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What Ails Me
There's sort of an HMO roman a clef going on in this story!
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Since I was 12, I've been going to an HMO facility for my health care.  For 36 years, I've been trained on what to do and expect once I get there.  While in recent years, I think the HMO has been worried about their customer service, this medical group is very much a stack 'em up, get 'em in, get 'em out kind of place.  In fact, of late, they don't even really want you to come in at all.  A scary new feature on their email provider allows us poor schmucks to send photos of various things to our doctors.

I don't even want to consider some of the shots the docs get.  Really.

I am very happy to have my HMO, though sometimes I think that at least they haven't killed me.  Not yet, at least.  I don't want to go in, ever, though sometimes there is no getting around it.  Now and again, I feel that I have to go.  Things aren't working in some important way.  There is pain or there is a need for stitches. 

There is no way to take a photo of what ails me.

Yesterday, I went in for the second time for a complaint, and I waited for 45 minutes for my doctor to come in the exam room.  Actually, she wasn't "my" doctor at all, but my doctor doesn't actually seem to work much any more.  And I'm not sure how I can call her my doctor because I think in 6 years, I've only seem her 6 times.  But at my HMO, she's my doctor, despite her non-workingness.

But when my non-doctor actually showed up, she sat down and asked me questions.  She went over tests that were done a couple weeks back.  She listed to me.  She examined me.  She asked more questions.  She got out a diagram and showed me things.  She prescribed me medication and signed me up for more tests.

All the while, I was getting nervous, thinking, You have to go!  You can't stay in here that long!  You don't have time for this!  There are five other people in other exam rooms that need you.  Hurry it up, girlfriend!

And when she actually asked me for a book recommendation, I was stunned.  There's time to talk?  Holy cow! (I recommended Cutting for Stone, which in many ways was applicable to my visit to her).

I walked out of my visit feeling better, feeling relieved, feeling that I would get to the bottom of all this in no time.  But I also felt good that unlike the visit I'd had a couple of weeks ago with another non-doctor, that I was getting closer to the answer, and that the answer had been provided in a human way, in time, with thought, with no rushing.

I almost didn't feel guilty about the five other people in the rooms, waiting.