The WEGOHEALTH Activist 30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 25
“As health activists, we are on a mission to innovate healthcare. If you could change one thing in the healthcare landscape right now, what would it be?”
This is something that really annoys me. The 15 minutes you get for your doctor visit. It’s okay for you wait 1-2 hours in the waiting room, but, when the doctor, after making you wait, comes in and hurriedly makes a diagnosis and comment that goes into your permanent medical record, it hardly seems fair, does it?
If you’re a patient with a chronic illness and you’ve been sitting and waiting that long, you’re tired, sick, and in pain. Maybe you’re a little anxious or at your wits end. After all, it’s been hours since you left your home. Maybe you’ve been listening to the conversations of other patients and their problems. Perhaps you’ve read one those health or medical magazines that tell you to “ask your doctor if this is right for you.” You have your list of questions and concerns and your trying to figure out how to get them all answered in 15 minutes.
You know the drill. The nurse comes in and takes your vitals, asks what medications your on and why your there. They ask about changes from your last appointment. Then they leave.
You sit there, on the exam table, legs dangling, waiting. You wait some more. You look at your phone. You’ve been here over two hours now. You’re late for the next appointment. That doctor charges $25.00 for no shows and if you miss it, you’ll have to wait months for a new appointment. Should you call? The sign on the wall says, “Please turn off your cell phone.” Just then, the doctor comes in with a computer in hand.
” So what brings you in today?” They sit down at the desk and begin to read and type. You’re asked the same questions that the nurse asked you a little while ago. You answer. The doctor types. More questions. More answers. The decision is made.
You get a script. You try to address the questions you have on the crumbled up piece of paper that you’ve been clenching in your fist. There’s no time. The doctor gets up and moves towards the door. Except for the vitals, you were never touched. There was no physical exam. You try to voice a concern and the doctor’s hand goes on the door knob.
” I’m sorry, but your time is up, you’ll have to discuss that at your next appointment or call the PA and make an appointment. ” As they complete the sentence, they close the door behind them.
You feel frustrated, exasperated and dejected. Most of all, you still feel the same way as you did before you left the house. You don’t know what to do about your condition or how to improve.
The nurse comes back in and hands you your script and check out papers. You’re directed to check out where they make your next appointment. You look at your diagnosis for today’s visit. All the same conditions are there except the doctor has added a new one. Anxiety. You leave, finish your day, go back to your home and fall into bed.
These are the doctor appointments that I would like to see change for people with chronic illness.
This was just a fictional scenario, but, it does still happen to patients in the healthcare system today. The business of illness has at times, overshadowed the life of the patient.
Fortunately, for me, this doesn’t happen anymore. It doesn’t because I don’t go to doctors who are under this insurance and corporate fueled system of care.
When I was a little girl. I had to wait in a big waiting room to see the neighborhood family doctor. There were no appointments. You just showed up, took a seat, and waited. Sometimes my mother brought me lunch. Because I loved to read, I didn’t mind sitting there for hours. The difference was, when the doctor finally did see you, you got a full physical, all of his time and attention, and sometimes a procedure. He even stocked his medicine. I’ll be writing about him soon. He was worth the wait.