run away

A few weeks ago, I got a letter from my neurologist saying that as of this past Friday, he was closing his office.  Actually, what he said was that he would “no longer be seeing patients in” (my state).  He cites “recent changes in” local “healthcare environment, with its changed goals and philosophy” which “would hinder (his) performance and negate (his) ability to practice effectively.”

Less than a month’s notice.  I saw him in July and no head’s up.  The first part of the the semester (especially the Fall semester) is exceptionally busy for me at work.   Despite going to work every day thinking “Ok, today I am going to call Neuro doc about records and meds”, I would find myself at the end of my doctor’s business day realizing that I was again out of time to call.  So am without a neurologist, without a record of things that I’d rather not go through again any time soon like two EMGs and a prolonged unpleasant EEG while I was migrainey, and (I just discovered after opening the drugstore bag for the med I had on automatic refill that I thought was my amitriptyline but which turned out to be fioricet) out of med and out of refills.

I can’t help thinking that if my neurologist was leaving as a result of a well thought out and carefully considered philosophical stance, he certainly would have had the time to have executed it more gracefully.  Perhaps give his patients a little more notice so they could transition to another neurologist?  The wait to see someone new is considerable, much more than the three weeks spanning two major Jewish holidays and a long weekend that I got between receiving the letter and his office closing.  I feel rather pissed off at him for how he chose to do this.  I hope I am wrong, but rather than seeming like the carefully considered decision,  it comes across as like a manipulative tantrum.  I feel like he could not have failed to realize that he’d be “inconveniencing” his former patients with this avoidably abrupt timeline and that he chose to make us feel upset and angry in the hope that we would turn those feelings on the “recent changes” in the “healthcare environment”.  Sorry man, it doesn’t work like that.  If you want me to respect your choice, you need to own it, and own all of it.  Maybe he had been weighing this decision for some time, maybe there was some unanticipated deadline on what he wanted to do next or on what he’d need have needed to do to keep in practice here, and so he had to act abruptly.  This is truly the only legit, respectable reason I can think of for his handling the departure like this.  But then tell the patients that.  Or better yet, show a fraction of respect for patient’s time that they have had to show for their doctors’ time over the years.

I’ll miss him, but a lot less now that he left like a thief in the night.  I guess I should have a chat with my primary care doc to see if he’s entertaining similar thoughts of running away.  My GI doc, well I’d be happy if she would.  She could bugger right off and it wouldn’t affect me one bit, no wait, actually it would make things easier since I could explain dropping her in a way that doesn’t immediately raise “doctor shopper” flags.

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  1. Forgot to read this. Haha about the Jewish High Holidays–so E. Coast! They must shut the hospitals down. I have a long story about the NIH for another day. I booked an appt. really far out with one of my docs w/o my date book with me (yes, no fancy phone here) and had to call and tell them he wouldn’t be in that day (“why not?”) and I wouldn’t be available, either (not that I go to temple anymore, but I have to pretend I’ll be there).

    You know, I had a doc yrs ago who closed his practice over a similar thing, but at least we got lots of notice and some records. He felt bad and gave me a hug (really!), but it was after Obama was elected and I think he was a big right-winger and thought we were going to turn into a socialist state or something. He even put up petitions in the waiting room. Odd! Maybe he knows this guy.

    Reply
    • Hah, sounds like they did know each other! Or should. Ah, holidays. My birthday is right around or on them. Not a lot of celebrating the three years I was at Northeaster Largely-Jewish University. It was like “who wants cake and pizza? Oh shit, everyone’s fasting. My bad. Well, me and the other shiksa on the hall will be over here enjoying our meat and cheese pizza….” D’oh.

      Reply
      • Lol! Too funny. I’ve never fasted in my life–that’s why I sneak around on the holidays so no one sees me w/my huge necklace getting takeout kabobs from the Afghan place. We’d go to Yom Kippur services and then out to lunch! My father said we didn’t fast b/c we were hypoglycemic (what about my mother?) and I really am, not that he is, unless it was one of his mystery diseases. Such a putz. That’s why I never had my follow-up endoscopy as the fasting (no breakfast) about killed me and they had to give me fluids! Meanwhile, my father (with his massive GERD) gets scoped up and down yearly–I think he enjoys it.

        Seattle is so ultra-Reform-y and the few Conservative kids I knew called my huge temple a church. Then, I went to middle school #2 with some kid who went to the 1 Orthodox temple in Seattle (aside from the Sephardic one) and I went to his Bar Mitzvah in a sleeveless sundress–like I was the shiksa! It’s not like my mother said anything or I had a clue. Luckily, one of the moms I knew had cardigans for the shiksa girls who would be dressed inappropriately and I ended up in that category. Terrible. I would probably be an odd ball in your parts (or NYC–omg).

        Unlike my family (and atheist, evil grandmother), I don’t eat pork–mainly b/c I don’t care for meat much aside from STEAK–and I don’t eat bread during Passover, but I’m also gluten-intolerant so that’s easy. I do eat rice b/c my step-family is Sephardic and rice is allowed, so there you go. Ohhh, my late step-grandma made the best food–straight from Turkey and Greece. I sort of picked up those traditions that my family lost from them and have belonged to synagogues as an adult, but they’re too much money (ridiculous) and it hurts to sit. I really like our traditions, but am not religious in the sense of praying to a higher power and all that. OK, my Jewish story for tonight/today. I’ll save my story about growing up across from a HUGE, Catholic church for another day. I even went to Mass with my neighbor once as a kid–the hanging Jesus was really creepy! 🙂

      • Most of my dorm-mates didn’t fast so much, but they sort of drew the line at having a meat and cheese pizza on a fasting day. Oh turkey and greece, yes, I’ll be that was some good food. I am in love with good falafel, and miss it TERRIBLY. Most of my friends who were really really lax about their heritage/religion in college got a bit more into it as we’ve aged. I can imagine the sitting is a problem…yowch. Huge catholic church, yes! The crucifix jesus is creepy. Always scared me as a kid.

  2. I care so much about people that I can’t conceive of a doctor who runs away like that. At least A got a hug…

    Oh and the “hanging Jesus” lol – even as a catholic I always though it was creepy and my dad used to talk about him all the time “When you do something bad, Jesus sees you…”.

    Reply
    • :/ I know, and now I’m stuck with this strange story to tell new neurologists. I thought, initially, at least I won’t get judged for doctor shopping since it’s not like I left him. How strange to find out it’s still somehow my problem. Meh.

      Reply
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