I had to make a swing by my primary care doctor's office last Wednesday. My regular check-up is scheduled for next week and part of the preparation for that is to have blood drawn for routine lab work. It isn't a big deal as the office is only ten minutes down the road and it's small enough there is seldom a wait of more than a few minutes for the lab technician to call your name.
Before I could get to that point, however, the receptionist handed me a clipboard and asked me to fill out the questionnaire that was on it. Strange...I've never had to do that before but being the rule-follower that I am, I dutifully headed to one of the chairs to complete the form.
Did I have a fever? No. Had I developed a rash within the last ten days? No. Had I recently traveled to Africa? No. And on it went. Without ever asking specifically, the gist of the questionnaire was clearly to find out if I had Ebola.
I suppose it's a good thing although the chances of someone bringing Ebola to Pace, Florida, seem pretty slim. We aren't exactly a center for international travel. Better to be safe than sorry though, I suppose; it isn't a disease to be taken lightly. As a practical matter, maybe it will help the staff isolate those patients who might be contagious with the flu as many of the questions on the form would apply to that illness as well. I'm always glad my regular check-ups fall before and after flu season; I'm not keen on hanging out in a waiting room full of sick people.
As it turns out, I didn't need labs. When I went to turn in the questionnaire, the receptionist informed me that my numbers were so good last time that the doctor hadn't ordered any lab work. Good for me! I handed her the form anyway then suggested she could just hold on to it until this week when I'd be back for my appointment. She laughed. I can hold on to it, she said, but you'll have to fill out another one when you come in. No one gets past the reception room door without filling out a form that day. Now I know.
Later than morning I was sitting across the desk from a clerk at the hospital checking in for my annual mammogram. We went through a whole series of questions verifying my date of birth, address and insurance information before she got to these: Did I have a fever? No. Had I developed a rash within the last ten days? No. Had I recently traveled to Africa? No.
Yep...it was the very same series of questions. If I had only known, I could have taken my completed form from the doctor's office with me and turned it in at the hospital. The answers were still the same; I have no Ebola today.