Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doctor's. A HELPING profession

I understand I am not a doctor. I understand that I have not gone through the years of schooling necessary to become a doctor. I understand that doctor's know "more than me" about health. I understand that I am a part of a wonderful program whereby I can walk into a hospital or medical clinic to see a doctor and not worry about going into debt over it.

All of this knowledge however does not preclude me from being ridiculously irritated with doctor's right now.

My spouse and my boys were sick a few weeks ago. REALLY sick. All three of them had the same symptoms. They all went to outpatients - one of the reasons we chose to take them to outpatients is that BOTH boys have previously been diagnosed with RSV and both of them have spent time in the hospital before with respiratory problems. We could not afford to wait the weeks to see our regular doctor in his office. So off to outpatients they went. Shel was told at that time (and I may have to check my info here) but the two boys had bacterial infections and were given antibiotics but she had a viral infection and was given nothing. No swabs were taken from anyone. X-Rays were ordered for only one of the boys. They were sent home. THE DOCTOR BARELY LOOKED AT SHEL! He didn't ask one question about her.

You know - I get it. Emergency rooms are overcrowded with non- emergencies. People go in to see the doctor and start listing off ailment after ailment and think they can get ten things taken care of in one visit.

In this case there were three people in one room and all of them were sick. The thing is, there WERE three charts and the doctor will receive payment for seeing all three of them. All of them were checked in and they were there to see him for one reason each. Two of the people in the room were under the age of 3. If he had taken a complete history of all of them it couldn't have taken him more than 45 minutes - which would have meant 15 minutes of face time per person in the room. Don't get me wrong. I don't think he needed to take a full medical history. I don't think he needed to spend 15 minutes with each person in the family. The ACTUAL amount of time that he spent with the family totalled LESS than ten minutes. LESS than 4 minutes PER PERSON - and one very sick person was sent away without any care provided at all. What I expect when we go to the doctor is that he take enough time to find out what is wrong, what symptoms we are experiencing, how long the symptoms have been present and "perhaps" get some further tests done to determine what measures should be taken - for EVERYONE who is ill.

At about the same time I was also getting sick. I didn't get as ill as the others but I was sick. My breathing has been really laboured for about three weeks now. I have been relying on my asthma inhaler almost on an hourly basis just to "get by" and feel as though I was not drowning. I have been weak. So weak I can barely stand in the shower - which is WEIRD. I have had a fever and hot and cold sweats.

I am allergic to just about every antibiotic known to man. I am deathly allergic to penicillin and any derivative. I have NEVER taken an antibiotic that I have not reacted very strongly to. I simply do not like going to the doctor especially since because of my allergies there is often nothing they can do for me. So,I didn't go to the doctor. I got sicker. Should I even admit that I was getting through the days by using the breathing treatments prescribed for my sons?

Finally on Saturday I could stand it no longer. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. I couldn't walk. I simply could not breathe. So I went to the emergency room. As soon as I was able to walk into the door they rushed me into a room and gave me a breathing treatment. Outpatients was scheduled to start at 9 am and the nurse told me she wanted to doctor to look at me because she could still hear that my lungs were not clear.

The doctor, scheduled to begin work at NINE AM, showed up at TEN THIRTY AM. He looked at m. He sent me to x-ray. He did not ask ONE question about how long I had felt this way, or if I was having any other symptoms. He simply stated that I was indeed sick. It was pneumonia caused by a virus (again, how can he tell this?) and that he was not going to prescribe me any antibiotics. Thank-goodness for THAT since my chart states I am allergic to them.... oh wait - he never looked at my chart. So he prescribed me an inhaler and some steroids to aid in my breathing and he sent me home.

I don't want to paint ALL doctors with the same brush. We love our family doctor and if we had the time to book an appointment and wait weeks on end to see him we would have.

I simply do not understand why some doctor's - people who have taken on a career of helping people - are not interested in helping. Could you take a minute? Show up on time? Maybe take a swab and send something away to a lab so we could be treated properly for what is ailing us?

A friend went to a specialist last week on a referral and was told by the specialist that it was not his job to explain medical terminology to her - about HER OWN medical problems! Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong here?


Retro Girl said...

Hope you all are doing much better very soon!
My hubby is Canadian, and so I hear much of the same comments from his family, who live there.

Some doctors here schedule 4 patients for the same appointment time and you wind up sitting in the waiting room for an hour then get called back to the little 3x4 foot room and again wait for over an hour or more, while they get to you when they get to you....drives me nuts. Isn't our time valuable too?

Teena in Toronto said...

What a horrible experience!

I love my doctor! She's sooo thorough.