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Finding A Doctor

March 26, 2008
When it comes to health care advice, some on-line articles just need to stop lying. Lying I tell you. Or if not exactly lying then the reality of the process needs to be stated without the deceitful pretense of ease and sunshine. The misleading, the unethical misleading, that’s it. For instance, finding a doctor. I hate my current doctor, hate, hate, hate, hate him. For starters, he has on his front window “A Medical Corporation.” YUCK. He is one man. Citing a corporation whether it is officially the case or not, as in he had to go down to the county business agency at the courthouse and declare himself a corporation does not put him in a more favourable light. If anything, it invokes feelings of soulless corruption.

Then there is the little D.O. thing. Okay, okay, I know that may be snobbery on my part, but even so, can I get a damn M.D. for my money. Just like the time I was pissed because I jumped through all kinds of hoops to get an endocrinology consult to learn that my first visit was scheduled for a nurse practitioner. Yes I know, someone aunt’s in-law’s cousin sees a nurse practitioner regularly and thinks the world of him/her, but I feel that I should at least be seen by a specialist the first time around if the reason I am seeking him/her out is because of a concern that requires a specialist. “Oh I’m too important and busy to trifle with your little complaints, go through my nurse practitioner and maybe, just maybe, if you exhibit obvious signs of dying that point in the direction of my specialty then I could, perhaps, find a moment in my over inflated not amounting to much other than bravado posturing schedule to fart in your room. Just a whiff has been known to cure the most ardent lepers.” Asshole. Charles Bovary. I feel your pain poor Hippolyte!

I could almost forget the medical corporation plastered on the window and overlook the D.O. if the chemistry between us had been good or, if not good, at least respectful. Okay. But no that was absolutely too much to ask. This bastard, a good ten to fourteen years younger than me had the nerve to talk down to me, cut me off in mid-sentence and dismiss what I know about my damn body. Not to mention how bad he wanted to look into my vagina. Good god, I am not my vagina. I go there complaining about a chest cold, a persistent cough and an over all physical malaise (this all about a year ago, you see how long I have been sulking) and all he can think of is my femaleness. “Oh we must schedule a pelvic exam, it is very important for you to have a pap smear, do you have any known STD’s, how many pregnancies, abortions, deliveries, on and on and on and on.” My chest! Can we get back to my chest! There is irony in that complaint because I am sure if I was twenty years younger and had major voluptuous breastesess he would be diligently focused on my chest without redirection. Speaking of breast, even though I am at the age that I qualify for a yearly mammogram I cannot self refer. No, I have to call my daddy-PCM and beg him to give me the green light so I can get a mammogram. Incidentally, I was told today that I could see an OB/GYN (provided that they are on the list) without a referral from daddy-PCM. WTF? Maybe it was not my femaleness that he was after but the dollars, because, technically I could go somewhere to have my pap/pelvic done without his permission which would take money out of his pocket. But for a mammogram, I have to allow him to feel me up first and be at his mercy for a referral.

Oh but it is so easy to find a doctor, just look at the list of providers and pick one. Okay but here is a little thing that they leave out when they are promoting the ease of choosing a physician. Yes of course it is left out. How many times have I clicked on a doctor’s name to learn that he/she is no longer accepting new patients? I saw one today that said “will only be treating current patients with no openings ever again.” After being disappointed one time after another, I finally selected a physician. This only means that I found a first name that is certain to be female, who has a M.D., is older than thirty, and is open for new patients, thus the next step.

The next step according to patient’s responsibilities is to interview the doctor.

You can also go with no problem at all — make an appointment to just chat with the doctor to get a feel whether you like him or her. Be aware, though, that as with dating, first impressions might be a bit rosy. “‘Meet the doctor’ visits are nice, but everybody’s on their best behavior, and there’s no stress,” says Dr. Michael Victoroff, another patient advocate.
Can you stop laughing at this suggestion? I cannot. That is hilarious. Please give me a list of ten, no six, no four doctors who are willing to allow me to interview them. Fat chance. More like I have to select them as my primary care manager first. Which by the way does not take affect until May 1 (I made the selection, March 25, 2008) because there is something to do with if you call between the 1st and the 15th of the month and 30 days and blah blah. Okay, so say I make an appointment for May 2. Which is about right, doctors need a good six week window, especially when your stomach hurts and your arm is bleeding and your chest is rattling and your prescription is running out in three days and you are sure to commit suicide at the first opportunity because not being able to get an appointment exacerbates your anger issues. Yes six weeks is just about enough time to squeeze you in, seeing that it is so urgent and all.

Let us say the chemistry is not right with the doctor during the “interview.”

This is perhaps the most important. It’s perfectly OK to reject doctors simply because there’s something about them that makes you feel a bit ill at ease. “I would suggest that patients actually like their provider,”says Dr. Michael Woods, a surgeon who founded a group called Civility Mutual to help improve communication between patients and health care providers. “Patients should, after their first visit, have a sense of trust.”
Not really an interview but a visit, a visit that will need a reason because the insurance company is not going to pay for you to just go interviewing doctors and doctors are not going to see you without charging. So basically, the patient only has one or two opportunities until finding a right doctor begins to cost money and not the insurance’s money. But stay with me. What if we were able to come up with an acceptable excuse that will get us in to see a doctor (“interview”) in order to make a responsible decision? Then what? I will tell you what, your name will be red flagged that’s what it will be, or anything remotely close to any ailment that you sort of kind of complained about to get in the door will be dug up to be used against you as a pre-existing condition ten years later. And I am one of the fortunate with insurance, –supposedly good insurance.
  1. Rent Party permalink
    March 26, 2008 6:05 am

    It’s all so true. I could rant on, but it’s late.

  2. momo permalink
    March 26, 2008 2:55 pm

    This reminds me of too many stories! It used to be how my health care system worked, and I remember pleading with people on the phone who were scheduling appointments so that I could be seen for something major without going to the emergency room.
    I know several people who have chosen their OB/GYN as their primary care doctor for these very reasons–they want the routine check=ups, mammograms, pap smears etc, but they can also be seen for other reasons. I hope your doctor finally did some blood work, and that you are able to find someone more respectful.

  3. CountryDew permalink
    March 27, 2008 9:23 pm

    Too true. The system is terribly, badly broken, and I have given up finding a good doctor. I get my best health care from non-doctors – my acupuncturist, my massage therapist. But I pay a lot for it because insurance doesn’t cover that!

  4. Chris permalink
    March 28, 2008 10:32 pm

    I am so lucky, I have two great doctors who treat my whole family. I found them just picking them off the PPO list but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

    Both of them (they share a caseload, one working mon-wed and the other working wed-fri) are our age and have kids our kids age, so I guess that helps.

    I can’t stand Drs act like they are gods.

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