The Doctor is Out

When was the last time you saw an independent doctor? Nowadays, they are contracted as employees of hospital organizations. It’s easier for the insurance companies to set network rates and for the hospital to order medical supplies on economy of scale.

Hospital organizations now deal with their medical staffs like professional sports management and their athletes. You can’t tell who the doctors are in any hospital group without a scorecard. The players- I mean, doctors- come and go too frequently. More than a half year ago one of the specialists my mother sees left the group. She is still waiting to meet with her replacement in another two months. Until then, if she has any issues related to that specialty, it is handled by the bullpen (keeping with the sports analogy).

This was the third of her doctors to abandon ship in the past two years- one of them a surgeon who did some mighty fine work using a new device to implant into one of the regions of her body.

Three months ago her primary care physician (what we used to call ‘family doctor’) up and quit. She gave a short advance warning but there were no replacement doctors available. Any new doctor she was to visit would be considered as a new relationship even though she had been a patient in the hospital system for more than twenty years. Luckily, after throwing a tantrum as well as begging (me, not my mother), she was able to get scheduled a replacement doctor only three months away.

My mother saw the new doctor two weeks. She was beautiful, young, fashion model-like in appearance. She wore four inch red stiletto high heels (not kidding). Even though she was not well experienced, as she talked with my mother, she knew how to use the computer system to research issues.

She set my mother up for appointments she needed to do with other doctors as well as adjusted her medicines. She told her to schedule her annual wellness visit with her three months hence.

Oh- one other thing. She mentioned that she too was leaving the practice but not for at least five months. Oh, well. And so it goes…..

Life is Grand- I Mean, Great

Recently a sister felt it was time to brag about her grandchild to all her relatives who email with her. This was in response to another sister whose daughter-in-law sends out daily video and pictorial releases of the first child/grandchild.

I don’t have a problem with receiving their daily missives. Not at all. Keep ’em coming. What bothers me is what I supposed to call their kids? My siblings are grandmothers. But, I am in the prime of my life and don’t want anyone to add the word ‘grand’ as a title when addressing me. I’m the great uncle, not grand uncle- see? I’m a great uncle besides that. The objects of affection are great nephews and nieces- not grand nephews and nieces. Got it?

So, my sister- or should I call her granny?- related the following story about her oldest grandchild who is now about 4 years old, I think. Heck, I don’t even remember his name. I always nod when she mentions it, knowing very well that it is not sticking in my memory bank.

The boy received surgical stitches the other day. He fell on a toy and got a large cut above his eye. His mother- whose name I don’t remember, either- said: “He was such a trooper! We all kept talking to him during the process to keep him occupied…here are a few things he said on the exam table, while he was being stitched…

(Ed. Note: I promise you that this will all make sense later on. Let me know when you are finished reading. Ok?)

Dr.: Do you want ice-cream after we fix you up?
Boy: yeah
Dr: Which flavor?
Boy: RED!!!! (with tears streaming down his cheeks)
Dr: You mean strawberry?
Boy: no, cherry!!!! OUCH OUCH!

A couple of minutes later..
Boy: It hurts it hurts! I want a cherry on top! I want cherry ice cream with a cherry on top so they are twins! (sob sob)

Boy: I want apple ice cream!
Dr: Do you mean apple ice-pop?
Boy: NO!!!!! I want red apple ice-cream!

Mother (what’s her name): When mommy and daddy were little, we also got big boo-boos and went to the doctor to get stitches.
Boy: And after a lot of days and nights, Dr. Sammy took them out?”

My sister’s daugther-in-law continued: “I realized later that Dr. Sammy’s prize box was empty, so that’s why he was telling me so that I would give him ice-cream. In the car on the way home, he said, ‘Mommy, we should get Dr. Sammy more prizes ‘cuz he doesn’t have any more!’
He noticed on his own! LOL!” (Don’t you love it when people laugh at their own humorous observations. [Ha, ha])

Dear reader, if you’ve stopped rolling your eyes, I’d like to point out the significance of this vignette. You see, when anyone ever looks at me after I say something stupid- which is usually about every fifteen minutes- someone will invariably say to me,” hey, did somebody drop you on your head when you were a kid?”

I’d then usually nod and say, “not quite but my sister brained me with a large metal spinning top when I was three and she was four. I don’t remember much about it other than being told I was taken to the doctor who stopped the bleeding and stitched up my skull.”

I don’t recall as well receiving any gifts to help make the hurt go away. I didn’t get even with her but my sister got her comeuppance a couple of years later and this I do remember- she came running home from playing next door with our neighbor who lived on the same floor in our apartment building. She was screaming hysterically because a wire hanger was caught in her head and couldn’t extract it. I think she had to get a tetanus shot because of the metal breaking the skin. Served her right.

Oh, and this is not one of the sisters who are grandmothers. Yeah, I guess you can say I hit the trifecta in female siblings. Well, nobody is perfecta.