Avoiding the Doctor’s Office

26 Dec

I don’t have a fear of the doctor–after all, I worked in hospitals for 11 years–but I have no great desire to go see one, even when I’m sick. Is it being cheap, annoyed at taking the time, just stubborn, or do I understand the limitations of what the doctor can do for me?

The answer is all four–sorry to give it away right at the beginning–but there’s no one reason. I certainly have a great respect for what modern medicine can do for me, but having worked primarily in emergency departments, I also know what is routine and doctor’s really can’t do anything about. These are known as Triage/Acutity 5 patients, and they take up so much time, that bigger ED’s actually have separate sections (“fast track” areas) to quickly deal with those patients, so they can leave space for the real cases.

Let me address my issues one at a time–yes, I’m cheap. Even if I had better insurance, it would still cost a significant amount of money to go into the doctor’s office. Thankfully, there are plenty of urgent cares, which do deal with the low acuity patients that ED’s would rather not see, but won’t wait to see a family practitioner. So even if I wait to see the local doc, I still have to pay $35 up front on top of whatever else he wants me to buy. I’ve actually gone to alternative medicine clinics more often because it’s far cheaper.

I also get annoyed at the waste of time. Average visit to the urgent care/ED still run between 2-4 hours, depending on the capacity. I understand why that is the case–the patient can’t, because they don’t see the other patients, or the amount of paperwork that has to be done for every intake, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially when you’ve been waiting an hour and the doctor comes in for two minutes, takes a look, and then says, “Oh, yeah, you’ve got X. I’ll write a prescription.” Unless you’re looking for a antibiotic, it’s usually not worth the wait.

There’s also a limit to what doctors can do. A majority of doctors tend to die at home, because if you know what’s killing you, you also know what can be done to stop it. And if there’s nothing–or the price is too high–why bother going somewhere else to die? I’m not saying you shouldn’t go in for testing or a physical every so often, but there’s no point going in for a sniffles.

So there’s the stubborn issue–my mother actually died from it. She was deathly afraid of doctors, and even though the ovarian cyst she had was perfectly and routinely treatable (and probably hurt like hell before hand), she didn’t want to go in. So when it burst–poof, she died of blood loss. (This was thirty years ago, so don’t feel too bad for me; man proposes and God disposes.) However, I have that stubborn streak, and if my kids cut their hand, my first thought is not, “My God, get them to the hospital!” It’s usually, “Okay, let’s get a bandage.” I’m worse with myself; I’m more willing to go for my family members.

What do you think? Do you have trouble going into the doctor’s office? Do you have the opposite problem? What’s your line for wanting to be seen by a medical professional? Tell me in the comments below!

3 Responses to “Avoiding the Doctor’s Office”

  1. iFlyMSP December 26, 2020 at 1:07 pm #

    Being married to an ICU nurse I know when to see a health professional, and when to just deal with what’s wrong. I get my annual physical and other necessary tests, and yes, will even get the covid vaccine as soon as I can, but I don’t use the local clinic or ER for, as you say, the sniffles.

  2. Barbara Strickland December 27, 2020 at 2:23 am #

    Its a hard question. The cost these days is very much a part of what you may and may not do. However taking chances with your life can effect so many other people that it is ridiculous not to check things out. It is a hard question.

  3. Silk Cords December 28, 2020 at 2:05 am #

    Playing catch up here. I agree with your analysis. Cost, time lost and treatment limits are all reasons I avoid the doctor. When I burned the hell out of my hand a couple weeks back (and posted about it), I didn’t go to the doctor because I knew it was a second degree burn and they wouldn’t do any more than what I was doing at home to treat it, BUT they’d have charged an arm and a leg for treatment.

    Now, had it been a third degree burn, or shown signs of infection, I’d have at least gone to an urgent care facility. Otherwise I can bandage and put ointment on a burn myself.

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