Tuesday, June 08, 2010
the right way
I wish I wore a hat.
If I did, I would doff it to the local health system. At least, part of it.
I was scheduled to see my orthopedist Monday afternoon. I had not seen him since my splint came off last month. This was the three-week followup.
After my experience with the Coumadin monitoring clinic last week, I was interested to see how the specialist clinic would handle its patients.
I was greeted by two young people at the door. They directed me to the appropriate intake clerk, who was friendly, efficient, and non-intrusive.
She directed me to the seating area with the upbeat comment: "Someone will be right with you.". I picked the most comfortless chair I could find. After all, I was twenty minutes early, and I knew I would have to wait.
Before I could get settled in, I heard: "Steven." I was positive there had to be another Steven amongst the few faces in the waiting room. But the call was for me. Well before my scheduled appointment.
The nurse led me to the examination room. Took my blood pressure. Asked a few questions. Almost as if I was a regular visitor. When she left, she said: "The doctor is in the next room. He will be right with you."
And within two minutes, he was there.
He was pleased with my recovery -- even though he was disappointed that I had stayed in the splint so long. My muscles and tendons are still frozen in place.
But he was encouraging and personable. Asking if I had any vacation plans.
I almost felt I was experiencing a completely different medical experience -- compared with my experience last week.
Now, I know there is a major income flow difference between an orthopedic clinic and a family practice clinic. But that is a terrible reason for reating patients as if they have no control over their own lives.
The frosting on this cake is I have put aside my crutches. Last week my physical therapist tried to convince me to walk with only one crutch. I couldn't do it.
On Monday I tried it at work -- with no problem. That evening I put aside the other crutch.
Is there connection between my self-confidence to walk without my crutches and the adult treatment I received at the clinic?
I don't know. I do know I walked (mind you, walked) away from the clinic thinking this is the way medical systems should work.