I always congratulate myself on surviving January and February. Why? Because I hate winter. Any winter. Doesn’t matter if I live in Texas or California or Timbuktu. I can’t explain it. Stems from childhood, I guess, when I had to bundle up in layers of coats and scarves and mittens. And it seemed back then I was always sick. Then there’s the cold itself. I hate being cold. Warm is better.
Maybe that’s why every March 1st I celebrate. I’ve made it through the worst of the winter and I’m rounding third, looking to slide across home plate to score the lead run. But then March comes and brings its own madness. This is the month I’ve picked to get my annual checkups, mammograms, etc. I may need to rethink the poor timing of this in the future, but now, it’s the way it is. Anyway, I recently found myself on a visit to the doctor, which prompts it’s own maze through the system of the medical world. The crappy medical world. There are rules to follow here which if you question those rules you get frowned at and receive stern looks from the staff. They don’t like patients who question things. It’s like being on an assembly line and you’ve lost control of your own momentum. It’s like going through security at the airport and you look wrong at the TSA staff and they mark you for life that you’re a troublemaker. It’s like looking up at the big board to make sure your flight’s on time and you realize you’re screwed. There’s no way your flight is taking off on time.
The office visit isn’t geared for a friendly encounter anyway, which makes me wonder why these people chose the medical profession in the first place. If you don’t like helping people, then why work in a doctor’s office? Am I right?
After I’m led into the exam room, I go through the usual Q&A session with the nurse. Have you changed your meds? That sort of thing. The Q&A reveals they have a few wrong dates in the system and certain things haven’t been updated. They don’t have my correct med dosage either. So I point these things out and get a look of disbelief in return. I can see at that moment they’d prefer to hook me up to a lie detector to make sure I’m telling the truth. It’s like I’m being grilled under hot lights. Jeez. I’m not going to lie about the date I received my flu shot.
I finally get past the nurse and eventually the doctor comes in. This is where the real frustration begins. I tell him exactly what’s going on but he’s not listening. He has his agenda provided to him by the insurance company I suppose and he’s not backing off that. Not one iota. I assess his unwillingness to move from that stubborn corner and realize arguing is hopeless. I give in to his, “Let’s wait 90 days” suggestion, and “Try this instead, and then we’ll see what’s up on your next visit.” Yeah, like my problem will magically go away or fix itself by then. I’ve had this problem since birth. It prompted a hospital stay in 2016. Which is why I seriously doubt that waiting will provide a solution. It’s either a crazy and unrealistic approach to medicine or it’s a scam to get me back in the door in three months. Either way, I’m not a happy camper when I exit.
I’m old enough to remember when doctors actually practiced medicine. My first doctor was a man named Harold Brown. OMG. The man made this kid feel like I was the most important eight-year-old he’d ever seen on any given day. And I was sick a lot as a kid so I saw Dr. Brown a lot. But the man actually listened to what was going on in my life. He was such a wonderful doctor that I was still going to see him when I got married. Dr. Brown didn’t let the insurance companies push him around. No, sir. He’d been to an accredited medical school and finished his residency with plenty of hands-on experience and knew how to treat sick people. Dr. Brown actually made a ruling and followed through in the best interests of the patient. Dr. Brown passed away not long ago. But wherever he is, I loved that man! He was perhaps the best physician I’ve ever had. Harold Brown obviously set the bar way too high for me.
Nowadays, does it seem like doctors aren’t even that interested in the well-being of their patients? Becoming a doctor used to be a noble profession. As I drove home, I envisioned Dr. Brown lecturing the doctors of today on plain, common-sense medical care.
And in case your first instinct is to tell me to find another. Great idea, but I’ve tried that. There isn’t much difference. One is pretty much the same as all the rest.
Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe I’m getting old and crotchety. Maybe that’s the reason I bristle when some sharp-tongued woman directs me to go stand in a longer line just to check-in, even though I’m standing right in front of her. I grumble because she’s sitting there, not on the phone, not helping another patient, but staring at her manicure. It doesn’t make sense. But then neither do doctors who act more like shills for the insurance companies than someone who cares about their patients. I want to scream out and ask, “Then why go into medicine in the first place?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯