I had my psychological evaluation today. This is the final step I needed to complete before my surgeon’s office can submit the request for surgery to my insurance company. I’m happy to report that no one tagged me as a 5150 or chased me to my car with restraints in their hands, so I think it’s safe to say that I passed.
As soon as I completed the paperwork for the psych eval in my surgeon’s office last week, I knew I was going to write a blog about it. The process was immediately and drastically different than it was two years ago when I did it to be approved for lap band surgery (which I never got).
Here’s how the psych eval process went two years ago:
Completed a single page consent form. Provided my credit card number. Received a call the next day from a psychologist in Abilene (that’s 164 miles away for you non-Texans) and talked on the phone for 30 minutes, answering basic questions about whether I was suicidal or had ever undergone a traumatic experience. Done.
I was confident in my own reasons for wanting the surgery two years ago, but such an informal process gave me cause for concern regarding the other patients who might not have done the homework I did…or all the years of therapy I did. It seemed obvious to me that a person who wasn’t emotionally ready for the surgery or mentally ready to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle would be able to skate right past the psychologist if they knew what they should say.
I have no cause for concern for any patients now. The process is vastly improved and is actually geared toward making certain that a patient has done their homework and understands what is about to happen to them.
Instead of a 1 page consent form, I was required to complete a 16 page form full of questions about my medical, emotional, and criminal history. (My criminal history is limited to toilet papering Tommy Stokes’ house in high school, by the way. The police were not involved, but Tommy smashed a container of apple sauce into my hair at lunch the following Monday in retaliation. Asshat never could take a joke.)
Here are just a few of the questions I was required to answer in writing:
How long have you thought about weight loss surgery?
What are your motivations for having weight loss surgery?
What kind of research have you done about the surgery?
List potential complications associated with the surgery.
Do you understand the consequences of not following instructions after surgery?
Describe in your own words how this surgery works.
If you have this surgery, what are you hoping will change in your life?
What will remain the same in your life?
What do you anticipate will be the hardest part of this process?
Well done, psychy people. Well done. These are all excellent questions designed to ensure that patients have thought this through. I’m much more impressed with this process than the free will hippie “Hey man, this is just a formality” way the last psych eval went.
Today’s visit was great. I was given a sheet of suggestions on changes to make now, which include not eating in front of the tv or computer, using smaller plates and utensils, eating slow, chewing 20 times before swallowing, and paying attention to whether I feel full or not. That was before I even got into the psychiatrist’s office. Then she came out, called my name, escorted me to a chair in her office, plopped down in her chair with my file and says…
“So this dance teacher of yours sounds like a real asshole!”
I grinned ear to ear and thought…we’re going to get along just fine, lady.
The rest of our visit went swimmingly. She asked me about HMH and my family and friends. How many people are supporting me and how many are not? A million other questions that you’d expect any therapist to ask. She told me to call if I needed anything or had any questions whatsoever at any time. Then I was asked to answer a 344 question psych test (on a scantron form…holy shit!) and I was done. That was it.
My appointment was over at 330 pm, so I’m not sure whether my paperwork was sent to my surgeon’s office today or if it’ll be there Monday. By the time I was done navigating my way through Dallas traffic my surgeon’s office was closed, so I’ll call them on Monday. But that’s it for now…they can submit the request to my insurance and I should have an approval soon.
Let’s get it done. I have some catching up to do. 🙂