I would like to share with you my new criteria for screening doctors. If I go in to your clinic with allergy symptoms, and you try to prescribe me an antibiotic, we’re done. In the last year I have had a doctor at one clinic and a nurse practitioner at another do this. I had no fever, no funny colored drainage, no signs of bacterial infection, just some really bad seasonal allergies. Now, I know these people went to varying amounts of med school, whereas I have an art degree… but, SERIOUSLY? An antibiotic for a virus? C’mon now.
Antibiotic resistance is a problem, and two of the best techniques to battle this issue are taking the full course of antibiotics you are prescribed and not taking them at all if you don’t need them. I remember reading that in a pamphlet at my doctor’s office back when I was a kid. It’s a pretty basic concept.
As I was complaining to Ben about this aberration of prescribing by my local health care providers, he suggested that, hey, their job is hard. Patients who don’t know any better go in there with a cold and refuse to leave until they’re prescribed something. And perhaps there’s some truth to that. Even in my life I find instances where it’s easier to just go with the flow instead of fight it out. Pick you battles and all that.
But not when freaking MRSA is at stake! Those of us who haven’t been to med school rely on our doctors to be the medical experts. A good health care provider should take a moment to explain why they can’t prescribe an antibiotic for your cold, not give in to the pressure from somebody who doesn’t know any better. Then maybe next time that patient has a cold, they will know better than to pressure the doctor into prescribing something that won’t even help.
Maybe I’m being a little idealistic here. But, really, would hurt for doctors to take an extra minute or two with their patients? The last doctor’s visit I had involved 30 minutes of waiting to see a nurse practitioner for about 5 minutes. While I was in the room waiting for said nurse practitioner, I could hear him out in the hallway receiving a sales pitch from a Cialis drug rep. Talk about majorly frustrating- I was on my lunch break, in a hurry and sick, and here’s this sleazy big-pharma guy wasting my time! On this visit, I did get a script for an antibiotic for an actual infection, and my nurse said he would call it in to my pharmacy so I could pick it up after work. When I got to the pharmacy after work, guess what? He never called it in. The dr office was closed by this point. I managed to get a hold of the on-call doctor, but not until after my pharmacy closed and I had to have him call it in to a different pharmacy.
By the next day it was clear that this drug and I don’t agree. A common side effect is nausea and vomiting, and I had it. So I called the doctor’s office again, explained this to the receptionist, requested a different antibiotic that I’ve used for this same problem in the past with no side effects. She said she’d have the doctor call me back. I was pleasantly surprised when my phone rang a short 15 minutes later, but it was just to have the same receptionist tell me that I needed to give the med more time to work. One day wasn’t long enough to expect results. At which point I sighed, re-explained that I was requesting a different drug not because this one wasn’t working, but because this one was making me sick. She’ll have the doctor call me back, she said. That was last Wednesday, and nobody has called me back.
I’ve continued to take the med since, you know, antibiotic resistance is a problem, and I couldn’t get a different antibiotic. The nausea has been intermittent- pretty uncomfortable when it’s happening, but infrequent enough that it’s survivable. But this whole experience has me wondering why the hell we pay so much for crappy health care? My insurance premiums are going up for the second year in a row, I pay to see doctors that barely give me the time of day and can’t be bothered to know which drug to prescribe when. The doctor that I was seeing before this one had such bad bedside manner that he wouldn’t even look me in the eye as he was introducing himself, let alone when he tried to write me an antibiotic script for no reason.
I’m a pretty low user of health services, and I still find it hard to pay for the doctor’s bills sometimes. Just imagine if I didn’t have insurance! If I was paying full price instead of just my insurance premiums and co-pays for this level of crappy service…so help me Cthulhu…
And, um, I totally didn’t go to church yesterday. Sorry about that. I have a list of excuses ready for anybody interested, but how about we just leave it at “maybe next week?”