You’re On Your Own – Being Your Own Doctor

This post is part of the series about my experiences with today’s version of American healthcare, particularly associated with my wife’s fifty days and counting exposure to it after her fourth heart attack.

I’m sure I have interfaced with at least two dozen MDs in the last month and none of them, including my wife’s PCP, seem to look beyond one of her many present maladies. No one sees her as a person, only a condition found primarily from a blood test. Initially that was hard for me to accept, but as the time has gone by it has become abundantly clear.

The very concept of Primary Care Physician (PCP) is greatly tarnished now. I hope that what I have experienced is mostly limited to the one doctor, who just doesn’t seem to give a shit. He seems to be going through the motions and that is about it. He is older and only working mornings now, so don’t even try to see him past noon. He is anti-technology, so don’t try to get him to interface with the system database portal that is open to patients and doctors.

My Aspie traits just took over during our most recent visit to him. I struggled for three days to make an urgent appointment with him. I thought he would give us an overall plan for making my wife better. Instead, all he had to talk about was how critically low her potassium level was. It didn’t seem to bother him that she has lost 20 lbs in two weeks due to not being able to eat solid or almost any other food. When I asked him three direct questions about her current state, he just didn’t seem interested!

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe there are people who really do care, but it seems their ability to do more is stifled by the near monopoly system in our State. I don’t know how typical my home State is, but one corporation has pretty much taken over all healthcare in the State. There are very few doctors now who have a “private” practice. They are all now grouped together in five or six person “teams” and no one seems to be in charge.

My wife has had the same cardiologist for about a dozen years now, but he is now part of a “team” of six or so others. I have interfaced with at least a half dozen cardiologists, but he was not one of them. The “team” has never told me if anyone is in charge, I doubt they even know.

One of my favorite medical TV shows is “The Good Doctor”. It is about a young doctor with Asperger’s syndrome who is a genius diagnostician. At least in my experience, that seems to be what is missing now, if it ever existed. Someone to take charge and look beyond their specialty. No one is in charge of the patient anymore, they only deal with their specialty. It is up to the patient and his family to try to make sense of it all.

4 thoughts on “You’re On Your Own – Being Your Own Doctor

  1. Perhaps time to find another primary care doctor. My wife and I stumbled along until we found a small two doctor practice that is excellent. We had a similar practice in in a previous life — one of the last private family practices in the area.

    The current practice may convert to a “concierge” practice, which we will join even if Medicare doesn’t cover it. The head doctor is pretty disgusted with the insurance system, and just wants to practice good medicine.

    Look around. There are still doctors that care about their patients. Ours now offers telemedicine, so it does not need to be immediately local.

    Best wishes with your wife!

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    1. Thanks for the thoughts Daryl and the best wishes.

      I just pray we can find why she can’t eat before it is too late. We have an appointment on Tuesday with an internest, I pray that he will take charge with this problem.

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  2. Yes, You are now seeing socialized medicine. Socialized medicine that is under siege after being shut down for 18 months. Although they are paid better then most in the socialized medicine countries, I find that the hospitalists and primary care doctors have much to be desired. You have to be your own advocate. As far as I can tell Telemedicine is good if you have a cold- but what about a heart attack? Things have changed—quickly!
    My sister in law (Vegas) pushed and pushed- calling hundreds of times, to get an appointment with a cancer doctor because her primary said she was fine. She has breast cancer… Her surgery is scheduled for end of July- first available.
    My mom’s (Phoenix) primary telemedicine told her the bouts of diarrhea was cause by stress. Finally she was so ill they took her to the hospital to find huge pockets of abcess between her stomach and intestines. Then she got a Hugh gash on her leg- and they wouldn’t stick it! We a paid an off duty nurse for the 24 stiches!
    Mayo said my BIL (Mesa)had osteoarthritis and refused to look further when he continued to get worse. A homeopath said it was something with his blood….He died of Leukemia.
    Unless you are willing to pay- in cash- out of pocket….you are on your own for medicine from what I can tell.

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