Now I’m not one to whine, but I’m starting to wonder about my doctor.
I’m not pointing any fingers at TRICARE, but let’s just say the list of physicians who accept it out where I live is, well, short.
I have seen eye-watering medical technologies on display at the active duty military hospitals. I have seen double-amputees training for marathons. I have shaken the hands of men who have lost their own, their mechanical replacements squeezing mine with a gentle grip that felt human. I have watched as teams of highly trained doctors spared no cost in giving the best medical care available to their patients in uniform.
But now I’m a civilian, and I don’t think my doctor likes me.
After – and let me emphasize the word after – my colonoscopy, he told me I would have to do another one because he didn’t have the right equipment in the room. It seems to me that if a doctor is going to do what they do in a colonoscopy, probably the first question that should be asked is, “Do we have the right equipment in the room?”, but that’s just me.
At my physical, my blood pressure was high (not normal for me). He said, “I wouldn’t worry about it. Sometimes the machine gives a false reading.” No follow up, no re-test. I suppose if my head exploded from all the pressure he may have re-thought his diagnosis.
I was concerned that I had something seriously wrong with my neck – it hurt to turn it and it had been stiff for almost a year. Over the previous months I had convinced myself that there was a hideously misaligned disk that was just one whack away from permanently disabling me. He said it probably was nothing and would go away (it still hurts).
My eyes had been bugging me for a long time. He said I should get them checked. That was followed by several seconds of awkward silence, since the reason I was there was to get them checked. That logic seemed to escape him.
When I put my clothes back on, I realized that I had been through an entire physical and my doctor had never touched me. Under normal circumstances, not being touched by another guy is a good thing. But excuse me for expecting at least a tap here, a cough there. At no time was I instructed to say, “Ahhhhh.”
I felt like apologizing for taking up his time.
On the plus side, it only cost me twelve bucks co-pay, which made me re-think my experience. After a couple of minutes of introspection, I came to the obvious conclusion.
I had overpaid.