Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Doctor and Her Computer

Off to the doctor's this morning for a follow-up routine visit.  I am nervous about this visit because one of the numbers on my blood test was out of range.
My appointment is for 8:30.  I better wake Ross up.  He said he would come with me.
It's 7:00 a.m.
At the Doctor's Office
I don't know, I mean I guess I understand the necessity to improve efficiency and maintain accuracy,  but there is something disconcerting about my doctor being so attached to her laptop.
Yes, yes,  I have seen certain benefits.  For instance, when I need a prescription re-fill, she, right on the spot, connects to Express scrips and voila, it's done.
Lab work, same thing.  The Doc, via her laptop network connection, sends over the script for whatever tests she wants me to have.  I don't have to remember to bring that piece of paper with me.  And it has happened on numerous occasions.  I walk into the lab and that's when I remember that I forgot the paperwork.
All of my history is right there in front of her.  Today, she got a little upset, though, when I had to remind her that the reason I was not taking that medicine she prescribed was that I didn't tolerate it very well.  She didn't remember that she told me to stop taking it.  Well, she wasn't upset with me, of course.  She was upset at the "Computer" for not having that particular update recorded.  The  "Computer" still had me taking that medicine.   She said, "Oh, I hate when the "Computer doesn't update."
So after a few minutes, she finally pried her eyes away from Ms. Computer, and asked how I was doing.
I asked her about the blood test results.  Uh, oh, eye contact lost.  She immediately started scrolling.
Oh, yes, here it is, she said.  I could tell she was immensely relieved that Ms. Computer at least had that update.
She told me that even though the lab (I'm sure it was really the lab's computer) had recorded that number in the "high" column, I really didn't have to worry.
 Hmm, apparently, she and Ms. Computer do not know me that well.
"Are you sure?"  I asked.  She re-assured me again.  We'll just keep an eye on it.
Hmm, the perfectly wrong thing to say to me.
Anyway, she told me that she wouldn't need to see me until August.
She said a funny thing about the next appointment.  She told me that she and Ms. Computer keep track of her patients appointments.  She doesn't trust the office staff to do that.  So, she will personally put my name on a list, which she maintains. She calls it her list.  I assume, she enters that info into Ms. Computer.
Then, I would imagine, Ms. Computer, at the appropriate time,  reminds her to remind the office staff to call me to make an appointment.
I have to say, I really do like my doctor.  Even though, I know she has to rely on Ms. Computer to help her to "remember" me, I do feel that she really does know who I am.
It was proven to me when she walked into the room and said, "Oh, you changed your hair."
Now, that made me smile.

Even though, the cold, gray, damp, but no snow, winter drags on, I did see a couple of hopeful robins hopping and flittering around the back yard this morning.


  1. I went to a pre-op appointment yesterday for a joint replacement surgery (hand). The young woman called my name, brought me to the examining room (which had a desk and no exam table), and told me to wait while she opened my account on the computer in the room. That's it. No smile, no blood pressure, no nothing. Just open the computer window and leave. Oh, she did say that the nurse practitioner would come in a few minutes. Zip. That's it. Computers take over. I will say that the nurse practitioner, who did look more at the computer screen than she looked at me, was very knowledgeable. Like a computer.....

  2. I see the computer as a tool-nothing more or less. For me the key phrase in your post is , "I have to say I really like my doctor." And that's the bottom line. I spent nine hours at the VA in San Francisco, yesterday, having a cancerous growth removed from my chest. I had more than ten medical personnel, at different times, attending to me, including four doctors. To a person, they treated me and Annie with respect, as though we were family. Annie was allowed to spend the entire time in the operating room with me. It took three hours and seventy-five plus stitches to put me back together again, all under local anesthetic. My experience was enhanced by the awesome bed-side manner, and the humor and humaneness of the whole day. Yes, there was a computer in evidence, but that is because I have been to three different VA clinics in the past 27 days, for three different reasons. The computer is a handy tool to have available, for different sites to keep track of my comings and goings. Thanks for the post!