My Trip to the Clinic circa January 2011
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Don't know why this wasn't a public blog a year ago, but I just found it in my private journal. It still gets my blood boiling more than a year later, so I thought I'd share it.. It appears that I intended it as a blog, but for some reason kept it private.. Here goes...remember, this happened a year ago..
well, okay, I know that's a bit extreme, but I'll bet it got your attention!! Truth be told, I have been miserably sick: coughing up a storm, sinuses aching so much I felt like my face was going to explode, my throat so sore it felt like sandpaper.. But, surprise, surprise, I went to the walk in clinic the other day and had neither bronchitis (I was sure I did) nor a sinus infection (but my TEETH are killing me!) nor strep (well, okay, I wasn't sure I had that, but it was a possibility). Nope, I had what the not so impressive nurse practitioner who examined me described as "a really bad cold."
Why am I writing about this? I don't know, I guess because I'm wondering some things, and where better to work through things you're wondering than a blog??
My regular doctor is in Boston, which is about 30 miles and a whole lot of traffic away. I was just so sick, I could not bring myself to drive to Boston, so I checked with my insurance company and they said I could go to this clinic that was much closer and a much easier drive away.
So off I went to the clinic, which is located inside a drug store. When I got there, there was a door with the name of the clinic on the outside, and a woman in a white coat sitting at a computer reading a magazine. The door was half ajar, and right outside there was a computerized kiosk. I've never been to this place, so it was taking me a minute to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do.
Suddenly, she looks up at me and says, not "can I help you?" but "yes?" So I said, "I'd like to be seen." She responds, "for what?" So I launch into what's wrong with me..she tears her eyes away from the People magazine she's reading and says, "oh, well you have to sign in."
So now that she has me feel a little silly, I sign myself in. She never bothers to look at me again, so I finish up and stand there, watching her read, and still, she does not look up. So, not wanting to assume anything (like that when someone says what do you want to be seen for they actually care about the answer), I walk away from the half open door and sit in one of the seats designated as the clinic wating area.
I no sooner had sit myself down when she begins to talk to me, from her seat behind the door, so that I now had to get up to hear what she was saying, which was that I could now enter her office. So in I walk, and without so much of an introduction like "my name is ...." she tells me to sit and adjusts her attention from the magazine in front of her to the computer screen. Once again, she asks why I am there, and once again, I begin to tell her my list of symptoms.. She is clearly going through some kind of script, because it is VERY important that she gets me to articulate what my BIGGEST complaint is.. I keep telling her that changes by the minute, one second it's the cough wracking my body, the next it's the fact that my head feels like it's going to explode...but she insists that I name ONE thing... so by now, I'm wondering why I can't just answer the questions in the computer that she's reading to me, but I patiently keep answering because, well, I was there and needed to get this done..
So she begins her examination. She takes my blood pressure. I inform her, before she does, that it will likely be a bit high because it always tends to be high when I'm seeing the doc, that my doc keeps close tabs on this situation, and that I report reguarly to my doc regarding my home BP and when I monitor it at home and it's okay. She asks me if I've had my own cuff checked out to make sure it's accurate and I tell her that I have brought it with me to the doc and it has checked out. So my BP reads 140/73..top number a bit high, bottom okay, but typical of what we get at the doc's, about 15 pts. higher than what I get at home on top, a little lower than usual on the bottom. Remember this conversation..
Then, she listens to my lungs. She asks me to take a deep breath through my mouth, which I do, and quite unexpectedly I launch into a coughing fit, the first cough of which was not covered up by me because it was so fast and unexpected...her response? To immediately tell me how important it is that when I cough I cover my mouth.. Now mind you, first of all, it's not like I coughed in her face, she was behind me, and second, she had just asked someone who has described a bad cough as her primary complaint to take a deep breath into her lungs, is it really that uncommon that such an act would produce an immediate coughing fit? At that point, we had to stop the examination so she could reach for her bottle of purel, put some in her hands and some in mine (did I mention that she was BEHIND me when I coughed???). She then finished the exam. I would say that while I was in the room with her, she grabbed the purel bottle and used it no less than 5 times.
When she found my lungs sounded okay and checked me out for everything else and decided I didn't have bronchitis or a sinus infection or strep, and began talking about what OTC remedies might work, she begins differentiating between medicines that are appropriate for high blood pressure patients and not. And then she makes a statement something like "if you really don't have a blood pressure issue." WHY THE F@CK WOULD I LIE??? I go to a doctor who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital (she knows this because she has looked up my doc's name in a directory), one of the finest health institutions in our state, if not the country or even the world, I have explained my personal BP issue to her, tell her I am closely monitored by my doc on the issue, and she responds like I have either lied to her or don't know what I'm talking about..
So, why am I telling this story? Because I don't understand why someone who clearly has no interest in developing any kind of personal rapport with other human beings becomes a nurse practitioner. I wonder why someone who is at least germophobic if not outright obsessive/compulsive about the matter works as the ONE DEEP employee at a walk in clinic. I write because I think it is so sad that our health care industry has to be so worried about liability that practitioners have to discount what they are told by the people they care for.
This was a terrible experience with a health care provider. I likely will never return to this clinic.