Friday, October 20, 2006

Primary Care

My whole life, until the shrink and I hashed it out, I did all I could to make everybody else comfortable, and be tactful, and diplomatic, and smooth things over. This is how I ended up the Executrix of the Estate of Clusterfuck. My parents left the kid who knew how to get shit done in charge.

Well, I can tell you right now; homey don’t play that anymore. Now I look out for myself, and if you have a problem with me telling you no then that is YOUR problem. If you do not like me because I do not drop everything to respond to you alarmist tendencies, well, bummer, I will somehow soldier on. However, I still sometimes have trouble with conflict in some situations.

When I changed jobs I ended up with new health insurance, it sucks by the way, where I had to name a new primary care physician. Now, this was a bummer for me. I was used to just seeing whomever I wanted, whenever I wanted. In spite of my apparent propensity for health related disaster based solely on the realities of genetics, I am quite healthy. I am allergic to all kinds of stuff, but do not have any diseases, or illnesses, or defects. I am much healthier than either of my parents was at my age, and I am much healthier than all my siblings. I’m not sick, or crazy, or an addict of some kind. Being Catholic, I, of course, have guilt about winning the genetic lottery.

So, I met with the new primary care physician a few times. It is amazing what stress can do to you. I was miserable with my allergies, and even got strep throat for the first time in over a decade. I even actually got sick once with the flu and once with bronchitis. There were a few things I did not like about the new doctor’s office. It seemed like the people who greeted you, took your co-pay, and fielded questions were not much help, and also had a knack for rudely and loudly discussing patients who had left the room. I am not good at sticking up for myself when people are nasty or inappropriate, or infiltrate my boundaries. I always think I am being too sensitive.

A lot of what a doctor learns in school is just a basic jumping off point. The expertise comes with the acknowledgement of intuition, experience, and the accumulation of the ability to grasp and adjust to subtleties. I believe as a patient I have not only a right, but also an obligation, to understand what tests I am having and why I am having them. My doctor disagreed and informed me that she is the doctor, and I have no right to question the reason for a test, or to have the results explained to me. She screeched at me and gave a me a long lecture about how sick she is of people who think they have any business in making decisions about their own care. I found this to be unmitigated bullshit.

After that debacle, I decided to drop that doctor as a caregiver for myself. When it comes to doctors, I don’t give a shit if I like you. I’m coming to see you because of your expertise in a realm of health care for which I am a consumer. I am not coming to see you to invite you tea. I care that the doctor knows what they are doing, instills a sense of trust in their judgement, and behaves professionally. If it comes to the point where you have to stand in a hospital in the middle of the night and tell the people who love me you did everything you could, I want them to know you really did, and you really knew what you were doing when you did it.

1 comment:

SkippyMom said...

She was upset because you wanted to make decisions regarding your own care?

Did you set a land speed record running out of that office?

I hope so....that is gawdawful...they are DOCTORS - they have slightly more education than a lot of us...and don't live in our bodies....jeesh...I didn't realize any Dr. alive still thought that way...