how the hell do they do it?

Yesterday, I called my doctor’s office twice.  The second call was admittedly very sheepishly made.

Call #1, on my coffee break, was to ask if I should make an appointment to go over the latest round of tests he ordered.  I was told yes, and set it up for spring break – when it would have a less dramatic impact on work.

Call #2 was made after lunch when the sore throat that has been nagging at me for the last two days went into overdrive.  Let me clarify.  It’s not a sore all over throat.  It’s one sided tonsillitis, it’s chronic, and it can go from zero to 80 in a day once it gets going.  Last time, it turned into an abscess so I try to keep on top of it when it gets going.  So yesterday, when I found that it hurt to swallow, to chew, and I was having chills, I called.  Yes, he could see me.  At 7:30 PM.

I rolled in at about 7:25 and waited about an hour in the waiting room.  Then another wait in the exam room.  The nurse chatted with me about my cat (my husband had his iPod out which had a picture of our recently departed long loved cat on it), looked at my bright red ear and hands and said “Do they always do that?”  “Yup.  They’re worse in the evenings.  And it’s worst when the weather’s changing,” I told her, not wanting to add an evaluation of these symptoms to the late night mix.  “Feet too?” she asked, looking concerned. “Yes, but this is old news…not what I’m here for right now.”

She left. While I was waiting for the doctor, I could hear him in another room with a patient, chatting and laughing his rather contagious laugh.  “Ok, so what’s up?” he said when he came in to my room, and started flipping through the many pages of lab results on the front of my chart.  “Sore throat,” I said.  He laughed, said “oh my god, something SIMPLE!” but kept looking at the labs. I said “We’re going over all that crap,” gesturing to the labs “on St. Patrick’s day.  Today’s just sore throat.”  Flip flip flip… “You just can’t help yourself, can you?” I asked.  “Nothing too odd, I think the gastrin’s not back yet,” I told him.  “Really, it’s ok to save that for later.”  And so we proceeded to history, exam, and throat swabbing stages in rather quick order.  Penicillin, do I want something for pain?  “I have viscous lidocaine, I think I’m good”.  “Really?  You don’t need anything else?” he asked.  “No, I mean I have a topical pain med and I can take advil and tylenol, what else would someone take?” I asked.  “Vicodin,” and something with codeine, he added.  “Nah, look, I don’t like narcotics.  I don’t like how they make me feel so I try not to take them.”  “Ok.  I just don’t like people to be in pain,” he said.  “It’s ok, really.  I may be calling you about a thrush or yeast infection in a few days so maybe you can make a note…and maybe be ready to call in some diflucan, but otherwise I think I’ll be ok.”

I  can’t imagine how they can be anything other than depleted and wretched when still seeing patients at 9:00 PM on a Friday (I got out at quarter of nine, and the last patient had just been slotted into a room).  Even if this guy doesn’t figure out what all is causing these annoying symptoms of mine, he and his staff have my respect for being able to handle my stupid sore throat at nearly 9:00 PM on a Friday night with thoroughness and good cheer.

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  1. R. G. Maines

     /  March 5, 2011

    It’s good that they’ll stay there that long, at least they’re in the office. My doctor takes a half day off every Friday and is chronically behind, running an hour or more late.

    Glad you were able to get in and be seen in a timely way, Kudos to your doctor!

    • He’s out of the office on Tuesdays, sometimes the other staff are in but no Tuesday appointments. Mine’s always behind, but I try not to let it bother me. I know the reason for it is that he spends an incredible amount of time with his patients.


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