There are three things it is nearly impossible to find when you relocate from one town to another:
- Lady doctor
I finally found the right dentist and hairdresser in the last couple of months. It took damn near five years, but I finally found the right fit. Personality is a big part of it, but quality of service is important too. I want care providers I enjoy interacting with and from whom I can expect not just a high quality of care but some personal attention. I want them to remember who I am, what I've discussed with them in the past, what my kids names are. I want them to remember that I never shut up about horses and special needs kids and that I hate needles and I also hate having my hair styled like I'm somebody's middle aged mother. (Yes, I know that's what I am, I just don't need my hairdresser reminding me of it. I want The Sexy.)
I had found what I thought was a great little practice. It catered to mothers and children and was run by a Registered Nurse Practicioner. They had a funky little clinic and even offered sick child care at a reasonable cost for mothers who had a sick child with whom they were unable to stay home that day. I liked having a female practicioner for my female stuff, and I liked that she could also manage my ADHD meds. I mostly didn't mind the long waits when I went in. For one, OB practices are often like that. A baby arriving might push all the appointments back. And because she would take time talking to me, I assumed that she gave the same consideration to her other patients. I liked that.
Little by little, though, things changed. And I didn't like it. First she started offering the HCG diet out of her practice. I'm one of those people who think that fad diets are dangerous and I wasn't impressed that my doctor was jumping on the fad diet bandwagon. The waits started getting longer. I waited an hour for an appointment, and it was pretty clear from the stack of people in her waiting room that she was trying to rotate too many patients. And then, two visits ago, at the end of my visit, she handed me a business card with my prescription. It was for a company that sells internet service and cable tv and wireless plans. "I dont' know if I told you about this company I'm representing. If you are in need of any data services please give me a call."
I know doctors don't make a lot of money these days and I realize that its terribly expensive to run an OB practice with the burden of medical malpractice insurance, but really? I'm a little more compartmentalized than that. You're the doctor who looks at my vagina. I really don't want you reviewing my cell phone usage, too. And if you're trying to take care of too many patients at one time, its a sure bet every single one of us is getting a lower quality of care.
I guessed (correctly) at that point that finances were strained and she was looking to supplement her income in any way possible. And of course, she has the right to do that. I might not have jumped ship at that point, because I am human and I do try to be understanding. But after the last appointment I don't know any other way to proceed. I made an appointment for a prescription refill. I hadn't been to her practice for three months. I pulled up to the door with 10 minutes to spare for my appointment, only to find an empty office. Empty as in completely devoid of furniture, phones and people. A sign on the door only said that the office was closed, but didn't indicate if it had moved somewhere else. I was confused. I had made the appointment only a few days earlier. Did they close their doors suddenly? So I called them, and when the receptionist answered I was even more confounded. "We moved offices."
Wouldn't that be something you might have wanted to tell me when I made the appointment? Or maybe added on to the "No Longer in Business" sign on your door? So I threw the kids back in the car and drove to the new location. I waited forty-five minutes to be seen, though the guy schlepping pharmaceuticals came in after I did and got to go back and have a few minutes of her time before I got to have my appointment. I had to fill out all new paperwork because apparently my old paperwork didn't move to her new office with her. And at the end of my ten minute appointment (that I had to wait a half hour for), she once again handed me her new business card with my prescription. "I don't know if I told you about this company I'm representing."
Yes, yes you have.
I suppose if I was interested in a dialogue I would let her know personally why I'm leaving her practice. But the thing is, I never know if someone really cares that you don't want to be their client anymore. Not if they don't care about telling you they've moved or remembering what they talked to you about the last time you looked at their cervix. I mean, she'll figure it out when I don't come see her anymore. I'm sure the request from my new doctor for my medical records will be a clue too.