Zubeneschamali (zubeneschamali) wrote,

PSA: Do you know where your medical records are?

I mentioned a while back that I was taking Spanish this semester. It's gone well, and I'm planning on signing up for the intermediate level next semester. After about two months of wrestling with bureaucracy, that is.

My university, as is the case with most state schools, requires all students to have proof of immunization from measles, mumps, and rubella. Apparently they don't care if the people teaching the classes are immunized or not, but the students damn well better be. Also, apparently you get a free pass for one semester, but after that, if you don't have proof that you've been immunized, you can't register again.

OK, no problem. I grew up in this state, I went to college in this state, I needed proof of immunization for all those things. First call was to my doctor here in town. Diphtheria and tetanus, check. Measles, mumps, or rubella, no. Okay, I've moved around a lot since college (four states, five cities, five doctors) and haven't always been careful to transfer my medical records. But they should exist at a previous doctor, right?

Wrong. Childhood doctor's policy is to destroy the files sometime after the patient turns 18, which mean there was no hope of getting anything from my pediatrician, either. They suggested I try my high school.

Called my high school. They keep records for 20 years after graduation, which I just made by one year. Hurray! Except they went and looked in the basement and couldn't find my records. Strike three.

Well, I graduated from college in this state. Called them up. Nope, they don't keep records for that long. Tried my graduate school, which also needed proof of the same immunizations. They only keep a copy of the records if you were immunized there, not if you brought in proof from somewhere else, which apparently I had at the time. They did have proof of my rubella immunization, probably because I needed it to get married in Massachusetts (which has surprisingly conservative tendencies at times).

But I still didn't have proof that I've been immunized for measles and mumps. Logically, since I graduated from four different schools that require this, I have clearly been immunized. But I had no piece of paper that said so. So I went to my doctor here, got a blood test that demonstrated I have the proper antibodies in my blood (I was shocked by that unforeseen turn of events, let me tell you), and now the hold on my registration has been lifted and I can take the damn intermediate Spanish class.

Cool story, bro. The point is, do you have a copy of your medical records, immunizations and all? Do you know if your current doctor has a copy of all of that stuff? You never know when you might need it, and the place you expect to get it from might not have it anymore.

My other takeaway from this is that here I am, a well-off, well-educated, white middle-class person who's never changed my name and has a flexible job that allows me to make private phone calls whenever I want and to schedule a doctor's visit whenever I want, and it took all of this hassle to find a piece of documentation that I knew was out there, and in the end I couldn't find it anyway and had to do a work-around. It makes me think of all of those arguments for voter ID laws and how they shouldn't cause any problem for legitimate voters because everyone knows how easy it is to get whatever documentation you might need, and how they're full of crap. </rant>

Tags: personal, politics, whining
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