Finding ourselves in Vermont at something already past cat lunchtime, we decided to make tracks for home, via the supermarket in Greenwich.
Not that Vermont is any great distance, the nearest border being less than 30 minutes from home.
But we had meandered there via all sorts of back roads, making mental notes for future drives, in the Fall.
Ooh. Two more cars!
Well, we were on a State route now
So, as we progress back to Greenwich, I’ll tell you about a surprising and most refreshing experience I had, last Wednesday.
It’s only fair to mention it because I normally am not known to be complimentary about US Healthcare.
When medicine became a business rather than a vocation, “care” went out of the equation.
Not the fault of healthcare workers, but surely to their frustration?
These days it’s all healthcare conglomerates whose bottom line is profit, achieved at the cost of actual care.
Any ailment grander than say a stubbed toe involves a specialist and that, they always say, requires a referral, thus incurring inspection first by primary care, even though you know they won’t be able to help.
When I suddenly developed serious nerve pain I was sufficiently agitated to become pro-active.
Online, I located a specialist that seemed to offer what I thought might help and instead of being steered to a specialist within my health group, I sent off a request to his office.
No, I did not need a referral.
The website had shown available appointments.
Surely I could not be so lucky? No waiting three months to be seen? Too good to be true, surely?
Next day, I was on! As always, we were early.
But as a new patient, there would be paperwork, so in I went.
Entering the office, I recognized the person at reception as the doctor whose picture is on the website.
He greeted me cheerily. While he did not need to be a genius to figure out who I was, it was delightful for once not to have to go through the litany of my details. He had it all right there.
He smiled up at me, introducing himself and laughing about filling in as his own receptionist.
Then he took me to a consult room and surveyed the offending foot.
Primary care had viewed it the previous day, declaring it would probably need to be x-rayed and I had been wondering at what point in the future I might expect actual treatment.
My new specialist listened to my story, showed me a diagram of a foot, explaining what he suspected might be amiss.
A couple of injections would hopefully relieve pain while serving also as a diagnostic test.
And he would do it there and then.
No waiting for a future appointment.
No changing into surgical gowns.
No signatures required.
The doctor went next door to get what he required.
Five minutes after my appointment time, I was back in the car and we were off home.
Grant looked at me amazed, as I started to laugh.
In the past, I had enjoyed talking to my doctor as a person. He had looked at me and talked to me.
But for over twenty years now, doctors have sat typing into their computer, barely listening to a word I say, scarcely glancing at me.
It is dehumanizing, but that is the modern system.
To suddenly be treated again as a face, as a breathing person rather than a number was more refreshing than I can actually express.
And for once I did not feel that I was being viewed as an elderly woman with unreasonable expectations.
You see, my foot was not really the subject.
Just a participant in the story.
By now we’re back in the Empire State.
Still needing to do some shopping
we sped past the house…
promptly catching up with a “putt putt driver”.
(That’s Grant’s polite term for a slow poke.)
As I pointed out, we had been driving for two hours without seeing a soul.
How could we complain?
Finally, some two hours beyond normal lunch hour, we pulled in to the driveway.
The look says it all.