Example: I have an excellent doctor, board certified in internal medicine. When I last saw her, she gave me referrals to a number of specialists: a dermatologist for a rash on my arms...a gastroenterologist for the colonoscopy I've already explained won't happen (after five failed attempts, isn't it time to give up and try something else?)...a gynecologist...an ophthalmologist...and I'd already been seeing a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a cardiologist. Then there are the tests, lots of tests.
This has got to be expensive for my insurance carrier. Not to mention a big ol' pain in the rump roast for me.
The last thing I want to be doing is spending most of my time in doctors' offices, but it sure sounds like that's what's in my future. Is all of this really necessary? Why can't my primary care doctor handle most of this, uh, stuff?
Whatever happened to the family doctor? Are they extinct? Are primary care doctors now little more than traffic cops, directing their patients to the appropriate specialists?
Years ago, we had a family doctor. He took care of Mom, Dad, Collin and me, and he did most of it himself. Mom and Dad had a cardiologist, and I had an ophthalmologist, but our family doctor handled everything else. I liked it that way. I could take care of almost any problem I had with one office visit, not six or seven. He prescribed everything, including my seizure meds and ordered any tests I needed. If I had a problem, I didn't have to stop and think about which doctor would be the right one to call for a rash or a sore throat. I called Dr. Zink. He knew me and my medical history, so he was more than prepared to deal with anything that was needed.
Yeah, right. I've found the later the appointment,
the further behind the doctor is going
to be by the time he/she gets around to me!
And don't get me started on rush hour traffic!
I felt comfortable with him. When I had an appointment, I saw only him--there were no residents coming in first to make the visit take twice as long and make me feel like a guinea pig. Just him--or, occasionally for a follow-up, his nurse practitioner. Once, Mom was in the next exam room when I was getting my annual pelvic exam. She couldn't figure out why I was laughing during the exam. I explained that we'd gotten into a conversation about where we were when Star Trek first aired back in 1966. I was in junior high. He was in the Peace Corps. He said I'd made him feel old. I thought that was funny. Never mind that I was in a very uncomfortable position, exposed for the most part. I was comfortable enough to be able to have a laugh at his expense.
I miss that. My old family doctor is retired now, and I find myself wondering if the family practice even exists anymore.