Is There a Qualified & Humane Doctor In The House?
I’ve read several posts recently, written by people who had either been to the doctor or are in need of a visit to one. With the exception of one of these posts, I smelled fear … but not the type that stems from the great unknown … rather, the type that is evoked by a whip-toting, I-don’t-want-to-hear-your-excuses, self-absorbed physician.
I called my own doctor’s office a few weeks ago ~ not because I was ill but because I was instructed to do so by my pharmacist who couldn’t refill my prescription without permission. It was time to call the doc and spend $60 for him to tell me, as he apparently must (every six months), that I am doing well and should continue to take the exact same pills at the exact same dosage … but I digress.
A Small Dose of Humiliation
My doctor is pretty nice, actually. But even he, on occasion, will shoot me a condescending look much in the same way my father did if I acted up when I was six years old.
My point is this - we are paying (and dearly) for their services, their advice, their opinions ~ and often times ~ for their kids’ college education. We pay, they deliver. If they don’t deliver the goods, we should take our business elsewhere. Are you with me so far?
Why is it then, for some reason we allow them to humiliate, intimidate or insult us on occasion? I’m not in reference to the dreaded positive test results or good heavens, worse news. I’m referring to the “Hey, you haven’t been staying off the salt the way I told you to,” or “I thought you were going to try to lose some weight.” How about, “You MOVED that leg? I told you NOT to move that leg.”
My favorite is ~ “What do you MEAN you’ve stopped taking that pill that made you break out in hives and talk with a lisp? I TOLD you it will help build stronger bones!”
Doctors today seem to feel they have license to reduce us to slobbering, weepy, helpless tots any time we don’t do exactly what they “suggested.” They’ve also completely forgotten what the word “suggest” means. It’s not a command. We’re not in the armed forces, and even if we were, they haven’t any hash marks on their sleeves or gold stars pinned to their golf shirts.
We call an electrician when the wiring skips a beat. Imagine if he came to the house and looked over the top of his glasses at you scolding, “You went out and bought a new appliance? When were you going to consult me? Huh smartass? That’ll be $847 for today and I’ll be back tomorrow with the parts ~ IF you follow my instructions.” If you’re anything like me, you’d show him the door in a heartbeat … physically … loudly.
The plumber doesn’t walk in the door and have a hissy fit because your little one shoved his Tonka toy down the toilet. He gets down to the business of removing the obstacle, he collects his money (and your firstborn), and leaves. It’s really that simple.
I’m not done yet.
There’s yet another “doctor” issue brewing here.
Is He Smart or Is He Ain’t
Back in college, one of my professors reminded our class that doctors were first students, and they all cannot have graduated at the top of their class. When we submit a resume, we include our educational credentials. We sometimes even boast about awards, achievements, etc. We are chosen (or not), based on these credentials and prior experience.
Why is it then, that people don’t “interview” a doctor upon their initial visit? Think about it for a minute. Here is a man or woman, who you are likely to “hire” for the purpose of helping you to stay alive for cripes’ sake, and you don’t even know his class status. He could have just slid through med-school by the skin of his teeth. The pretty diplomas and degrees on the wall don’t tell you that he might have graduated 56th in his class of 60.
It would be nice to apply for a hoity toity position and get hired based on the look of your car (yellow pages ad), your suit (impressive office), or on the fact that you have a lot of buddies (patients). How cool would that be? We’ll never know ~ because it’s not realistic. Not for us, that is ~ only for doctors.
I’m still not done yet … but almost.
It’s Not His Area
Long gone are the days when you went to the family doctor (General Practitioner) for anything from a laceration to a stye; from an ulcer to a slipped disk. Nowadays, unless you have the flu or high blood pressure, chances are your doctor is going to send you to a specialist. What in the HELL is that?
It’s a vicious ploy, I tell you. If you’re very lucky, said specialists all share the same building and you only have to walk up four flights of stairs, three doors over and past the sun-filled, gilded mirror, indoor fountain atrium to get there. Otherwise, it’s a drive clear across town in maddening traffic.
Most doctors won’t even draw blood in their office anymore. They won’t go near urine and they’ll never set eyes on any of your x-rays. The lab folks get to have all that fun. So, like … what are they teaching in med-school these days anyway?
Who Tells Who What’s Wrong?
My final rant is the diagnosis. Can anyone tell me, for the love of all the pretty flowers in spring, why we have to self-diagnose? Isn’t that supposed to be some small part of what the exorbitant fee is all about?
Who hasn’t called a doctor’s office and been asked by the slow-witted phone secretary “What’s the problem?” It’s fine to offer symptoms, (though I feel symptoms would be best offered to the man who gets the money), but when they grill you to the point of telling them your potassium level and your white cell count, it gives me reason to pause.
I’ve tried giving standard responses ~ “I’m sick” “I don’t feel well” ~ but no, they want more. It should be crystal clear that if I’m eager to make an appointment with the man who is going to get a third of my paycheck at the end of my ten minute visit, I’m sick. Apparently, this never quite works its way into their brains. I have to first diagnose myself to death before they deem me worthy. Well pardon my prescription Latin but “Fuckeus thatium.”
When I go to the doctor, I want him to tell me what’s wrong… point me to the fix and assure me that it’ll be better in no time. THAT is what I’m paying him for. THAT is what he went to school to do. No more, no less. If he can’t fix it, he should be able to tell me who can. If nobody can, maybe he could suggest a reasonable funeral director. I’m not paying for attitude, and he doesn’t need to scold, embarrass, or warn me in nasty tones.
After all, that’s what we have mothers, traffic cops and priests for.