Sometimes you have to fire your doctor.
Like when she goes on vacation and you’re forced to see her office partner. The office partner who gives you a prescription with a dosage suitable for a 3rd grader, let alone that he gave amoxicillin to someone with a long history of ear infections. My body laughed at it like it was candy and ramped up the raging infection, throwing in a sinus infection in just for good measure. I actually got WORSE after taking the partner doctor’s prescription, despite him saying I would be improved in 2 to 3 days.
I toughed it out over the weekend so I could see my GP, calling Monday morning desperate to see her. I explained how I had already been in and have had an ear ACHE for a week. To which they said, “Sorry, no appointments until Wednesday.” So I left a message for her nurse to see if they could call another prescription in for me – and the nurse NEVER called me back.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and she still hasn’t called.
It seems so silly now that I suffered all weekend, waiting to see my primary care doctor. Well, I wasn’t a girl scout, but I can tell you that I always have a plan B in my mind.
I thought about how just a couple days before the Cupcake went from fine one minute to screaming with ear pain the next – of course on a Sunday evening — so we sought out the after-hours pediatrician and dragged her in at 8:30 p.m. She was in pajamas and so distraught (okay, crying, kicking, generally all around pissed off), that it wasn’t until after the doc promised her they had NO shots in the ENTIRE building, (“We don’t give shots here!” the doc pleaded…) that Cupcake finally unburied her face from my coat and managed to shoot a long series of grumpy stink eyes at the very patient doc for the rest of our encounter.
One 24-hour pharmacy visit, 2 days, and she was her old self.
That first visit to the after-hours pediatrician was such a welcome relief. It was very kid-friendly with movies and huge painted fairy tale murals on the walls. Daddy and I were happy that we dodged a very, very long night, that the Cupcake was able to rest and get better. If you’re in the Dallas area, here’s where we went. There’s a 24 hour CVS in the same parking lot! Go there!
I was now a big fan of the after-hours medical care.
My only other experience with neighborhood clinics was a couple of trips for stitches (crafting and cooking projects gone bad) and it was a reasonably decent visit. That was years ago though, and I was skeptical of how it would be this go around.
Desperate to get my ear ache under control, yesterday I registered online with CareNow to see if I could get into their neighborhood clinic. (There are 23 in the DFW area.) Everyone in Dallas is sick so I imagined they would also tell me they were full. I did web check-in, the nurse called me within a few minutes to provide an estimate of my fees based on my insurance, and the approximate time when they could see me. That day.
Here’s where I really like this evolved form of neighborhood clinic. You get to stay at home until they’re ready for you. No more sitting in the waiting room – or heaven forbid the emergency room – for hours on end getting exposed to God-knows what. Then CareNow called back (an hour and a half earlier than their estimate) when my appointment was ready. I was skeptical that once I got there that it would be a faster admission process, but it really reduced the wait time in the lobby dramatically.
And let’s talk about the lobby. They had family movies playing for both adults and kids, and it was nicely decorated. There was a lot of activity so you were assured they were getting people through pretty quickly. Once in my private room, I didn’t have to wait long to see the doctor, (although I wouldn’t have minded because every patient room has a TV with the SAME movie on it so you can pick up where you left off in the lobby – genius!) and SHE (YEP! This CareNow has all female docs!) didn’t mess around with kiddie drugs to knock out my infection. Two shots and two prescriptions later, I was promised to be on the road to recovery.
This was a one-time visit to CareNow, and I can only presume that all the CareNow’s are similar. I am a wholehearted fan. They’re changing the way people can get access to medical treatment. It’s as if someone took a look at the patient perspective of everything we hate about going to the doctor and improved it. The only thing that would have been better is if there was a 24 hour pharmacy in their parking lot too.
I have always stuck with the system, been loyal to my doctor. We’ve been conditioned through the years with HMO’s and strict insurance guidelines, all driven by your benefits and what you’re covered for. Wait it out and accommodate the doctors limited schedule. But now I question it. Sure, there’s better continuity for care with a regular doctor when you establish a relationship, probably cheaper depending on your health care plan… And when you’re sick, that means a lot. When you’re in agony and they tell you to wait for 2 days? Well, I have to look out for me. Doctors medical practices are a business, there are good ones and bad ones. Mine happened to disappoint me, but I am happy that I have the option to take my business elsewhere. Thanks CareNow.