Monday, September 14, 2009

A Letter to My Doctor

Health care, and its shortcomings, are all over the news these days.  Like everything else, there is room for impovement in the health care industry.  But today, I am very happy with the health care I received and thought I must say it.

I couldn't sleep last night.  The minute I laid down, it felt like my lungs began shrinking in until I couldn't breathe.  I moved downstairs to the reclining chair, maybe sitting up would work better.  Still couldn't sleep.  My husband was nice enough to sleep on the couch downstairs with me (I think he feels bad about the jimmie jar).  I wheezed and coughed and worried my way through the night.

When I called my doctor's office this morning and described my symptoms, they had me come right over.  Thirty minutes later, I walked into a packed waiting room.  I felt guilty as I sat down in the last chair -- I would have tried not to sit near anyone.  I settled in for a long wait because I knew they would we working me into what was clearly a busy schedule.

They called me back within 5 minutes.

My doctor was in to see me within 2 minutes.  He listened, he poked, he prodded, and he wrote out a bunch of prescriptions.  It seems I have severe broncitis . . . this is what I get for ignoring a cough for most of the summer.  He gently patted me on the arm and told me I'd be feeling better very soon and that he'd see me again in two weeks. 

I thanked him for working me into such a hectic morning.  He explained that, actually, he didn't have any patients scheduled for the morning.  It is his paperwork morning.  (Any policy wonks out there, take note:  paperwork morning.  Hmmm) 

My doctor wasn't seeing patients this morning.  The patients in the waiting room were there to see other doctors.  He had taken me this morning out of the kindness of his heart.  He could have had me see one of the other doctors there, and they could have made me wait forever since I was not scheduled. 

When I went to fill my three prescriptions on the way home, they had them ready.  My doctor had ordered them online.  A line formed behind me in the time it took the pharmacist to explain the complicated regimen and schedule for all these medications.  She took her time, and I walked out of there clear on everything -- quite a feat seeing how foggy-headed I was from no sleep, no air, and too many over-the-counter meds. 

I got home and did exactly what my doctor and the pharmacist told me to do.  Eight hours later, I am markedly better.  Still miserable, but better.

Perhaps the health care industry has improvements to make.  But for this patient, this day, things couldn't have gone better.  I hope we don't get so caught up in politics that we become jaded to the valuable health care we do receive.  I not only received care today, I received care. 

So I thank my doctor, tonight and always, for that. 

1 comment:

Rose said...

Well stated, my friend. Bravo and Amen!

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