I recently got a job and health insurance. Hooray. Now I can afford to see a doctor for some medical concerns I’ve had and let go for too long because I didn’t have insurance and they didn’t seem pressing. However, I can’t get in to see a doctor for at least a month or more, and for some reason, now that I do have insurance and have to wait so long to see someone, I’m suddenly having tremendous anxiety about my health. Help me put this in perspective and/or figure out what to do. Details about my specific concerns and situation inside.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I just got a job and health insurance after being without for about a year. Because I haven’t had health insurance for some time, I have put off dealing with some health concerns I have. Not the smartest move, and I’m feeling pretty guilty about it, but I simply could not afford to pay out of pocket. I was hoping I would be able to see a doc shortly after my insurance kicked in to alleviate my fears, but alas, it isn’t looking that way.
One kicker is, the training for this job involves spending a couple months quite far away from where I live (not close enough to drive up for a doctor visit). So I can’t make an appointment with a doctor I’ve had in the past until I’m back home, and none of the clinics in the (very small) town I’m currently in are taking new patients, or if they are, there is a six week wait, by which time I will be back home and can see my old doctor.
I don’t think my issues are really urgent care qualified (details below), and though they’ve been in the back of mind for some months, my anxiety about them, now that I could see someone but can’t, has really peaked – to the point that I’m feeling panicky and obsessing over it.
First I should mention that I have ongoing relatively serious anxiety issues, which I have been treated for in the past, and for which I currently have a Clonazepam (Klonopin) prescription for, and which I have been paying for out of pocket. I don’t think this is really helping my anxiety much anymore and doesn’t seem a very sustainable solution – and one of my first priorities when I get home will be to see a therapist/psychiatrist about this.
(Embarrassing TMI Warning and YANAD/YANMD): My biggest concerns are these: about six months ago or so, I got a small brown dot near the tip of my penis. It looks just like a freckle, is very small, is not raised or irregular, and has not changed. I also noticed I have a small sort of brown line-shaped spot on the underside of my penis. I had the full STD profile done just before I lost my health insurance (all fine), and have not had interactions since that could have caused me to get an STD, so I reasonably think it isn’t that. I wasn’t concerned at first and figured it was just a freckle, but now I’ve read too many things on the internet and am now terrified I have penile cancer or some such thing and that I’ve waited too long to get it diagnosed and am greatly endangering my life. The only way to feel at ease is to get it checked, which, like I’ve said, is probably six weeks out.
My other concern is that I used to be on Cymbalta – for a year and a half, between the ages of 25 and 26 (I am now 27). I also drank frequently during this time. My psychiatrist knew this and never seemed too concerned. I realize in retrospect that this was counterproductive and also very risky to my health and completely stupid. But alas. So I’ve been reading all of these things on the internet about Cymbalta’s liver warnings, and I am now scared I have damaged my liver severely and I’d like to have a liver profile done. I’ve been off the Cymbalta for 8 months, and have decreased my drinking to very little (a couple times a month, if that), and have generally improved my health considerably. But I’m worried that some damage has already been done. Again, I can’t get this checked out for six weeks or so.
I was scared to see a doctor because I am embarrassed I have let these things go so long, and when I finally got the insurance and worked up the courage to try to schedule an appointment this morning (I called every clinic in town), I was devastated to find it would be more than a month until I can see someone. I seem to have convinced myself that I have two life-threatening conditions, and that my prognosis is worsening by the day. As I’ve gotten more anxious, I’ve read more things on the internet and it’s sent me into full-on terrified that I need to see a doctor immediately or I’ll die type situation.
Am I just being a bit of a hypochondriac? Overly anxious? I admit that my anxiety is higher than normal, as I’m starting a new job and living in an unfamiliar place with none of my usual support people close by. How can I remain calm about these things until I am able to see a doctor about them? Is there anything else I can do other than breathe deep and wait out the six weeks to see my doctor? My health insurance offers a free 24-hour RN call line. Is it worth calling them and talking to a nurse?
I’m sorry that I sound a little discombobulated. I’m just not sure what to do.