Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can you post by Morse code?

posted Tue, 09 Nov 2004

My computer is back from the computer doctor. It was there since noon yesterday. I have been bereft without it. Naked. Not only have I been unable to do any work (which I guess is the most important thing), but I have been unable to post here!

How did my homesteading ancestors survive without internet access? They made it through harsh Wisconsin winters without electricity or indoor plumbing. My great-great grandfather chopped his own foot off with an axe while cutting wood (accidentally). My great-great grandmother watched her seven children die in six days from diphtheria. (She had six more children after that.)

But they never had to go 19 hours without email and internet access.

I was stuck on a conference call this morning with no computer to distract me. I cleaned all my desk drawers, including the messy top one with the loose paper clips, and organized my files.
Source: http://desertpastor.typepad.com/paradoxology/MorseCode1-thumb.jpg

While my computer was at the computer doctor, I was at my doctor. This guy – Dr. S – is wonderful. I had to fire my previous gynecologist, Dr W, not because he was a bad guy, but because his office was so poorly run.

I liked Dr W’s bedside manner. He would answer my questions, he was funny and he was patient, but in a practice with ten other doctors, there is no reason that I should have had to wait two hours or more to see my doctor when I had made the appointment three months beforehand.

The excuse I always got was that one of the doctors was out delivering a baby. Well, if you know how many patients you have and how many of them are pregnant, you have a pretty good idea of how many of them will be delivering every day. What you do is make one of the doctors the delivery doc for the day and you don’t schedule appointments for her. How hard is that? Then the on-call doc is the one who does the deliveries while the rest of the docs are the ones who take appointments. Good grief. It’s not rocket science.

I put up with five appointments of waiting hours past my appointment time (yes, stupid me) before I took action. I was in the exam room, wearing nothing but that flimsy paper wrap. I had finished my book and every magazine in the room. I was freezing. It was two hours past my appointment time. No one had told me why Dr W was delayed or when he would see me. I was livid. I got dressed, told Dr W’s nurse I was leaving, and walked out.

I wrote Dr W a letter and told him exactly why I was firing him as my doctor. I never heard anything back from him, but his office did send me a card reminding me to schedule my annual physical. Right.

Dr S’s office, in contrast, is run beautifully. First of all, they always get me in and out on time. And quickly.

Second. The receptionist and the nurses call me “Miss Factotum” instead of “Class,” a small courtesy I have come to appreciate. I don’t really like it when a teenage receptionist doesn’t even bother to look up from the desk when she yells out my name to summon me to complete paperwork.

My dentist’s office is the best at those small formalities, actually. When I walk in the door, the receptionist greets me, “Hello, Miss Factotum! How are you today?” I know she has looked at the appointment sheet – she doesn’t know every patient by heart – but I don’t care. She is making an effort and I appreciate that.

Third. And this is a big one. The first time I met Dr S, I was not naked. We talked in his office before he examined me. Not only did we talk in his office, but he sat in the chair next to me, not across from me at his desk. He is very concerned with putting his patients at ease. It’s a lot easier to be at ease with your doctor if you are wearing clothes and sitting up as opposed to naked and spread eagled. (I really wanted Ilene, the bodacious redheaded pediatrician, to meet Dr S -- like as a potential boyfriend -- a nice Jewish boy!, but she moved to Minneapolis.)

Fourth. These are small, but nice, details: The waiting room is not crowded. There is no television. There is not a single golf magazine in the waiting room.

Fifth. He always gives me drug samples.

Going to the gynecologist will never be the experience envisoned by the writer of the Saturday Night Live skit, “Mel Gibson, Dream Gynecologist,” but it can be less than horrible with a good doctor.

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