Monday, November 15, 2010

Medical Offices

Last week I had 9 medical related appointments. By Friday I noticed a common thread among most of the medical offices. Now one would think with all the baby boomer generation now senior citizens,  medical personnel would figure out many more patients will be hiking with walkers or riding in wheelchairs and offices should be configured to accommodate them.  Guess again folks. I'm not even asking for automatic doors like at Wally World or the grocery stores, but how about a handicap accessible front door that automatically opens when a wheelchair operator gives a button a push?  Not to be. In fact the front doors, which weigh about the same as  6-ton dump trucks, open into ante-room cubicles approximately 4 by 4. They're so small I have to put my foot pedals up on my faithful chariot to maneuver through another door to my favorite area, the waiting room.

The term waiting room is appropiate because wait is what I do and not usually for a short period.  Even slow readers often start and finish tomes in the waiting room.  I don't quite understand why the receptionists always warn you to be on time - the docs never are. A guy can't even chat with the the front desk girls anymore cause they're so busy and they sit behind sliding glass, which I suspect is bullet proof. (Probably an insurance requirement in case Abdu-bin Abdu busts through the doors with TNT strapped to his body. I think that qualifies for cherry pink alert.)  And why are these rooms so small, especially if you're at a multi-doctor practice?

Finally my name is called and I start down a hall to see my wonderful PCP or specialist, whose ex-wives' alimony I'm probably paying. The places are like  mazes with narrow hallways and tiny offices. I think they were built for tests on big white mice. Even though I carry a reputation for adeptness at driving my power chair, I know I scrape a few walls and dent some doorways. 
 Next I sit in a real close imitation of a nun's cell, as I wait still longer. My Gal Friday normally bathes and shaves me bedore medical appointments, but by the time I actually lay eyes on a doctor, my face simulates 3 days' growth. After what seems like half my projected life span, the cold gets to me and I usually start shivering. The room temperatures qualify for hanging Angus beef. By the time the doc arrives they have to thaw me out with an old Bunsen burner someone finds in the storage room.

Since I've moved around trying to stay low and keep one step ahead of the law, I've had many family doctors...oops, I mean PCPs. I feel sorry for these guys. They shouldn't need to waste so much money on 4-year educations,  3 years of medical school and residency when needed. They shouldn't be required to have medical board certification anymore, just a general contractor's license. All these guys do is sub you out. You got a tummy ache - you are sent to the tummy ache specialist. If you suffer a bunion, off you limp to the bunion specialist. Got a wart on your derriere-well, let's not go there.

The clincher is this--after 8 previous appointments last week, when I arrived in the last waiting room, to kill time I watched a program on the T and V about how bad our American medical system actually is. Some celebrated doctor was telling the audience the cost per patient to receive medical services in our country doubled the cost of any other of the top 5 civilized nations. He followed that tidy bit of info with explaining that life expectancy in the good ole US of A was the lowest of the 5 countries.

Hmm, sure made me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

1 comment:

  1. Well. Nine doctor visits in one week is a story all by itself; certainly it's -- happily -- way out of my league. To your trevails I'd simply add the ridiculous business of having to complete a new health form for every physician's door you darken. Is it still beyond the technology -- and good sense -- to use the same one for every office you're required to visit? Is there ever anything that would change? Does a dermatologist actually need information that's significantly different from that you'd have to provide to, say, an orthopedist? And that, as you've suggested, is only the beginning.

    John K