I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t bring up coronavirus issues again, on my blog. It’s such a touchy topic that I think people are ready to challenge each other to duels to make their point, and I want to avoid violence. But by god, my recent experience with my doctor is something I want to get off my chest.
In June, I made an appointment for my annual exam, and I also wanted to discuss my Afib heart condition with the sawbones. My appointment was for early August, but a few weeks before the doctor date, they called. Due to the doctor being worried about catching coronavirus, they had to change my appointment to September 4th. This would make about six months since my doctor had last seen a patient.
About a week before September 4th, they called again and changed it to September 3rd. I’m retired, so no real problem with all these changes, except my declining confidence in their competence. Finally the date arrived with no further changes. I uncrossed my fingers and drove to my appointment.
But boy, what a strange appointment. It was for 2:45, but they told me to get there 15 minutes early. Okay, fine, I’m the punctual type. But while I’m driving to the doctor’s office, at 2:20, they called my wife and asked her where I was, and said I was late for the appointment. Huh?
I got there at 2:28 and found a sign on the door saying I’d have to go around back to check in. So I went around back and, at 2:30 on the nose, found a sign on a door that said I had to knock and wait for someone. So I knocked and waited. About two minutes later a masked medico talking on a cell phone (probably with my wife) opened the door and asked me to wait, and then shut the door again.
A few minutes later she opened it back up. She sported a pen and clipboard, and began to pelt me with questions related to the coronavirus. Questions like: Have you recently had a fever? Have you recently been in contact with someone who has the virus? Have you recently been at a gathering of 8 or more people? Have you recently experienced abdominal pain? Difficulty breathing? Change in ability to smell? And so forth.
I answered no to every question, especially change in ability to smell. I explained that I’ve always been able to smell, but I kept that under control by taking showers.
She then took my temperature, by jamming a large, conical object into my ear. It was normal.
Having passed the coronavirus door test, I was allowed entry into a large, darkened waiting room with nobody in it. I felt proud. Apparently, not many people can pass the coronavirus door test.
I was ushered into a small room that contained a video monitor, several chairs, and a dirty-looking, portable blood pressure device sitting on one of the chairs. I was left alone in this isolation chamber, but after a few minutes I suddenly realized I had been on camera all this time. I felt grateful I hadn’t scratched my balls or anything.
Eventually a nurse appeared on the video monitor and asked me a bunch of questions about my health. There must have been something wrong with her microphone because she sounded garbled, like she was under water. Or perhaps she had just drank a large glass of water. I had a hard time understanding her and sometimes answered questions incorrectly, because I frequently misunderstood her.
For instance, she asked me if I had a hard time smiling. There I was wearing my mask, wondering how I could prove to her that smiling comes easily. I insisted, “No, I can smile.”
She corrected me in her garbled, liquid voice, “No, I asked if you have a hard time climbing stairs.” That’s how screwed up the audio was.
Then the nurse told me to pick up the blood pressure device and check my blood pressure by myself. I was unfamiliar with how the cuff mechanism thingy worked, and fumbled around a bit, but finally managed to get it wrapped semi-properly around my arm, and took a reading. I cringed a bit, because the cuff looked dirty, as if it had been around many arms before mine. My bp was normal, but I didn’t trust that device. It was old and chintzy looking, as if it had been purchased from a thrift store.
Finally, the nurse left and my doctor appeared on the monitor. He was also under water. From the sound of him, I wondered if I was looking into a monitor or an aquarium. It’s a good thing that he’s a very patient man, and that I know how to suppress my temper, because we had to repeat ourselves a lot, to communicate.
I’ll give him credit though, because if he’s trying to keep from catching Covid from his patients, I think he’s using a bulletproof method. It would be impossible to shoot him from where I sat.
I asked him about catheter ablation for my AFib heart condition, about ten times, until he finally figured out what I was talking about. He told me that it is very rare to use catheter ablation to treat AFib. This is different from my research, but I’m not a doctor so I didn’t argue with him. Besides, how can you argue with someone who sounds like a fish?
He did authorize me to see my cardiologist to discuss the matter further. I only hoped my heart doc would be in a terrarium, rather than an aquarium, so that we could communicate more easily.
I also managed to tell the doctor that I’ve battled with fatigue all my life, and that I think Afib might be the cause of it. He said no, that what I probably needed to do was drink more water, eat better, and get exercise. I can understand his advice about drinking more water, since he was in an aquarium and probably had a bias toward water.
As for eating better, I took this as a subtle insult to my wife’s cooking. But how do you punch a fish? I felt frustrated. As for exercising, I already do exercise. However, I can’t exercise as much as I’d like, due to my fatigue. So I told him this. Nonetheless, he repeated his advice for me to exercise. Again, how do you punch a fish?
So I’ll be making an appointment to go in and see my cardiologist. I have low hopes. The last time I saw that bastard he seemed like he was in a hurry to get rid of me. His advice was that I shouldn’t have come in to see him in the first place, because I might catch coronavirus.
And such is the state of coronavirus quackery where I live.