“How’d it go?”, you ask hesitantly.
This is my new rheumy. His name is Dr. EMH AK-1. Emergency Medical Hologram. Not nearly as cool and quirky as THE “Doctor”…not nearly…but a little more humane than the terminator, not so creepy as HAL 9000 and not so emotional as Johnny-5.
I have previously asked for advice on what to bring, how to best approach a rheumatologist. I received awesome tidbits of information and practical advice.
I also had an inkling of what I needed to do which went against any piece of awesome tidbits of information and practical advice that I’ve ever received.
I’d like to share that with you.
I was in Dr. EMH AK-1’s office for exactly 6 minutes and 23 seconds.
Did you know it takes a person an average of 60 seconds to make their first impression upon meeting an individual for the first time? It is suggested that you do not introduce your name until after the first 60 seconds of first meeting as the other individual is so busy sizing you up that they will not recognize this important piece of information and you’d just end up repeating yourself later, or would just be shit outta luck if they, in fact, DID find you worthwhile to remember.
Thus, 5 minutes, 23 seconds.
Backtrack 6 minutes, 23 seconds earlier.
I knew I had to size up the receptionist. Not for the fact that I’d have to deal with him/her…no…because the receptionist is the one that has to deal with Dr. EMH AK-1. How does she interrelate with the patients? On the phone? In person?
Because why on earth would she spend her days (in my case, a woman) alternating masks between how she interacts with Dr. EMH AK-1 and his patients?
[enter signage, stage left]
There was a sign on the wall. This sign read:
“Please do not tear pages out of the magazines.”
Okay. I will not.
Then, in red pen, said signage continued to indicate the following:
“If I catch you….YOU PAY!!”
Double exclamation points. Holy shit.
Alright then, Warden Lady. My brain is now effectively fuelled for how to anticipate the demeanor of Dr. EMH AK-1.
She answers the phone. “I’ll have to call you back because this isn’t a good time. I have several things I have to do and I cannot add to that until I’m finished what I’m trying to do.”
Now, I also know that I’m dealing with a male physician. Slightly older man. Old school? Perhaps. Academic certification on the wall dated 1986. I’m not an idiot…I pay attention. I also know that he has had all the relevant reports sent to him prior to our meeting of this day. My numbers were there. I rather knew what to expect, medical related.
I was, however, anticipating his “demeanor”. Why? Well, because on the “ratemd.com” he has one of the WORST ratings of all the rheumatologists in Ottawa.
[enter pre-anticipated dejection, stage right]
After listening to the no-nonsense, no-bullshit Warden Lady for awhile (there was a previous patient trying to get things together…older man, senior…difficulties)…it really donned on me…
I’m not here for a crapshoot. I know what’s wrong with me. If Dr. EMH AK-1 has ANY training whatsoever, he also knows what’s wrong with me.
[enter gameface, stage center]
“What can I do for you today?”, he asks. Of course he asks. Some sort of textbook, “make the patient feel like a human being for 2.2 seconds.” As I said, there are my reports in the file, face up, staring at him. He knows. He knows *I* know.
Dr. EMH AK-1 doesn’t give a rats ass about me. And really? You know what? That’s okay. Really. REALLY?!?!?
Dr. EMH AK-1 is a male who’s ability to focus on logic and function are paramount. Did he have bedside manner? Of course not. Would it have been nice? YES. Very much so.
Here’s how it went. He asked. I answered. If I didn’t understand, I curtly replied, “Pardon?”. Curtly? No. SIMPLY. Effectively. Curtly = please DEFINE within the parameters of knowledge you can share with me.
Lyrica. I have a program to go from 75mg to 300+mg over the next few months. I go back in November.
I have confirmed Rheumatoid Arthritis.
(What’s that? Yet another? Yes. Yet another. Google the interrelations. I’m tired.)
Ultimately? Is he some form of artificial intellegence? Yes. Does he care? No. Does that bother me? YES. Is he efficient? Well…ya, he is. Although paying through my teeth for taxes that pay for specialists…I damned well want more that 6 freakin’ minutes…THAT, most assuredly, DOES piss me off.
I think, though, that perhaps some people will need to “downsize” the emotions and what they’re expecting of their physicians, specialists or general practioners. They (the doctors) don’t need, nor want (I believe) a sob-story song-and-dance of how “boo hoo” our crippling and decrepit bodies are reacting. It is what it is. It sucks ass. Agreed.
Nope. Facts. Figures. Statements. Measurements.
I had my list of questions. I had my medications and dosages. Perfect. It conformed with Dr. EMH AK-1’s ability to ASSESS.
If it had been a woman rheumy, I verily believe I could have, in fact, added in some form of emotional “my family is affected” crap…but really, at the end of the day, she’s STILL going to be looking at numbers, facts and statements. If those aren’t readily available, then yes, we definately need to be our own advocates. But seriously, keep it to the facts and figures…my sole suggestion.
Maybe next time I’ll cry. Just to see what happens to Dr. EMH AK-1’s syntax when an error in his processing occurs. And I will also most assuredly NOT rip a page from the magazine. I’ll just take the whole damned thing. ;o)