Thursday, December 06, 2007

Doctor Rant

Image from Made in ENGLAND by Gentlemen

I love my primary care physician, she is an MIT graduate in Course 2 (Mechanical Engineering) which means she has perfect credentials (i.e. exactly the same as me). Wait, that doesn't qualify me to be a doctor... Oh yeah, she went medical school as well, details. Anyway, I had been running a high fever since Friday night with some minor coughing. On Monday, I couldn't schedule my usual doctor for urgent care so I ended seeing another doctor in the group and I was not impressed. Today, I had to go back again because I am STILL SICK and got another doctor and what a difference! So much so, I became infuriated thinking about my first experience. The first doctor was a young Indian woman (I have nothing against them in general, just this one). She looked me over extremely quickly, glancing in my ears and throat, listening to my lungs for a millisecond in each spot over my shirt, taking all of 15 seconds to do the entire exam. This is how the conversation went (my thoughts in parens, I was too polite and too sick to speak up). She had a flippant attitude the entire time, like she wasn't impressed with my illness.
Doc 1: Looks like you have the flu.

Me: But I had a flu shot.

Doc 1: When did you get it?

Me: Beginning of November (actually end of October)

Doc 1: It takes 21 days to become effective.

Me: It's been longer than that.

Doc 1: I think it's viral so you don't need antibiotics, you should start feeling better in 3-4 days.

Me: Okay. (What the hell do you mean, anytime I have a barely controllable fever that goes over 103°F for more than three days, I need some freakin' antibiotics!#!!@!#! That's why I came here in the first place!)

Doc 1: Just keep taking your Tylenol and Motrin and alternating them. If every 4 hours doesn't work, try every three hours.

Me: Okay. (Are you trying to overdose me or what? I know the Motrin says do not exceed 6 tablets in 24 hours and the Tylenol says do not exceed 8 tablets in 24 hours. I have those bottles memorized!)

Doc 1: (type type type on a laptop) I'm ordering a blood test and a chest x-ray just in case you have some pneumonia hiding in there. I'm sure they will be fine.

Me: Okay. (If you actually listened to my lungs, you would've heard they were clear. And if you're sure it will be fine why are you ordering an x-ray? To appease me or something?)

Doc 1: (leaving) It's down the hall and down the stairs.

Me: What? Where?
She finally slows down for one second to point out where I need to go. While I was waiting for my x-ray, I told the desk that I decided not to have it. She asked why and I told her because I didn't think I needed it. I got a call later from the nurse saying that my potassium level was slightly low, so eat more bananas, broccoli, etc. What kind of freakin' blood test did she order? Does my not eating in the last three days have anything to do with it?!?! Did you check my cholesterol too?

So six days into this illness, my fever is the same (as I suspected) and the coughing is much worse. Today, I got an appointment with an older Chinese man, one I've seen before and who magically cured me from a two month long illness two years ago with an antibiotic safe for use while nursing. He spent at least four times as long looking me over, listening for a full second in each spot under my shirt, in about three times as many spots. This is how the conversation went:
Doc 2: Well your lungs sound clear, but there still may be something there. Would you like an x-ray?

Me: Not really.

Doc 2: How about this, would you like to try some moderately aggressive antibiotics and see if you improve?

Me: Yes (Hallelujah!)

Doc 2: Would you like some cough medicine with Codeine?

Me: No, I should be fine without that.

Doc 2: I'll just print a paper prescription so if you change your mind you'll have that option. The cough might be with you for a while after your fever goes away.

Doc 2: Do you have any questions?

Me: No. (Will you adopt me?)
What an angel! He took his time, was respectful, asked for my input, and was even humorous during the exam. We even discussed exactly which antibiotic to use as I wanted to avoid another Zithromax disaster. Is that so hard to do in this day and age? I still gotta perfect the right number of days to wait before seeing the doctor to guarantee getting some drugs. Obviously three is too little and six is unbearable. I'll try for five next time.


Julie Pippert said...

Oh ARGH. That first doctor. I ran into something like that at the ER once. She marked me down as having a cold, when it was an allergic reaction to peanuts. She was unbelievably patronizing and dismissive. Two years later...still fighting that medical bill!

Sorry you had to go twice. But at least you got the second doctor, and hopefully the cure.

Get well soon!

Using My Words

Melissa said...

I can do Julie one better...I had one run a freakin' cat scan on me for a kidney stone. I call that bill my invisible car. Almost paid though...

Get better soon!