The Doctor Will See You Now

How long do you normally wait to see the doctor?

I haven’t been to a doctor (outside of seeing multiple ones every day) since….well, probably since I started residency. The few times I have been (dermatologist, random ER visit to get flu swab) I haven’t waited too long, which has been great. I’m not sure if this is a perk of being a resident (and the person knowing I need to run back to wherever I need to be) or just how the “world works” these days. I remember feeling like I waited hours for the doctor as a kid.

One of the best part’s about my residency is getting to work at Bellevue. Its the nation’s oldest public hospital (I think) and the saying “if you don’t see it here, you won’t” is very true. I mean, there is a clinic specifically for Hansen’s Disease (another name for leprosy) or Hepatitis in Asian Americans.

While there are many things that amaze me about Bellevue (chief among them, how everything still comes together despite some long lines, red tape, and fax machines), one of the most impressive aspects is our clinic. Moreover, how long our patients wait to be seen in clinic.

I’ve never asked specifically, but I’m fairly certain our patients wait hours to even be called back. Our clinical volume is high and, trust me, the doctors/NPs/PAs are usually working double time to see everyone [I’ve learned to eat really fast and look up patients to be seen while shoving down lunch]. The fact that patients will keep their appointments and keep coming back (for years) is astounding to me. Some complain. Many don’t. Many are so grateful.

Last week, I was wrapping up my clinic and one of the PCTs noticed a woman wandering the halls with her baby. Somehow her chart had been misplaced (chart meaning a slip of paper) and she wasn’t in any of the boxes to be seen. She had waited three hours with her 6 week old baby just to be seen for her post partum visit (usually fairly quick and uncomplicated). I felt so awful for her.

[She was seen.]

In other news, I slept approximately 16 hours on Christmas. Thank you, Santa and baby Jesus.

Finally, I was filling out forms for physical therapy. I’ve spoken about forms before. I find these to be hard. I always write little comments on the side like “No, I’m not dying and this pain in my IT band/back/hamstring/adductor isn’t life threatening, but it hurts when I run and running is my sanity fix so, indeed, if may be life threatening” or “I can still do everything, my activities of daily living…so I guess its not that bad…do I still qualify for this?”

I’m also really averse to put me social security number on anything. Anyone else?

Alright that’s all, I gotta sleep.

Night night.

Until next time…

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One thought on “The Doctor Will See You Now

  1. Have you ever tried Feldenkrais? I think it might help you with the pain you are having. Once you learn the techniques you can do it at home. Well, at your apartment. I don’t wait long at the doctor’s office either. I can barely load my new Instagrams before they whisk me out of my seat at the dermatologists office. Also my internist switched his practice last year to a concierge practice. He went from seeing several thousand to seeing several hundred. I made the cut.

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