After reading Impatient Patient I was ready with a comment that went on and on, until I thought better and decided my comment would make a better blog. So after a rest, I decided to share my story.
I really do feel fortunate to live in a country, and at a time, where good medical care is available, as I wrote in So Spoiled. While I am grateful for my excellent doctors, I am testy lately.
Hubby works in a hospital, and talked to everyone about the doctor’s and learned everything he could about our caregiver options. I volunteer in the hospital, and when they hear who I have chosen for my for my PCP, Primary Care Physician, they seem to relax in the knowledge that I am getting good care. And yet….
All medical people know that medicine can’t fix everything. Medicine is an art, a practice. Refined and increased with each case building upon the last case is how medical knowledge grows.
Knowing this, I can still relate to the Impatient Patient. When I am sick, I want an appointment now. I do not want to wait till the next day, because I’ve already been dithering about the decision to see a doctor for five days. Another day, logically, will make no difference, but I am really sick, and I want relief, if not a cure. All the OTC, over the counter, stuff I usually take isn’t working. I need help, and I want it now.
That is not how the world works. Doctors have to schedule in advance. Preventive medicine seems to take precedence over the average illness. I had one doctor who had two appointment times during the day. The patient could pick one, either 9 a.m. or Noon. You would wait, and the doctor would stay as long as it took to see everyone. The Doctor was excellent, with a very good reputation and in high demand. This was not enough for me to stay his patient. I was not happy with preventive medicine patients and those with illness that might be contagious sitting side by side for hours.
My current doctor is more the norm. He staggers scheduling of patients throughout the day. A wait of 20 minutes or more is very unusual. But let’s get back to me, who has been sick for 5 days, and if I have to wait till Monday, 7 days. I am lucky if I can get an appointment on the next business day. After being miserable for so long, I debate if it would be an abuse of urgent care to go there. I usually, but not always, wait for the next available appointment. Usually, this is the correct choice, and my doctor has something in the little black bag to help me.
Recently I’ve had several trips to the doctor. There are no tricks in his little black bag. Technically, I have had four different diagnosis. I’ve been on three courses of antibiotics, two courses of steroids, and had to wait a minimum of two to three weeks between appointments, plus be rescheduled when the doctor had to go out-of-town for some reason.
After my first course of antibiotics and steroids, I knew I was feeling no better, and went back to the doctor. My lungs were clear and I was getting better, he said. Just over two weeks later I was in his office again, the cough won’t quit and my entire chest is in pain. Meanwhile, my cough is taking a toll on my entire body. I was coping with the physical repercussions of this continuing cough, and my complaints received compliments on my handling of them. Those complaints are for another time after we have dealt with the cough.
Previous allergy testing was negative, for anything. Should I try that again? The Ear Nose and Throat specialist found there was congestion, but no infection, and a polyp, scheduled for removal. My x-rays were negative. When delay threatened my testing by respiratory, I burst into tears.
I have no idea why, but my cough is easing. Am I getting better? My life has been seriously modified by this prolonged annoying cough. I am not yet well enough to resume water aerobics and swimming, I cautiously have resumed some of my other activity. Last week a couple of nurses I know from volunteering said I was starting to look better.
If I were a doctor and saw it was me walking into their office with a cough, I would run.