Doctor Shopping

9 Apr

Every year, around March/April, my doctor sends a letter to his patients. He updates us on what is going on with his practice, who the new resident is, and a fee guide for uninsured services.

Every year, dh and I send him a cheque for our family so we don’t have to be billed per service for phone appointments, notes and prescription refills.

A few weeks ago, I went to see my doctor. At the end of the appointment, he asked me if I had read the letter, and embarrassed that I hadn’t yet read it, I joked not to worry, but we would send in our cheque as we are frequent users of uninsured services.

It’s not that kind of a letter, he said.

Uh oh, I joked, no more family plan? Was I bankrupting him.

Heh. Not that kind of a letter, he said again.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

You’re retiring. Not even a question. I just knew.

I’m closing my practice, focusing on teaching and just paring down.

I cried.

My doctor hugged me and gave me a fatherly kiss on the cheek.

How do you replace a wonderful doctor?

How do I replace the doctor who has seen me through all of my panic and anxiety?

I gave myself the night to mourn.

The next day I was searching for a new doctor. I searched for doctors accepting new patients in my community. From that list, I searched through the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons website to check out their registration and see make sure they hadn’t been suspended.  I read reviews.

I made a list and started to call.

After a few roadblocks, I found a possibility and booked a meet and greet.

The day arrived to meet him and I went into the office, which was nice and new and spacious.

The doctor came in to see me.

He was wearing a mask.

Oh, he pulled it over his mouth, but he was still wearing it around his ears.

Do you smoke? Do you drink? Are you a drug user? Do you have any big medical issues?

Uh.

So he was a no. I just didn’t click with him. I didn’t get a WARM sense from him. At all.

I went through the rest of my list and found that no one was accepting patients.  One receptionist gave me the number of a doctor who had started a new practice so I did my check (college and reviews) and phoned to book a meet and greet.

Her office was beautiful and her staff was nice.

I was escorted into a state of the art room and had my vitals taken.

My blood pressure was HIGH. Like really high.

The doctor came in and we chatted and I liked her. She took my blood pressure again. HIGH.

I think we’ll do an ECG and try taking it manually. 

I started to panic. I felt sick to my stomach and I was sweating and shaking.

The nurse came in to do an ECG and I was in tears.

In the end, all was fine.  Manually, my blood pressure was in the high normal range. ECG was normal.

But the doctor was wonderful. Thorough, prompt, nice, compassionate and kind. 

I went back a week later to check my blood pressure again – all fine, likely anxiety, but she is having me check my blood pressure at home to be safe.  She spent time just talking to me about my moods and she read the mood journal and thought records I brought.

Her approach, her office, her staff and well, her, solidified my choice. I signed the forms for myself and my kids. I brought forms home for my husband. Even my father in law, who saw my old doctor, wants to meet with her.

It is almost like she was tested. It was almost like I needed to see how she would react to panic. She passed.

As I embark on this new medical phase, I am not surprised that it was so stressful, but I am hopeful that all will be well.

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2 Responses to “Doctor Shopping”

  1. Sharon April 9, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    I remember trying to find a new family doctor – it was SO STRESSFUL! But I too managed to find a great one and consider myself very lucky.

    • jexalt April 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      It really is STRESSFUL! I hate the search!

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