Dr. Feelgood

It’s been a long day and I desperately want to shut off the PC and go to sleep but I’ve also been wanting to post all day long. Which to do? Turn off and go to sleep or try to slog through a post I know won’t be nearly as interesting as it could’ve been and will not be timely at all come the morrow? It’s a quandry. I’m going to try to err on the side of simply updating the blog since I haven’t been able to do so in several days.

But, you know what, I know it’s not going to be interesting. I don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm or the words to tell the story like I wanted to tell it and it pisses me off that I can only get to it at 11:oo p.m. Don’t know when else I would have posted though. I had a doctor’s appointment first thing this morning, was at work until 8:00 p.m. and then working from home until right about now. It’s been a long day.

I wanted to tell the story of my doctor’s appointment but the good has leached out of the story now. My frame of mind has changed because I’m so tired. Not even sure I want to attempt. It doesn’t feel right.

Anyway, I have been unhappy with my primary care physician for some while now. He was uncommunicative, gave me very cursory examinations (when he examined me at all) and would rather write unsubstantiated subscriptions than actually attempt to diagnose what was going on with me. He also had clammy hands. That was more than I could bear.

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a new doctor but didn’t have any way of finding one short of using my insurer’s website. Being as that is how I found my old physician, I didn’t want to do that again. Since that was the only thing left for me to do, I did it anyway. I choose a doctor based on proximity to my home and bit the bullet.

This morning, I had my first appointment with the new doctor. It was a real joy.  The doctor was engaging and engaged, actually examined me, listened to my symptoms, talked to me about my medical history and that of my family and, as he gave me prescriptions, told me why he was doing so and what next steps might be. He even made suggestions based on observations he made without any help or prompting from me.

And they didn’t keep me waiting at all. It was funny. The old doctor would keep me waiting an hour-and-a-half. The good thing about this is that I could get a lot of reading done. The bad thing (other than I had to wait forever) was that all the magazines were three years old.  At the new place, they have plenty of current magazines just lying around. The bad thing is that I didn’t have any time to read any of them. Every time I picked one up, a nurse would pop up and call my name. I guess promptitude of service is a two-edged sword.

Just so you know, I was there for a basic physical. I had an EKG, updated my tetanus shot and gave the obligatory blood and urine samples. The EKG was normal and the lab results on the rest are not due for another two weeks (Aside: the nurse had to shave patches of my chest and legs in order to attach the EKG stuff. I did the whole “40 Year-Old Virgin” thing. The nurse appreciated when I screamed for Kelly Clarkson.)

I went in fearful that, since my age is advancing, that I would have to undergo the shame and humiliation that is the prostate exam. I was relieved to know that I probably wouldn’t be due for that for another two years. I did, however, have to suffer the indignation of the “turn your head and cough” routine.  You’ll be happy to know that all is well on that front.

I do have some minor complaints that I brought to the attention of the doc. They are:  my knee (diagnosis: strained ligament. subscription: anti-inflammatory, rest), my eyes (diagnosis: blepharitis, subscription: sterile eye wash) and bald patches on my calves (diagnosis: alopecia. subscription: propecia).

The doctor, of his own accord, suggested I might take the propecia for the thinning hair atop my head, too. I told I’d take it under advisement. What is it with doctor’s these days? The last one told me I was fat and this one tells me I’m balding. Thanks, docs!

Anyway, all appears to be well or soon to be well. Really looking forward to getting my eyes and my knee back. Getting my hair back would be a great bonus.

Physician, Rate Thyself

Have you ever had an idea for an invention or a business or a website right before you find the exact thing you thought up? That happened to me just now.

I’m in the market for a new doctor and an orthopedist and a dentist and an optometrist and a dermatologist so I spent some time on my insurance provider’s website today looking for physicians that are in my provider network.

The problem is that, while you can find doctors that are near where you work or live and while you can find doctors that practice a given specialty, you can’t find out whether the doctor is any good or not.

This is why I’m in the market for a new doctor in the first place. I choose my current doctor based on proximity to my home and that’s pretty much the only criterion of mine that he meets.

Actually, I moved. He doesn’t even meet that criterion any more.

I did solicit referrals from my friends, btw. All I got were recommendations for various gynecologist. Very funny people, my friends.

Besides no longer being close to my home, my doctor also just doesn’t listen. I can enumerate symptoms but it doesn’t matter. He has me diagnosed within the first five syllables. I’ve visited the man twice in the last three months and he’s charged me $62 dollars in co-pay to refer me to an Orthopedist and to administer and prescribe both antibiotics and anti-allergens, just to cover his bases.

I have to pay for both those medicines, asshat, and I’d rather know what’s wrong with me than have you write it off as “allergies”. Last time I checked, most allergies didn’t involve people hacking up gobs of yellow phlegm for six weeks running.

He didn’t even recommend a particular Orthopedist. Just an Orthopedist. “Find one on your provider website”, he says. “That’s how I found you, jackass”, says I.

His diagnoses may or may not be correct but it’s fairly obvious the man is more interested in churning out patients than in getting them healthy. He’s anti-personable, averse to human contact, overly quick to diagnose and makes me wait an hour for the privilege.

And he has clammy hands. That creeps me out. Seriously.

He also takes off every Friday. Suddenly I realize why medical care is so expensive and why doctors are treating patients with a turnstile. Doctors have to earn a full salary working only four days a week. Nice work if you can get it.

The whole experience is so poor that I put off going to the doctor just because it’s such a useless ordeal. I just end up diagnosing myself over the internet and avoiding all the unpleasantness. The only reason I even go to the doctor is because I can’t prescribe my own antibiotics and I needed his referral for the Orthopedist to avoid being screwed by my insurance company. After all, he is my “primary care” physician.

Anyway, the point is that I came up with this idea for a website in which people could rate doctors and search for them by insurance provider. Kind of like an angieslist.com for physicians.

Then I find this. A Zagat Guide for doctors?

My work here is done.