I quickly called my PCP’s office. Deep breaths. “I need a referral to Dr. K. Can you get that out in today’s mail?”
Multiple calls later, I finally got the balking rocket scientist at the other end of the line to understand that: 1) You don’t know what you’re talking about, sweetheart; 2) Dr. K. is inside my “network” and will accept a referral; 3) I need it and I need it yesterday.
The referral arrived a few days later. I phoned Dr. K.’s office right away. The first available appointment was several months out. But, hey! It took nearly a year of insurance red tape and Stupiditis 101 to get this far. At least I had an appointment with an honest-to-goodness, real life dermatologist. What was four more months?
In the meantime, more bumps started to emerge on my scalp, getting itchier and itchier. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind.
“I better call Dr. K’s office and make sure everything’s copasetic,” I muttered a few days before my appointment.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t accept patients from outside Pierce County,” said Dr. K.’s receptionist.
Here we go again.
“Then how did I get an appointment when I called four months ago?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry about that, but we don’t take anyone outside our county.”
You’re kidding, right?
Back to Mona the insurance rep. “This is the first I’ve heard of that,” said Mona.
More phone calls ensued. It turns out that Dr. K. wasn’t accepting new patients out-of-county. “But I’m not a new patient” I explained to his office through gritted teeth. “I’ve seen Dr. K before for basal cell carcinoma. I’m an established patient.”
Appointment finally confirmed, Chris and I drove to Pierce County and Dr. K.’s office the next week. “If anybody knows what this stuff is,” I said itching my head, “it’ll be Dr. K.”
“This looks like a case of age warts” said silver-haired, bespectacled Dr. K. upon examination. “We’re going to kill them with liquid nitrogen.” He sprayed the stuff accordingly. (Note: Liquid nitrogen stings. A lot.)
“That should take care of it,” Dr. K. said crisply. “But if you have any trouble or concerns, give us a call.”
He also took a sample to biopsy. The biopsy came back as “inconclusive.” No signs of cancer. Nothing malignant. But no definitive diagnosis.
“How long before this stuff goes away?” I asked. I don’t remember his exact response. I was practically turning cartwheels over the first “real” treatment from a skin specialist in years. A few months later, however, I again noticed some dry, rough patches on my scalp while shampooing.
By then, my “referral” had expired . Back to the paper circus.
To be Continued…