My New Family Doctor Is Also The Clinic’s Assistant/Receptionist/Cleaning Lady

Have you noticed that our healthcare system is overworked, under appreciated and shrinking faster than a violet under a UV lamp?!?
“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Collin who?”
“Collin all doctors! Collin all doctors! Five million Canadians need to book an appointment!” I was not all that upset to learn that five million Canadians do not presently have a family doctor until that number suddenly jumped to 5,000,001. Me.
During my last visit to the clinic I was talking about this to Lynn, the assistant to my former doctor who semi-retired and moved out-of-province. His replacement from England never showed up.
“So Lynn, why don’t you take over as the doctor?”
Lynn who was taking my blood pressure laughed. I did not.
Seriously, how difficult can it be? I come in and you pretend you’re happy to see me. I tell you what’s troubling me and you bring up my chart on the computer and punch in details of today’s visit. Then you either write me a prescription, send me for bloodwork or refer me to a specialist. That’s all your boss ever did.
Lynn was now looking at me like my health issue was probably more mental than physical. Seriously, put on a white tunic, hang a stethoscope around your neck, show interest, exude sympathy and then pass me along to someone else.
Lynn wasn’t buying into my new healthcare plan in which assistants and receptionists at medical clinics will now replace General Practitioners.
It’s easy. I come in and tell you that it really hurts when I do this and you say: “So don’t do that.” I leave, you bill OHIP and everybody’s happy. Plus, if you call me “Hon” I’ll leave you a tip.
Think about it, Lynn. You’re already giving me my annual flu shot, checking for fever and testing my blood pressure and heart rate. Every so often suggest I get that shingles vaccine. I’ll say no and you show me the photos of people who suffer from the disease. Then you help me up and bring me to with smelling salts. I then beg you to give me two shingles shots, the booster and something that’ll help me sleep tonight.
Also, you won’t get any complaints because nobody ever answers the phone and your message says you can’t leave a message! Lynn began taking her own blood pressure.
Okay, let’s say I come to see you and I’m ranting about a pulmonary embolism or degenerative myelopathy or other things neither of us know anything about. You just say: “I’m a doctor. This is an apple. Get lost.”
Or I’ll come in and point to my right eye which is so bloodshot you can barely see the pupil and you’ll say: “I think you have pink eye.”
And I’ll say: “Well, I’d like a second opinion.”
And you’ll say: “Okay, that shirt doesn’t match those shorts.”
I had a great GP for 20 years. Jim. I’d book an appointment twice a year and we’d talk — golf, the weather, amazing medical breakthroughs like the guy featured on 60 Minutes who played the violin while he was undergoing brain surgery.
At the end of our conversation Jim would prod this and probe that and ask how I was feeling. I’d say ‘great’ and he’d tell me to come back in six months. That system worked perfectly — a chat, a flu shot, his assurance that my good cholesterol was beating the crap out of my bad cholesterol — and I’d be on my way.
Until the day that the system failed. The day the latex glove came out.
Jim was checking a small cyst in the groin area and I guess I didn’t hear him bring up the subject of prostate enlargement because I was talking at the same time about how I have a surprising low threshold for pain and… HULLO!!!
You know how these anti-vaxxers are running around putting the rest of us in danger, ensuring that the COVID-19 virus will be with us forever and brandishing signs that scream “Violation of bodily rights?!?”
When you hear the words “Bend over, this will only take a minute” from a man of authority — well, that right there is a legitimate reason to protest against doctors and… wear a wetsuit to all future medical check-ups. So Lynn, when you bring up the subject of Digital Rectal Exam, I’ll say ‘don’t do that’, you nod in agreement and we’ll get along just fine.
Lynn, you might as well take over the doctor’s practice because I’ve already spoken with Milly, the cleaning lady that comes into the clinic on weekends and she’s quite keen to become the next GP. In fact, not only has Milly never missed an episode of General Hospital, she’s already enrolled in the online Doctorate of Medicine course at Rochville University where Chester Ludlow, a purebred Pug, recently received his MBA. (Honest!)
Trust me, Lynn. On your worst day as the new GP — suffering a migraine, with the parking lot under four feet of snow and the Internet down — for five million Canadians without a family doctor it would still be better than nothing.
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