Friday, March 20, 2015

The Changing Face of Medicine (It's Got Pimples)

When I was a little girl in the Days of the Dinosaurs, medically we were served by "family doctors"!  Yes!  Phone call, doorbell and Doctor was there, black bag in hand.  Unimaginable today unless you subscribe to (and pay mightily for) concierge doctors, found in  areas such as Beverly Hills or Palos Verdes. 

And back then, doctors went beyond the call of duty.  I was diagnosed with appendicitis and Dr. Meyers told my parents, "Put her in the backseat of your car (no seatbelts then) and bring her to the hospital - I'll meet you there."  I still remember feeling cheated because no dramatic exit via a siren-screaming ambulance.  Just an anonymous-looking family sedan.  A bitter pill, I can assure you!

Time passed and for the most part, I never needed a doctor.  And then I moved to Beverly Hills.  If there were "family doctors" I never found them.  Instead I was initiated into 902`0-land with the news that I would have to see a specialist.  When I left 14 years later, I left behind an ENT, Ob-gym, urologist and I can't remember the rest of them.  If I raced horses, I had a more-than-adequate stable.

Today we have a very different situation.  I go to Dr. Maher, the eye surgeon for local recommendations.  He always gives me a choice of three names.  This time, Richie needed a cardiologist.  Maher to the rescue.  At one of the names, he said, "This is my mother-in-law's cardio" and I immediately asked, "But do you like her?"  When we could quit laughing, I chose that doctor.

And then my ob-gyn said, in shock, "Don't  you have a General Practitioner?"
"What's  that?" I asked.  He told me and gave me a recommendation - a doctor Gee (am now searching for a doctor Haw.)  Today's GP is more of a traffic cop than anything else.  "I'm going to refer you to Doctor XYZ - he's a specialist" is frequently heard in his office. 

This afternoon I have an appointment with a pain specialist to whom I was sent by my orthopod who in turn was recommended by my neurologist  This is called "turf-ing a patient out" and I suspect is the short phrase for "putting a patient out to grass."
My roster includes an ob-gyn, an orthopod, neurologist and my very favorite an Urgent Care physician  named Dr. Wynn.  He is aggressive in treating patients.  At our very first meeting (dog bite into cellulitis )he studied my swollen, maroon-colored forearm and muttered to himself, "I'm going kill this s--t!" and then realized I'd heard him.  His face flushed so to make him feel better, I grinned and said, F--- Ay!" and we've been tight ever since. 

That's the kind of doctor I like.   He reminds me of our family doctor, Meyers.  He'd hand you a prescription and say, "Take two of these to start and then one every four hours  and if you aren't better, by noon tomorrow, call me."  No ailment or disease ever failed to beat the noon deadline. 

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