Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finding a family doctor - part 1

I titled this post with a Part 1, because I expect this will be a multi-step, frustrating-as-all-hell, process for our family.

Way back when, before we moved to the boonies, both hubby and I had family doctors that we both liked, in the city.  Like minutes from our doorstep.  

Lots of people had asked me if I was changing doctors/hospitals etc, when I moved.  Since I only had one month to go pregnancy-wise, I figured, nah, I'll just keep the same doctor for the time-being.  And that worked.  It worked for delivery (loved Mt Sinai).  And it worked for after-care (in my transition up the boondocks, it was a very nice excuse to get into the "city" when I had to take Maddie in for her well-baby checkups).

And then I went back to work.  And uh, a doctor all the way in downtown Toronto became a little less-than-convenient.  Hence, Maddie turning 19-months and still needing her 15-month shots...

Now, to be perfectly honest, I did find a new family doctor up here.  At the medical centre that is around the corner from our house.  I found her a long time ago actually, just a few months after Maddie was born.

And I hate her.

Sorry, I mean...

I HATE her.


My first appointment with her was more of an "interview" of sorts.  Her interviewing us, I was told.  To determine if she wanted us to become part of her patient roster.  To get this interview, we had to wait over a month for an appointment to open up.  And then, on the day of the appointment, wait another hour in the waiting room.

For a five-minute interview.

We went over our history, she not-so-much listened, as she nodded her head in anticipation of everything I said, in a way that I felt, was saying, Lady, get ON with it.  And so I did.  I spoke as fast and as concisely as humanly possible.

I mean, it's only my NEWBORN CHILD, right?  Why shouldn't I just gloss over random things like my ALLERGY HISTORY and other inconsequential stuff?

So that was experience #1.  

Experience #2 was about 4 weeks later.  Maddie had woken up to nurse in the middle of the night and I noticed her eye was completely crusted closed.  Gross, right?  

So I called the doctor for an appointment.  Nothing available for WEEKS.  But luckily they host an after-hours clinic for patients only, from 5-8pm every night.  Okay, that's cool.  I'm home with her, we can totally make it into the office right for 5.  And she's a baby right?  They won't make me wait?

We waited for an hour.

They gave us a prescription for some drops and that was that.  Not a terrible experience (except, you know, the whole waiting for an HOUR bit).  In fact the doctor we saw was nice, personable and concerned.  Of course, she wasn't OUR doctor - and after I asked, told me, no, we couldn't switch to her practice.  Apparently inter-office stealing of patients isn't viewed as acceptable practice behaviour...

By then, I had decided I'd still take Maddie to our downtown doctor for her shots and checkups, and just use this doctor's office for "walk-in" type appointments - only when absolutely necessary.

I know some friends who are in the healthcare field have exploding heads at the above sentence - let me just say.  I don't care.  Yes, I was double-dipping with 2 doctors, and I don't care.  I think it's important you feel comfortable with your doctor.  Just because they're hard to find, doesn't mean we still shouldn't be choosy, does it?

Anyways, long story short, we went  to the walk-in part of the clinic a few other times.  Waited for freaking ever, each time.  And then came experience #6.

This was when Maddie had her first ear infection.  We had actually managed to get an appointment in the afternoon that day at last minute, which was suprising and delighting all in itself.  And so we arrived, and waited.  And waited.  And an hour later, were finally beckoned.

To wait in the room for another 20 minutes. Awesome.

Finally, our Doctor comes in.  She asks me what's wrong.  I start to explain the symptoms, what we noticed first, how it's escalated..... and......

She walks out of the room.

I'm literally in mid-sentence.

So we sit.  And we wait.  And 10 (or 2, but felt like 10) minutes pass.

And she arrives back all nonchalant.

I don't effing think so...

Me: "Um, that's a little rude, don't you think?"

Dr: "What?"

Me: "Leaving the room while I'm in mid-sentence, telling you my daughter's symptoms."

Dr: "Oh, I had to go get this (the ear thermometer)."

Me: "That's fine.  But you don't leave in mid-sentence."

Dr: "But I was coming right back?"

Me: "Again, I get that you weren't disappearing forever. Off the face of the earth." My voice is escalating at this point, and anyone who knows me, knows that so far, I've kept it so much more together than I normally would. And internally, I'm shaking with rage. At this rude doctor I've tried to like. Tried to deal with. And will. Not. Anymore. 

Me again: "But whether you were coming right back or not, you shouldn't leave while someone is speaking.  I mean, I'm sorry, but that's just plain rude."

Dr: "Yeah yeah yeah, she has a fever and has been coughing.  You had already said that."

Me (voice in serious escalation mode): "NO.  I had NOT said she had been COUGHING.  I was SAYING that she was starting to pull at her throat, so maybe...."

Dr (cutting me off again): "Yeah yeah, so she has infection, probably just a cold."

Me: "Right.  Fine.  Just take her temperature then."

Dr: "Now you're the one being rude."


So that's that.  I have vowed never to set foot in that office again.  Hence our day-trip downtown next week to our old Doctor for Maddie's 15-month shots.  And why I'm conducting another search.  

Fun and games.



Carly said...

OK, you must tell me who this is. Because I drive to your Boonies from my Boonies to go to That Clinic, and we have a wonderful doctor there. I'm not sure if she's taking new patients, but you should ask.

Email me, k?

Liz said...

Markham Family Physicans
Although we live in Brooklin, I have found Markham handy for driving and well this practice is attached to the hospital (the building as well as the staff) I have seen a number of the Docs and really have liked all of them. I believe Dr. Wise and Dr. Lougheed ( the young one) are taking patients. (Dr. Lougheed's mom is also a Doc. at this clinic)
All the GPs are part of a Family MD network so they all work together to ensure you are seen when you need to be seen and not weeks later.
Okay, that's it from me you would think I am getting a referral fee.