Since The Turkey has been opining about doctors and decent health care, I decided I would join the “discussion.”
The Redhead’s Top Five Things I Hate about the U.S. Medical Profession
5. Physician’s Assistants. I agree with the Turkey on this one. When I go to the doctor, I want to see a doctor. P.A.’s are generally more arrogant than are doctors themselves. On a visit to my former OB/GYN’s office, I asked the P.A. a question of a personal nature (so I won’t mention it here). When the P.A. answered, she felt it necessary to do so by ending her sentence with “you silly girl.” My question might have been “silly” by her oh-so-knowledgable four year degree standards (okay, maybe two), but talking down to a patient in this manner is unacceptable. She may have been a P.A. at a gynecologist’s office, but she sure didn’t have much of a bedside manner.
4. Male gynecologists. Sorry, but I’m pretty sexist on this point. We still live in an era when male gynecologists think it’s okay to treat women’s hormonal issues with Valium and Xanax. Face it. You want to be a GYN because it’s the only true way you can act out your fantasies of domination over the female form and get paid big bucks to do it (other than direct porn films). If you want to be a doctor and you like dark, cavernous spaces, go to dental school.
3. “Would you please hold?” Of course, the fact that you’ve gotten this far warrants a celebration because that means you’ve just endured the recorded voice message system. But even if you visit a doctor who doesn’t use one of those dreadful systems (rare these days), it still irks when, as soon as the receptionist answers your call, she (yes, this still seems to be a profession where females dominate) immediately relegates you to the limbo of being on hold. Then you wait. And wait. God forbid there’s no muzak to keep you company while you wait because without it, you have no idea if you’re still even on hold. All you hear is eerie silence. Eventually however, she gets on the line…just as you’re about to give up and hang up. Maybe you already have.
I’ve often wondered if I would actually save time by just driving over to the office and making an appointment in person. It might be a mistake though. There might not be anyone there which leads me to:
2. Closing the office early. I called a doctor’s office the other day and a recorded message informed me that the doctor and staff were not in on Thursdays and Fridays. What is up with that? If you’re a doctor, you need to wrap your mind around the fact that your patients may get sick on days other than Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. I mean, I know that you work hard, on-call and all that, but do you really need four days off a week? Not only is that a disservice to your clients but to your employees who probably are forced to find second jobs so they can pay their bills. Doctors should practice medicine because they want to help people (an antiquated notion, I know), not because they want to spend their afternoons on the:
a. tennis court
b. golf course (god, what a cliche)
c. bed of their lover
Is this too much to ask? Apparently, it is.
1. Physicians who believe they are gods. A few years ago I visited a gastroenterologist I hadn’t seen before. I was having stomach problems which weren’t new to me. I knew that I needed a colonoscopy. Since I had experienced the pleasure before, I knew which medications I needed to take in order to make the procedure more comfortable. I related my desires to the doctor who sat in sort of a torpor afterwards. When I asked if there was something wrong, he said, “It seems like you just want to be the captain of the ship.” I responded, “When it comes to my body, I am the captain of the ship.” I mean, should this be a surprise? But no one had apparently ever challenged His Majesty before. Eventually, he agreed to do the procedure the way I wanted it done. But that’s unusual when it comes to doctors who think they know too much. Like the G.P. who mocked me when I requested a prescription for a bone density test. “You don’t need that,” he sneered. It didn’t matter that I was at the age when I should have had the test two years before. Hello? Do you keep up with the latest medical research?
Then there are the doctors who don’t like to answer questions. They whisk into the room, rush through your exam, and if you do manage to get words out in the form of a question, they are walking out the door while they answer. Maybe they don’t really have any answers. It’s all smoke and mirrors, oh, great and powerful, Oz.
This all may sound like I don’t care for physicians. Not true. I have a lot of respect for the skill and intelligence it takes to practice medicine in an honorable way. But the problem is too many doctors don’t honor it. They think they’re doing us a favor just by honoring us with their presence.
Of course the real #1 spot on this list should be shared by insurance and drug companies. But that’s a blog unto itself. Until then, I’ll probably be on hold, and since I’m a grown-up, I won’t get a lollipop when I finally do get an appointment. Life sucks.