I awoke in the early hours of the morning today with a deep and productive cough. The sputum was not a pretty shade of yellowish-green.
What it told me is that I probably needed:
- a throat culture
- a doctor to listen to my lungs to distinguish URI from deep lung infection
After constantly hearing that as a physician, I should not be treating myself, I was prepared to seek out my trusty doctor for evaluation and treatment.
What I was NOT prepared for was the events that followed. (fortunately I am a healthy person who incidentally NEVER bothers or demands time of my physicians)
I went to the office of my gynecologist who I also use as my primary care doctor. Despite only one patient in the waiting room, I was informed by the "gate keeper" that the doctor was too busy to see me as an emergency visit. I explained that it was fine with me and that I would be perfectly happy just getting the culture tube. When I had gotten a sputum sample, I would drop it off and she could send it off to the lab that she uses. I was then informed that they would not do such a thing.
The nurse came out and I explained that I was there for assessment of my lungs and possible antibiotics. She sneered and informed me that this is a gynecology office and that I went to the wrong specialty.
Now at this point I must tell you that I practiced medicine as an OB/GYN doctor for 30 years. People were always more than just walking genitalia and I always did complete examinations. If someone had bronchitis or URI, I would take the appropriate tests and then either treated or referred. Since the nurse was getting no where with me, the doctor came out and informed me that I would have to see my primary doctor. I let her know that SHE was my primary doctor and she reiterated that it would have to be an internist that I saw. I was shocked that she would not even let me have a culture.
Though disgruntled, I called the two internists that she felt I could see. The first one stated that the office can squeeze me in January 22. (it is mid December now). The second office told me that I could be seen in February. Both said that if I felt my medical condition was serious enough to be seen, I should go to the emergency room.
Has medicine sunk this low that doctors don't have any interest in a patient as a whole being? My doctor washed her hands of the whole problem. Is it medicine today or just this doctor's office?
I would REALLY like to hear your opinion on this one!
- December 17th