Thursday, August 25, 2005


So, I work in an office. A pretty cool, interesting office, but an office all the same, with cubicles and supply closets and gossip and filing cabinets and petty disagreements and many people sharing the same windowless, airless space.

A hazard of such environs, as I'm sure many of you can attest to, is the sharing of germs. I'm certainly not afraid of germs (heck, I ride the ttc every day), but there's something really disturbing about one person at work getting sick...and then a week later the rest of us coming down with curiously similar symptoms...

Anyway, one of my coworkers, an absolutely lovely lady whom I very much enjoy working with, has a very bad habit of not feeling well and COMING IN TO WORK REGARDLESS. I appreciate her dedication. However. I do NOT appreciate having to share her illnesses on a regular basis!

It's seriously like clockwork. A couple of weeks ago, she came in while demonstratively (I'll spare you the details) not well. Three days later, I was getting ready to leave work early to go to a walk in clinic. sigh. I was pretty sure I had caught her case of strep throat, having suffered through strep a few times when I was in public school. ANYWAY - I get to the walk-in clinic (The Doctor's Office in the Atrium) and get my deli-line-up-esque numbered ticket to await my turn. The place is literally deserted - there are two nurses giggling over Jennifer Aniston's Vanity Fair interview behind the counter, the bored receptionist staring at her computer, me sitting beside a sad-looking aloe vera plant, and that's about it. After nearly half an hour (oh how I hate waiting rooms), they bring me in to the examination room and ask me to take a seat on the paper-covered examination table.

Now, I'm short, so I hate hopping on to those slippery suckers at the best of times, but there was no stool here, so I literally had to 'climb up'. It was difficult. The paper didn't make it. After another fifteen minutes or so (fifteen minutes - long enough for me to inventory the office: 18 tongue depressors in a jar on the counter, one pair of rubber gloves in the trash can, two prescription pads, box of what looked to be assorted syringes, large sign saying "we do not, under any circumstances, prescribe narcotic analgesics such as tylenol 3, codeine, hydrocordone, levorthanol, morphine or anileridine". Obviously I'm in a high-class joint. I'm thinking about calling my firstborn 'levorthanol'. Thoughts?) the doctor finally comes in. He doesn't bother with introducing himself, just walks over to the counter (with the tongue-depressors and syringes) and, keeping his back to me, asks me what he can do for me today.

I explain that I suspect that I have strep throat, and he grunts, opens the tongue depressor jar, takes one out, turns to me, asks me to open my mouth and say 'ahhh' (seriously - just like sesame street). Then he says, "yeah, it looks inflamed in there. So do you want the test, or do you just want me to write you a prescription".

Whaaaaa? Am I there to self-diagnose and self-prescribe? What if I don't actually have strep throat? What if it's something much worse which has similar symptoms? More importantly - what would he do if I asked for a narcotic analgesic to dull the pain?

I asked for the test, and he most begrudgingly administered it. Ten minutes later it turns out I did indeed have strep, and he did indeed write me a prescription. However, I am completely appalled at his drive-thru, cavalier approach to my health care. Thank god my real doctor is a little more....well, curious, about me and my health. She's involved. She cares. Now if only she had convenient office hours...


Anonymous roro said...

Dude, that's pretty brutal. I HATE it when disgustingly sick people come to work. Those martyr-type people don't really get that when you're a martyr, you're just hurting YOURSELF. Infecting others due to your martyrdom makes you a criminal. As for the doctor - since you were self-diagnosing and self-prescribing, though, you should have gone for the gusto! "I have generalized anxiety and my foot hurts. Can I get a scrip for some ativan and a narcotic analgesic?"

10:20 AM  
Blogger Toxic Chi said...

Doctors have become glorified drug dealers. They may as well install drive-thru windows at the pharmaceutical offices so we can skip the middle man.

You should have stolen the prescription pad so you could write your own narcotic analgesic prescription.

10:23 PM  
Blogger ers said...

Oh man, i KNOW. You can never have too many narcotic analgesics floating around.

8:12 PM  

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