Friday, June 23, 2006
I took my mother to the doctor yesterday. I have mentioned before that she's in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. She functions well with most things, but struggles with anything requiring a number. As she doesn't drive anymore, my sister and I make sure she's happy and gets where she needs to go.
She has a couple of suspicious spots on her face, and one on her hand. Her regular doctor, whom we love, is on medical leave, so we had to make an appointment with a new doctor.
The new doctor walked into the examination room 90 minutes after the appointment was scheduled. I had actually tired of waiting that long, and opened the door to find her standing in it. I said, "Oh, you're right here!" and she said "uh huh" and stood there continuing to read, not saying hello, introducing herself, or otherwise acknowledging us.
She then walked in and suggested that Mom's blood pressure was a bit on the high side, saying that we might need more medicines.
Never having met her, not knowing what information she had in her hands, I asked her if she had it down that that Mom is already taking blood pressure meds. "I KNOW," she said, "that's why I said MORE instead of SOME."
Her tone was unmistakeable: she all but added, "you dumb bitch" to the end of her sentence.
My intentions were to make sure that all communication with concern with Mom's meds and health care were clear, and she was cold and rude about it. Does she forget that I pay HER?
I'm not paying her to talk to me or my mother like that, that's for sure. She offered to either send Mom to a dermatologist for a biopsy, or she said she could do it herself.
I took what was behind Door #1: The dermatologist. I want someone a bit nicer, with a better bedside manner to handle my mother, especially if they're going to be cutting on her while she's awake.
What if she really is a good doctor? What if she's top of her class, and we were lucky to have gotten in to see her? How much does bedside manner account for when you're talking about potentially serious health issues? Would I rather have an asshole that knows what he's doing, or a kind idiot?
Well. The asshole of course. But those really aren't my only 2 choices. She's a family practice doctor, and there are dozens of them to choose from. They're all going to give me basically the same options. I'll just step over here and deal with the doctor that treats us with a little dignity. And that doctor can "Sit On It, Potsy."