I think my current mood is a testament to the fact that I cannot.  It’s as if while I am doing what I believe is the sensible, non-emotional work of sorting and filing the many pages in this record, some internal mental archeologist is in there compulsively reconstructing emotional events from these artifacts.

So.  The solution is to scan this shit.  Obviously there is emotional maintenance to do too, but I think scanning is part of that since generally, emotional maintenance of this sort takes the following forms for me.

  1. Reflect and try to figure out what’s up.
  2. Try to find a way to feel better right now.
  3. Try to find a way/ways to do things so I don’t feel as bad in the future.

Ok, I think I have a start on (1).  I’ll talk to my therapist about it too.  Maybe she can help me explore this a bit.  For (2), I’m going to go to the beach.  I put the files in a quick order, I moved them OUT of my bedroom (I don’t need that stress in my sanctuary), and I will finish shorting in small bits later, when I have the promise of something nice and social and engaging to do after.  For (3), I’m going to scan this shit so the next time I have to access and duplicate even one small piece of the record, I don’t have to go pawing through the paper.  With a digital copy, properly annotated and/or named, I can access the exact thing I need without having to LOOK at the other shit around it.  Yes, seeing the folder size might evoke a bit of a response, seeing the list of dates in the file names might be a bit bothersome, but I can’t imagine that accessing digital copy will trigger such a compulsory trip down Memory Ave* as does having to look, look, look and read, read, read to get to what I need.

* = Memory Ave is different from Memory Lane.  “Lane” sounds quaint and cute.  It brings to mind a gently curving road bordered by nice yards behind white picket fences, with jolly ruffled curtains in the windows of the houses overlooking it.  Somewhere, someone is making lemonade.  Porch swing creaks and chipper whistling can be heard.  Memory Ave, on the other hand, could be on the way into Detroit.  What houses are there look abandoned and hopeless, the “yards” are strips of dirt where trash and broken children’s toys huddle.  Empty lots between them show various industrial views: self storage facilities, a power plant, and various faded brick buildings.  There’s probably a belligerent drunk on the corner up ahead, ready to leer and breathe foully at you as he tries to bum a cigarette.

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1 Comment

  1. R. G. Maines

     /  June 12, 2010

    I never thought about having in my possession a copy of my medical record. I never get to see that stuff even. I wish I had my son’s medical record, as we turned over his whole file when we adopted him to our primary care physician at the time, I don’t even know if any or how much of it has followed my son to his current physician.

    I really like your plan. I also like the differentiation between “Memory Lane” and “Memory Ave.” I may swipe that, as a way of separating the good from the bad.

    I hope you have a good Sunday! 🙂


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