Thursday, July 23, 2009

A visit to the doctor.....

I've been going to the same doctor for years and years. He's moved twice in that time. The first move was to a smaller office, which I absolutely LOVED. It was nestled in an area that was very wooded and it just gave the area a peaceful look. Inside his waiting room was the biggest fish tank I've ever seen, along with the TV up in the corner. His waiting room was quiet too. Everyone called you by your name and you felt comfortable....or as comfortable as you could be seeing as it was a visit to the dreaded doctor.

Well, he has moved again and this time into a 5 story medical building. Even though this building is only a mile from his old office, the difference is shocking. You feel like you're in the middle of a large city when you go into this 'complex'. Yes....yes...I know...progress and all that. But I miss his old office.

Yesterday was my first visit since he moved in about 2 months ago. Needless to say, they are still working on getting things streamlined but for the most part, everything is up and running. Gratefully, the parking was close to his office doors. I just hate to have to park and then travel by foot for half a mile before you finally reach your destination. The outside wall is all glass....and the fish tank is there but there were so many chairs. He's now in with 7 other doctors. Picture a huge square in your mind.

You walk in and through the waiting room to the south side of the 'square'. There is a huge counter with cubicles to the left and one open place to the extreme right. There, you write your name, date of birth, appointment time and the doctor your appointment is with. There is a stack of round miniature UFO looking discs on the counter. Each has a lighted number on it. You take one of those, writing the number of it next to your name. You take a seat and wait. I kept thinking about this pager thingie. I'm not so sure I like that idea. What if someone is sneezing and coughing all over it. I supposed they disinfect them at the end of the day.....hmmmm, something to think about. The pager suddenly vibrates and red lights go on and off all over it. I get up and walk to the counter. I hear someone calling my pager number. I walk to one of the cubicles and am told to have a seat. She's very nice and sits in front of a computer typing my personal info into it. She takes my insurance cards and my driver's license and scans them into the system. She says I will have to show ID each time I come in. I fill out paperwork on who to contact in an emergency and sign it. Then she hands me back the pager and tells me to have a seat and wait and when my pager goes off again, to go to the door at the far end. I return to the waiting room and wait. Soon my pager goes off and I respond to the appropriate door and a nurse takes my pager and tells me which room number to enter. I am now on the east side of the 'square'. A nurse comes in and takes my vitals, she draws blood because its time for me to have that done. Then my doctor comes in. Finally a familiar face! I can't read him and I don't know if he likes it there or not but he says everything is fine and yes, I will always get him....not to worry about being shoved off to a strange doctor.

After his exam, he writes me prescription changes and refills and then I'm told to go to another cubicle. I am now on the north side of the 'square'. Another person is sitting in front of a computer and takes my information. This is where I would make new appointments and/or pay. However, they are in the middle of changing computer software and she can't schedule me for an appointment six months away at this time....I'll have to call back in a couple months or so. That's ok with me. I'm then told to round the corner and take the hallway straight to the door at the end. I'm now on the west side of the square. I open the door and I'm out into the waiting room again, except out of a different door.

The office is beautiful. Its new and clean and streamlined. I felt like a car that was being built on the assembly line in Detroit....I'm sorry. I know that with the explosive population we have....this has to be done. Too many people....not enough time. But I really miss how it used to be done. You felt more like an individual....not an object. I love my doctor....he was the same friendly face as always, but I wonder how long he will stay that way in this type of environment. Sigh ~ progress, I know.....but it comes at a price.


happyone said...

I can see why you felt like you were on an assembly line.
I would miss the other office too. It sounded ideal. Sometimes you wonder why things have to be changed when they worked so well the old way!!

Florida Sue said...

Val it sounds surreal. What if you walk through the wrong door? You might sit there for days! I see on Soul's blog that your Doc listened. I am glad. Email me when you can..


Betty said...

For a minute, I thought you were going to say you walked through the door and found yourself outside, in the parking lot.

margarethall said...

Golly Moses~! I "hear" you, as even in the clinic/doctor area here, there is EVEN a yellow strip on the floor to "follow"..LOL...Now you follow this yellow line, which comes to a crossroads and you must be able to read well, as there are explicit instructions on the overhead swinging sign... ====> Lab <====Exit...Then where is the DOCTOR???..Oh, after asking the lab, I was to turn and follow the light green line...LOL back to the crossroads behind me...And, guess what...I was back where i started and was at his room..(sigh)...

Sophie said...

I'm betting that your doctor gets just as depressed walking up to his big shiny office building as you do, Val. I join you in mourning the loss of personalized doctor's offices. I've had some wonderful ones over the years. Now they sit you in a room with 50 other people, then stick you in a tiny exam room and leave you there for an hour waiting your turn. I often wonder if someone couldn't just die and no one would even notice. I love efficiency, but it is sad that personal touches get sacrificed in the process. I don't think it has to be that way.

MA Fat Woman said...

You think that's bad. Wait until universal health coverage kicks in.

ordinaryjanet said...

We went through that when my mom went to the eye institute, she said it was like a cattle pen. There were a couple dozen people in the waiting room! and we didn't get those UFO pagers, we had to watch the door the nurses came through to call patients because she can't hear too well, and I'm no help. I worried we'd get lost in the maze of cubicles. We had to get someone to show us the way out.

I miss the old days-the doctor we had when I was a child didn't even have a receptionist. He came to the door and called you in.

boneman said...

first I best wait for your OK...
I left a comment, but, it appears here, not.

Did I get too political? It was centered around health care...
(humor too hard?)

boneman said...

OK, well. Sounds like I'm into my first stages of Alzheimer's, eh? Probably forgot to click on "publish the comment"...

First things first, the health care coming from the present administration sounds like a great start.
Helps folks who are too broke.
and, that's all I'll say about that.
I have the letter from the White House at my OPINIONS blog. Trust me, it's short and easy to read.

Now, the important stuff.
If he stands you on a chair, do what the kid is doing. Read as concentratedly as possible. The shot hurts less, that way.

Probably your doctor read the faces of those who have been coming to him for all these years.
Wondering if the NEW is OK with everyone.
Perhaps you could suggest to him to open back in a small place for his longer patience. With a nurse that knows the names of folks because she, too, has seen them for years.

Everything got a lot more slicker, more chrome, more instrumental checks.
Catscans, X-ray machines, fancy chromed fizzizzleplinkets.
If he didn't get together with the other doctors, there's no way he could afford that stuff.

OK, well. Sounds like I'm into my first stages of Alzheimer's, eh? I forgot what I was going to say....

or, maybe, OK, well. Sounds like I'm into my first stages of Alzheimer's, eh?


Remember, read hard, shot is fast and painless. (sure....)
(you did notice he's reading the Doc's diploma, right?)

Brad said...

So one day we'll go to the Dr.'s office and be met with a conveyer belt at the front desk. Hop on!

An hour later you'll find yourself shrink-wrapped and sitting in the pharmacy.

Love you!