Qualities I Possess That I Don't Want In My Doctor

My normal doctor was out of town when I came down with strep throat. Instead, I had a replacement: a soft-spoken young Asian woman who carried herself like she didn't know exactly what she was doing in a doctor's office. I had already waited in the waiting room for 45 minutes, so I was happy to see anyone who could figure out why I had the worst sore throat of my life. And I figured I'd give her the benefit of the doubt; my doctor has always been great, and she wouldn't have hired someone inexperienced on her staff. But she had some qualities that didn't exactly leave me assured of her competence:

  • Disorganization

  • "Hmm, I don't seem to have your charts," she said right after walking into the room. She got up from her desk and looked in the compartment on the door. "Nope, it's not here, either. Well, let me ask you a few questions then." She shuffles papers on her desk. She seems to be missing something. "Hold on a second." I figure she's going to get my records, which should be all neat and tidy in a folder kept somewhere safe in the office. She returns a minute later with a blank medical chart, and starts asking me about my entire medical history. I was expecting her to ask me if I remember the first time I sneezed.

  • Trailing Off

  • Doctor: Okay, let me take a look...
    Me: down my throat?
    Doctor: Yes, let me just...
    [Reaches for the shelf]
    Me: get a tounge depressor?
    Doctor: Okay, now could I get you to...
    [sticks tounge depressor in my mouth and holds up light]
    Me : ick iy unge owwn?

  • Lack of Basic Medical Knowledge

  • "We're going to give you a strep test." Naturally, that makes sense, since I was the one who suggested I might have strep throat. "I think you might just have a sore throat," she said. "Do you have any other symptoms?"

    "Well, I had the chills last night. Chills and sweats. Sometimes at the same time. You should probably take my temperature." She did, it was 99. No fever, she tells me. "I just took some Tylenol for my throat before I left." Tylenol is a fever reducer. If she actually had my charts, she'd know that even 99 is pretty high for me.

    "Well, maybe you're right. We'll just have to see, I guess." She gave me the test, took my phone number, and told me she'd call back with the results in the afternoon. At least I think that's what she said, she might have trailed off.

  • Inability to Follow-Up

  • Nearly eighteen hours after leaving the office, I was completely convinced I had strep throat. It all added up: I had a fever, chills, a headache and a sore throat - and nothing else. All signs point to strep. But I hadn't gotten a phone call yet, so I call up the doctor's office to get the results of the test. After going through two hurdles, including an indignant triage nurse who said that the office no longer gave out test results on-demand from patients on the phone, I finally got an office worker who was willing to do my dirty work.

    "Oh, she tried to call you, but you didn't answer. You do have strep, and she wants to know what pharmacy to send the prescription to." I told her I never received a call. The phone number she had was correct. She even read it back to me twice. I was baffled. So was she.

    I got the cold shoulder from the doctor. I can picture her in her examining room, staring at the phone, thinking, "hmm, should I call him? I think it went well, but I don't want to sound too needy. Maybe I should wait."

    Now I'm all drugged up and slowly improving. And I'm following doctor's orders: drinking plenty of...


    and maybe, I guess, eating lots of...

    10 Moments of Idiocy:

    Anonymous Cody said...

    Your female Asian doctor had a chinstrap beard? No wonder service was subpar...

    8:42 PM  
    Blogger Yasamin said...

    Hi Dr. Nick!

    3:12 AM  
    Blogger pinknest said...

    lol! i'm sorry but that's pretty amusing. i always have the strangest doctor experiences. my new dentist is a one-man dentist show. he does everything...from answering the phone, taking appointments, being the receptionist, hygenist, etc., and asking me philosophical questions while cleaning my teeth.

    8:54 AM  
    Blogger Beehive Hairdresser said...

    All that and yet she managed to stay off of your list, impressive.

    12:24 PM  
    Anonymous dr huxtable said...

    if u knew it was strep why did u even go to the doctor, genius? y didnt u just demand antibiotics? obviously ur regular doc knows u better doesnt even need to look at the chart and the temp thing means nothing its either over a hundred or its no big deal, did u explicitly tell her u took tylenol?

    4:58 PM  
    Blogger Chris said...

    Read the fucking article, genius. Yes, I told her I took Tylenol. And as far as I know, doctors are not big fans of self-diagnosis, especially when the key symptom is a sore throat. A sore throat is a symptom of hundreds of different ailments.

    By the way, no one with grammar skills like yours should have a user name with "doctor" in it. But really, thanks for coming by and reading.

    5:08 PM  
    Blogger Kate said...

    Now, Chris. You should know better than to speak to Bill Cosby like that. He might make you wear his sweater. Or, god forbid, force you to replace entire words with mere letters! Y any1 would do that voluntarily is beyond me. 4 real.

    5:10 PM  
    Anonymous elise said...

    haha, sorry, but i would hardly call this an "article."

    5:25 PM  
    Blogger Chris said...

    Gawker commenters are hysterical. Thanks for contributing such a valuable observation to this discussion, Elise!

    5:30 PM  
    Anonymous Vermont Neighbor said...

    Getting indifferent service at a fast food place is okay -- but no one expects it from the doctor! Glad you're okay.

    12:39 AM  

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