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I Don’t Think So

September 4th, 2009

Holy crap.

Sometimes, even in the best of health care systems, you get horrible doctors. I originally had an expert eye doctor to help me with a problem I was experiencing, but he was pretty far away from home. So he recommended me to another expert at a local hospital who was pretty good.

However, I was unable to catch this doctor one time (she was on vacation) and got stuck with another doctor who I found less talented, but acceptable. As he was treating a new condition, I agreed to a second appointment with him. That was today.

The wait for the doctor was unusually long–one of those situations where they slip people ahead of you. You know, you’re fifth in line to see the doctor, and then after five people are called in, you are third in line. People came in well after I had settled to wait and went in ahead of me. That’s annoying enough, and I wound up having a wait time of 90 minutes for what was supposed to be a pre-set appointment time.

But what was really bad about today was the doctor. Instead of the substitute doctor, I was assigned to a third doctor whom I had never heard of before. When I finally got to see her, she was very abrupt, almost to the point of being rude. She took a quick glance at my record, not even close to long enough to understand what I was in for, asked no questions, and simply went ahead with an exam–during which she damn near tore my eyelids off.

Now, as I have explained, I have seen three other doctors before this and was examined for a variety of reasons, and never before have I ever experienced anything like what this doctor subjected me to. She did not even warn me; she took my upper right eyelid (the problem with with the lower left), grabbed the flesh of it, pulled it out, and then twisted it. It was so severe that out of reflex I yanked my head backwards. I figured that she slipped or something, but no, she intended to do that. When I had taken the relatively inoffensive, standard puff-of-air-on-the-eyeball test with the assistant an hour earlier, she warned me about the puff of air despite it being a test they give you every time. This doctor nearly yanked my eyelid off my face without so much as an “excuse me.” It hurt like hell–and then the doctor acted all put off and offended at my reaction, saying, “Well then, I just won’t check your eyes, is that OK?”

After she finished, she just half-shouted “ALLERGY!” at me like I was an illiterate moron–despite the fact that I had come in for something completely different. I tried to explain my previous problem–as she seemed to think it unnecessary to study my file to find out herself–but she persisted in focusing on the “allergy” problem, despite the fact that I told her that (a) my eyes did not itch and felt OK (at least they did before she abused them), and (b) the problem I needed help with was specific to one eye and not related to allergies. She then insisted that I had allergies, probably because I was “reading too much”–is that even possible?

I asked what happened to the doctor I had been scheduled to meet; she simply said that he quit. I then asked why I could not see the original doctor I had been assigned to, and she told me it was a scheduling problem–which, when I pressed her on, she admitted it was not, apparently having made up that excuse.

So I just made an appointment to see my original doctor and ignore everything this one did and said. But sheesh, I do not recall ever meeting a worse doctor, except possibly for the dentist who destroyed one of my teeth and then blamed me for it.

Let me just say that this was a very atypical experience. Usually the waits are much less than an hour, the doctors are competent, the service good. I just happened to get shuffled to a terrible new intern or something.

At least this visit only cost me eight bucks. But after an hour, my eyelids still hurt.

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