Occasionally (very occasionally, fortunately) I have an experience with a healthcare professional where their performance is considerably less than professional. In some cases, criminally less (figuratively speaking, of course).
Case-in-point 1: Recently, while taking a relatively powerful antibiotic, I felt I could possibly be experiencing some of the side effects that are listed on the obscenely lengthy printout that’s included with every prescription. Since these particular side effects were frighteningly described as SERIOUS, I immediately phoned the pharmacy and questioned whichever pharmacist happened to answer the phone (having no idea of whether she got an A or a C in pharmacy school). She told me not to worry, to finish the course, and the side effects would end as soon as the pills did. She made it sound as certain as the proverbial “death and taxes” (an unfortunate choice of words under the circumstances, I realize). Well, almost a week after the pills were gone, the side effects weren’t. So I called the pharmacy again and spoke to a different “health professional who practices in the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use,” who informed me that, contrary to what I was told – by whom, she had no idea (really?) – my side effects were not caused by the curative culprits and that I should see a doctor. Obviously not sure about anything at this point, except the fact that one (at least) of the pharmacists got straight Cs...
Case-in-point 2: ...I phoned the appropriate doctor. I was told he was with a patient and would return my call as soon as he got a free moment. He must have quite a busy practice, since as of this writing more than a week has gone by and he apparently hasn’t been free for a moment.
Case-in-point 3: A few months ago, to discuss a hand problem, I visited an orthopedist who specializes in that area (next there’ll be specialties in fingers, then digits). The hand expert sent me to a nerve expert for some tests, and instructed me to return to discuss the results. The neurologist, after sticking pins in me and electrocuting me for what seemed like an eternity, informed me that the problem was minor and that it could be addressed without surgery, and that the aforementioned hand expert would advise me. When I went back to the orthopedist, the first thing she asked me, without even mentioning the results of the tests, was, “What do you want to do?” No kidding, “What do you want to do?” “What do I want to do?” I responded incredulously, “What do you think I should do? That’s why I’m here.” She proceeded to hem and haw, and, well...I walked out of there knowing no more than when I walked in.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to indict the entire medical profession; most of my healthcare professionals (and as I get older, I seem to acquire more and more) are brilliant and caring, and I have the utmost confidence in them (thank goodness!). But every so often I have an unfortunate experience like the few doozies I just described. And, intolerant me, I get upset. Call me crazy, but I just can’t help being concerned about my health.