Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paging M.D. Lite

I called my doctor in New Orleans by the accurate-but-unflattering name of "M.D. Lite." She was my post-Katrina doctor, since my real doctor never returned to New Orleans after the storm, preferring, for some reason, the relatively safe confines of her evacuation site, Texas. So, floundering in the early months after the storm and needing a doctor, I pretty much closed my eyes and pointed to a name. Thus began my two years with M.D. Lite.

She was nice enough, didn't treat me like an overweight fool without the sense to put down the sugar jar, and seemed competent to treat my (thankfully minor) ailments, which were generally limited to the flu and a ripped tendon in my foot (which to be fair she didn't recognize but at least had the sense to send me to a savvy physical therapist who recognized the problem).

So now here I am in the wilds of east Alabama, and I have no nickname yet for my new doctor because, quite frankly, I have yet to see her from the front. How does that work, you might ask?

Well, first, early last October, as my blood pressure meds were running low, I called to make an appointment, armed with my spiffy new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance card that will allow me to see most anyone. Problem: only two doctors in the county were accepting new patients. So, I make an appointment with Dr. X on the first available date: January 14. Sheesh! More than three months' waiting time. Hope I don't get sick, I thought.

Around Thanksgiving, Dr. X sent me a card saying she couldn't see me after all on Jan. 14--I'd have to come in on Feb. 5. By then I'd already been off my BP meds almost a month. So I called to whine and complain and beg, and her nurse relented and gave me a Jan. 23 appointment.

Here comes Jan. 23, and I show up for my appointment, only to be told there was no record of me having an appointment and the first time Dr. X could possible see me is Feb. 22.

I ask for the other doctor that was accepting new patients in October. Now, he's not taking anyone new.

I head for the Urgent Care clinic to get some prescriptions since I'm massively pissed off, and a stroke in my unmedicated high blood pressure state must surely be imminent. (BP: 110/70. Maybe I don't even need those meds.)

Before I left, though, I spotted the elusive Dr. X, all neat and trim and tidy in her little gray pants and white doctor coat, with her back to me, explaining to the nurse who denied making the appointment for me that she could not possibly work in a new patient.

So, I think I do have a new name for her after all: The Horse's Backside.

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