Thursday, March 16, 2006

Apparently she missed the "Bedside Manners" class in med school

I really, really hate going to the doctor. I almost have to be on life support before I even consider going, and the whole time I’m sitting in the waiting room waiting to die, I have a defiant stare toward anyone daring to make eye contact and I am constantly muttering about the evils of modern medicine.

I absolutely HATE waiting in the doctor’s waiting room for an hour or two or (shudder) the one time I was waiting for THREE HOURS only to be shuffled off into a holding cell because I got everyone else in the waiting room riled up. For one glorious afternoon I was the Norma Rae of the waiting room, only to be suppressed by The Man. Or rather, The Woman Who Is Known as the Receptionist. Needless to say, I never went back there again.

Skin cancer runs on both sides of my family, so I am usually very good about going to the dermatologist at least once a year to get my million moles and every funky bump checked over. My first time going was to the place where I waited three hours. I should have been suspicious because my former coworker Matt’s wife recommended this doctor, and the wife was a total nutjob.

I figured after waiting three hours that this doctor must be pretty good to have so many patients. WRONG. I had this really odd rash next to my nose that she diagnosed as rosacea, gave me some cream, and sent me packing. Oddly enough, the rash got worse and worse the more I used the cream. So Joey recommended his dermatologist, an elderly gentleman who took one look at me, pronounced it sebbhoraic dermatitis, gave me some cream, and sent me on my merry way. The rash was gone in two days.

As luck would have it, the good dermatologist ended up retiring about six months after I went, so I ended up going to another doctor in the practice. I saw her a few times and after my last visit, where she froze off a mole the size of a pencil dot and left a scar the size of a pencil eraser, I decided maybe it was wise to find someone else yet again. Sure, she was nice, but what if I needed something bigger removed – was she going to amputate?

My sister told me about her friend Dr. K, who treated my nephew’s wife for a very nasty and enormous benign mole on her back. It took me almost four months to get an appointment, and the day I went I was as excited as a kid on the first day of school. I figured that since I had a connection, I’d get the royal treatment. Maybe a few free samples! Hell, maybe even free Botox!

Wrong. It’s not that the treatment I receive is bad in any way, it’s just that Dr. K is a former Army doctor who doesn’t spend time bullshitting at all. If you are going in there to chit-chat and have her ask you about your kids or your summer vacation, you’re out of luck. Take my appointment on Monday, for example:

Dr. K: Well, here you are, I was looking for you.

Me: Hi Dr. K! Good to see you! How….

Dr. K: So what are you here for?

Me: Um, last time I was in….

Dr. K: Ah, your chart says you have an inverted pore. I’ll get that sucker right off.

(She takes this little razor blade thing and attaches it to the cauterizing machine….)

Dr. K: Now hold still, this won’t hurt but for a second.

Me: Ouch…oh, that wasn’t bad at all.

Dr. K: Now, don’t pick at it, scrub it, or touch it much for the next 10 days. You can put a little coverup on it if you want. Come back in six months.

(She vanishes out the door).

Me: Um, bye?

I was in and out of there in 20 minutes. When was the last time that happened at ANY doctor’s office? I didn’t even have time to check out any of the 30,000 flyers they had for Botox or their special skin care systems that they’re hawking.

Forty dollars spent and I feel so…empty. Not even a hug from the receptionist. It was almost like a one-night stand where you wake up the next day and the guy doesn’t even offer you a piece of gum before you do the Walk of Shame. There ought to be a law against feeling that way, especially after forking out $40.

On the good side, my inverted pore is no more and no one at work today could even tell I’d had something cut off of my face. She might not have the greatest bedside manner, but Dr. K can cauterize my funky pores anytime.

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