And here is why I never go to the doctor!!

So in our last episode, I was terminally ill with the Avian Flu, remember? (This is not to be confused with the Evian Flu, more commonly known as “Don’tDrinkTheWaterInMexicoOrYou’llBeSorry-itis”) It hit me pretty quickly this time around – I woke up Friday morning with an awful sore throat (after feeling fine the night before), and by Friday night had the whole shebang: freely flowing snot, headache, sinus pain, coughing up bits of internal organ…By Saturday morning, fever, chills, and body aches had found their way into the repertoire. I decided that this time around I wasn’t going to wait until I’d been sick for 3 months before seeking euthanasia…um, I mean medical attention. Since it was a weekend, and the primary care physician listed on my medical card (whom I had never been to see before) most likely wasn’t open, I decided to go back to the Minute Clinic at Target. I went there at the beginning of February and I was placed on amoxicillin for 2 weeks by a male nurse practitioner whom I am 99.9% sure either had Asperger’s Syndrome, or took a few really good hard knocks to the head during the Gulf War.

It’s pretty sad when even the Minute Clinic won’t look at you, but apparently this establishment adheres to the “all or nothing medical method”. If they don’t cure you the first time around, they tell you that you need to go find a real doctor. Well duh, if I had a real doctor, do you think I would’ve come here in the first place? I dragged myself back home and crawled into bed for the rest of the day.

By Sunday morning the fever, chills, and body aches were gone, but I still was blowing my nose every 87.43 seconds and coughing in between. Monday was more of the same. First thing Monday morning, I called my “Primary Care Physician” (a.k.a. The Name Randomly Chosen from the CareFirst Provider Directory Upon Enrolling with CareFirst – I chose this particular person for 3 reasons: 1)Her office was less than 1 mile from where I lived at the time; 2) I could actually pronounce her name; 3) I had to choose someone if I wanted insurance)

I called for the first time around 8:45 am and got the answering service. I was told the office would open at 9 am, so I said I would call back. I called again at 9:10 am and the answering machine message said that it was Friday, March 24th and that the office would be open Monday morning. Maybe that should have been my first clue, but I am blonde, so sometimes it takes awhile.

A third phone call 30 minutes later earns me a real, live person on the other end. It’s not very often you hear of a male receptionist at the doctor’s office, but ok. No biggie. I make an appointment for the next day at 3:30 pm.

Tuesday rolls around, and I arrive about 10 minutes early for my appointment because I know there will be paperwork to fill out. Casual observation of the waiting room and reception desk yield the following:

  • There are at least 3 signs posted – all capital letters, Times New Roman, centered text, oh my please, someone introduce these poor people to Microsoft Publisher, because this is Word Abuse!! – proclaiming that if you miss your appointment and do not call, there will be a $50 charge. All I can think is, I’m not sure these signs are reaching your target audience…
  • There is another sign posted by the reception desk proclaiming that if you are paying for your appointments yourself, the first visit is $150, each subsequent visit is $75. Apparently this comes up a lot as they had to open up Microsoft Word and create a sign about it.
  • The reception desk was even messier than mine gets when I’ve been out of the office for 30 minutes and the mail has arrived in my absence. (Sharon, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean!)
  • During the 40 minutes I had to wait for them to create my file, I noticed that every single other patient that passed through that office shared a common trait – one that I do not possess…Now do not misunderstand me, I could care less if every other patient was an alien from outer space so long as the doctor is good, but I must admit I found it a little disconcerting once I noticed, mainly because I wondered what everyone else was thinking about me being there.

I finally go back to see the doctor…First the P.A. comes in to get my story. I was very surprised that she did not take my height and weight. I once went to Patient First to have my shoulder x-rayed after dislocating it, and they measured my height and weight…So for this to be my first visit to the office, it seemed like a pretty basic thing to skip. I didn’t really want to get on the scale, though, so they got no arguments from me!

While I’m waiting for the doctor, I read the college and medical degrees on the wall…NYU, U of M (that’s MARYLAND, not Michigan), University of Liberia…Wow, this lady really gets around!

Ok, so excrutiatingly long story even longer, the doctor comes in, talks to me for 5 minutes, declares that I have allergies, writes me a prescription for Flonase, and sends me on my way. HUH? I’m 36 years old, and have never been diagnosed with allergies. What, praytell, am I allergic to? Must be something pretty good to keep me sick off and on (more on than off) since November…like, maybe oxygen? And what about the fever I had on Saturday? Did I make that up so that I could score a ‘scrip for the *good* stuff? Yes, you figured me out, doctor, I want you to think I have a sinus infection so I can sell my amoxicillin on ebay.

Oh, and I almost forgot…they make you pay for your visit, whether that be your insurance copay or in full, *before* they even take you back to the exam room. Is that in case you die on the table, they’ve already got your $10?

Are there any *good* doctors out there that actually listen to their patients? I’ve been misdiagnosed so many times (no, Dr. G., that rash on my left arm when I was 14 was *not* an STD…I wasn’t just denying it because my mother was in the room!) that I wonder why I continue to bother. Is it too much to ask that a doctor actually explain to you *why* they reach the conclusions that they do? There was supposed to be a point to this rant, but it’s almost 1am and I’ve forgotten what it is in my allergy-induced fog…I hope everyone else has better doctor-luck than I do!

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