I normally have my annual exam in June, but I had just moved to Lisbon. I have private health coverage here, but had a two month waiting period after my coverage began in July. That meant that the soonest I could get a covered appointment would be beginning of October. But that's when I was doing all of that traveling (I was basically traveling for about 1 1/2 months.
That and still not knowing the language to the point where I could converse in Portuguese about health and making appointments, I felt very intimidated.
I kept hearing about Serenity Portugal, a medical concierge service geared toward foreign residents in Portugal.
For a reasonable annual membership fee, you are assigned an English-speaking case manager (registered nurse) who can find specialists and physicians in your area that also speak English, set up and book appointments, speak on your behalf with physicians, pharmacists, clinics, and hospitals, offer support, and review your private health insurance coverage, among other things.
I decided to join. During our initial Zoom chat, my concierge told me that she could set up a meeting with an English speaking doctor as well as getting my Utente number (bonus, since I've heard a lot of challenging stories (not all) about trying to get this on your own.
A Utente is a unique identifying number to access public healthcare in Portugal. Even though I have private health insurance, as a resident I'm allowed access to the public system as well.
I haven't received my actual residence card yet, but she asked me to send her the paper form of my approval to start the process. Good news! They issued my Utente number without waiting on my residence card (today marks 3 months since my SEF appointment - and it was only supposed to take 2 months). I'm trying to be patient and not worry, but it is so hard.
Update: My concierge messaged me to tell me I had an appointment with a physician next Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. (what? doctors work that late) at CUF Tejo Hospital.