I had a medical appointment today at a clinic where I would be a new patient. Thankfully, I had the appointment on my calendar because the pop-up-alert reminded me to get going. I put the directions in the maps app on my phone and was on my way. When I was near the area, I ended up making 2 U-turns before I could find the exact building. When I parked and went inside, I ended up spending another 10 minutes finding the right suite because it was in a different building on a different floor in the same complex (so fitting how they actually call it ‘complex’).
When I entered the office, the light was very dim. (I’ve always wondered why medical offices today are either super dim or super bright with incandescent lighting. It’s like they want me to be depressed or feel like I’m walking into surgery). I entered the line at the check-in window. When it was my turn, I didn’t get a greeting or even a hello but was asked for my name and insurance then handed a clip board and pen. After I filled the paperwork out, I turned it in. While turning it in, again I was asked “what insurance do you have?” As I sat, I reflected upon how things were back in the day…
I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not, but my father is a practicing physician. Growing up (back in the 80’s), I would go to work with dad on days off from school or stop by after school just to hang out. I remember hearing Debbie, the office manager, say over the phone “Mr. Jones, don’t forget you have an appointment this afternoon with Dr. Yunus. There is construction on main street, so take the side street. And when you get here today, use the side door, the front door has wet paint on it. Ok, be safe, see you soon.” When Mr. Jones would arrive, he would be greeted with a smile and sometimes a hug. The front desk staff would come out to Mr. Jones in the waiting room, sit next to him, and walk him through the paperwork. Sometimes, they would even help fill it out. Once it was complete, they would ask him if he needed any water, point him to where the restroom was in case he needed to go, and hand him a magazine or offer the remote to the TV. Mr. Jones was welcomed as if he was at home. This warm welcome made Mr. Jones and all the other patients feel like, well, not a patient.
Now a days, going to the doctor is like taking your car to the mechanic. Except, humans are cars and the mechanics are the doctors and staff at clinics. I wonder why things have changed so much. Where is the “care” in health care?