Crying the family doctor blues
By Rose Simpson
I have an extreme itch on my left foot. Look, the heel is cracked. Maybe I have a disease.
Oh, no. I have pain in my left breast. Maybe there’s something wrong.
Turns out I have a crack in my heel from wearing orthotic sandals all day long. And as for the breast pain, turns out, my bra was too small.
Here’s the deal with me; I’m a hypochondriac. Not to worry, I’m not tying up precious health resources with every ailment. You see, my doctor is the Internet.
I gave up on my own doctor years ago. You go in to ask him something, and he doesn’t know what’s wrong.
I remember taking Marissa in to see him when she was acting out at school. I thought maybe she was depressed. He said: “Well what to you expect me to do about it?”
I went to him after years without a family doc, and I said: “Do you think I should have a pap?”
He said: “Do you want one?”
Things I don’t like about him: You get an appointment with him and he cancels it, especially if it’s on Friday afternoon. He eats pizza and he has a pot belly. More importantly, when you want an earnest chat, he shrugs and looks off into the distance.
Oh yes, and when he took my personal history, he had his back to me!
Here’s the thing. I worked in psychiatry. I know all about the long interview, the little questionnaire every doctor is supposed to give a patient. Your family doctor is supposed to watch your mannerisms, assess any possible subtleties, things you’re not telling him. Like a police detective. He’s not supposed to have his eyes glued to his laptop. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing computer solitaire while I’m pouring my heart out to him.
So I went in search of another family doctor. Put my name on a list at the local clinic. Never heard back. Called them and they said I wasn’t on the list. Too bad for you, muchacha. Then the clinic called me again a few months later saying they finally found a female doctor. Scott and I went in to see her.
I should have been suspicious. Her name was Sabrina Messina ,which sort of sounded like a porn star. When we arrived in her office, she was completely freaked out. What’s worse; she looked terrible, much worse than we did.
So a few weeks later, Scott calls for an appointment.
“I’m sorry, sir. Doctor Messina left the practice for personal reasons.”
“Personal reasons? She was only there for three weeks!”
We tried other doctors at the local clinic, but they weren’t much better. Scott went to get blood tests, minutes after seeing a doctor on call, and the blood clinic couldn’t read his name. Scott asked to look up the number on the Internet. When the technician called our clinic, they said they had no record of that doctor, a physician Scott had seen, like minutes earlier.
They also lost our paperwork more than a dozen times.
So with heavy heart, we returned to our old family doctor, pizza-loving, pot bellied man. I see him when I have to, but I still rely on the Internet and Dr. Oz for most of my health advice.
And I’m booking my appointments in the middle of week in case my doctor has other plans on Fridays.
Gotta love universal health care! Health care when you have to have it, and it’s universally bad.