Before I go any further, let me first say the majority (90%+) of the doctors, nurses, techs, what have you, have been outstanding given the environment and conditions they work in. Let me also add, on the advise of an attorney friend, some of the names from here on out have been changed to protect the innocent or stupid (depending on the situation). If anyone would like specific information they can contact me through this blog, and we can discuss the matter.
On January 26, 2011 I finally got into see a doctor at one of the community clinic. I really didn’t know what to expect, but the place was clean, fairly well-organized and the staff was professional and polite. However, I felt very out of place. The other patients were either very young girls (some looked to be 15) with their girlfriends, a baby in tow or one on the way. Others were old, and I mean REALLY OLD, not old like my kids think I am, but in their 70’s-80’s and up. A few looked as though they wouldn’t even make it out of the clinic unless they were in a rubber bag. And then there were the non-English speaking patients. Probably a half-dozen couples, with 2-3 kids each. The upside to it was at least there was a father with these families.
So there we sat, the young girls talking to each other, on cell phones and texting, all the while complaining about how, “He don’t respect you girl”; “If he doesn’t give me some money for diapers I’m gonna call his momma” and “That bitch knew I liked him, but she slept with him anyway.”
Older couples talked in hushed whispers about who knows what, perhaps complaining about how loud the young ones were, or perhaps thanking God that their children did not turn out like the self-absorbed, foul mouths that sat across from them.
The Latino couples sat huddled together, their kids wandering around the waiting room exploring every little corner, and running back to Mama and Papa to ask questions.
Then there was me. The middle-aged guy by himself wondering what the heck was going to happen next. Finally they called my name, and down the rabbit hole of public health I went.
The doctor was very attentive, actually spending nearly 20 minutes with me as I explained, described, griped and questioned. One of the things I learned years ago, taking a page from the movie Roadhouse, was to have and keep copies of all your medical records. This way when you start with a new doctor, you don’t have to explain your medical history, and they have a tendency to believe you when you say you have this or that problem. So, this new doctor got handed a two-inch thick stack of medical reports.
After he read through them, and we discussed various issues, he wrote out a few scripts and told me that he was going to order a sleep study test. One of my “conditions” is narcolepsy and sleep apnea. I got the gratuitous speech about the hazards of smoking, and was advised for the umpteenth time by the umpteenth doctor to quit.
We were done, and off I went to sit and wait to be discharged. I sat next to a couple that can best be described as “different.” She appeared slightly slow, and he was what one would call a “piece of work”; putting her down, telling her how lucky she was to have him, how no one else would have her, etc. I wanted so bad to smack him with my cane, but thought that would not be helpful, given mine or the woman’s situations. The nurse called the woman in first to discharge her, and spent most of her time looking at the male. I think the nurse saw the same thing I did, a pattern of mental and possibly physical abuse in the relationship. Hopefully she made a note somewhere and the woman will get some help and support to leave this ass.
When it was my turn to check out I was given copies of the scripts, told what to expect as far as the sleep study and directed to the on-site pharmacy. I was done with the doctor, and headed over to the pharmacy. After waiting in line for 5-10 minutes, I handed the tech my scripts and was told they would be ready in two days, after 3:30pm.
The entire visit took four and a half hours, and I still didn’t have any medications or any further ideas/answers about what to do. Time would only tell.