How can I put this delicately?
If you try to wheel me away for an x-ray after I’ve refused three times, I will cut a bitch.
I know I may not look scary laying there in that hospital bed, clutching my ribs, my face bright red, trying to unkink my IV tubing. But tonight you should be scared.
I’m not dazzled by your fluorescent lights. Your jittery receptionist doesn’t phase me. You may be giving what you think are directions–but I’ve been around this block before and right now everything is just a suggestion.
And at this moment the other night, I was going to get three things: my doctor on the phone, a shot of benadryl, and a shot of (non-narcotic) pain medication.
And then I was going to go home, relax, take a bath–I had no plans to stick around in an exam room for three hours and why should I have to? I have a concierge doctor. I pay an obscene amount of money for a 24-year-old to invest in her own healthcare.
Most of my friends won’t even buy name-brand condoms.
But I do so for a reason. Because I have a rare disease. Because I have a hell of a time managing my pain. Because the only method I want to share my story over and over and over again is through an audio book. Not while my throat is swelling and I’m waiting for my doctor to call me back.
And for some reason when I was in the ER trying to get treatment for an allergic reaction last night, a different doctor called me back. I was confused.
Wouldn’t you be confused?
I mean if your doctor had a conversation with you and said specifically that if he were ever to be not on-call he’d forward my medical information to the on-call doctor, or he’d have him ring him directly but then none of that was set up ahead of time?
Yeah–That didn’t happen. Dr. Doesn’t-Know-Me-From-a-Hole-In-the-Wall attempted to handle my care last night–but what is the point in having TWO doctors–the on-call doctor and the ER doctor– who don’t know anything about my disease? Anyone, anyone?
The word you’re looking for is POINTLESS.
I was let down. This doctor knew I’d just come from a situation where I was taken care of for three years by a devoted doctor. When I left his practice and came to a new one I was expecting the same level of care. I had many talks with this new doctor to make sure he understood my condition, to feel comfortable that he would handle situations like this to reduce the chance of unnecessary tests, prolonged pain when in need of treatment, and alleviate the general stress of having your care directed by a bunch of (well-meaning) but ultimately un-educated doctors on your rare disease.
When calling the office the next day, his office assured me that “he wouldn’t have promised that because if he had to tell the other doctor about you, he’d have to tell him about all of his patients!”
Can we just pause right here.
When you’re a doctor with 2,000 patients in your practice and you dip out for the night and leave your patients on call with another partner in your practice–good for you! You’re running a standard, American internal medicine practice. We don’t have beef. You’re just doing your job.
But when you advertise yourself as a concierge practice and your number one benefit to your practice is that your doctor will be available by phone 24/7–and then he is not available and doesn’t have a competent back-up plan?
Then you’re not a concierge practice. You’re just charging me up the ass and around the corner for a service you don’t have the resources to deliver.
And to be honest, I don’t really know what to do. This isn’t like breaking up with a boyfriend. This is like needing to have a concierge doctor when there are only a handful of them in your area and most aren’t accepting new clients (POSSIBLY BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THEY HAVE TO KEEP THEIR PRACTICES SMALL TO SERVE THEIR PATIENTS AS THEY STATE THEY WILL IN THEIR CONTRACTS.)
So I’m going to just try and work this out. See if I can have another sit down with this doctor and reexamine how we can work together so that I’m not stranded in an ER with some pushy guy trying to wheel me out for an x-ray that I don’t need.
For the sake of my sanity I really need this one to be a fluke. A gap. A moment of poor management. I need it not to represent the standard of care I’m paying for.
Because I really can’t afford to be both broke and stupid.