Family doctors are some of the most overrated and unreliable professionals on the planet.
Yeah, I said it, fight me.
I’m tired of everyone treating family doctors like they’re infallible all-knowing gods when the truth is family doctors tend to be unreliable and dismissive of their patients.
As COVID-mania grips the world, we’re constantly being told that everyone in the health care industry is a superhero and that we should be worshiping them for putting their lives on the line daily to fight the COVID-19 menace
that totally wasn’t made in a Chinese lab and released because the Chinese government has little to no safety standards and sees their own people as expendable (sorry Google please don’t censor me because I contradicted the official narrative). Everywhere I go I’m smacked in the face with this message. We even have signs that say “A HEALTHCARE HERO LIVES HERE” being placed in the yards of healthcare employees (shout-out to my boy Drake), sometimes without the healthcare worker’s consent.
People greatly overvalue their family doctors.
Let me be clear. I have no beef with hospital workers or EMTs, and I respect that they chose a high-risk profession that revolves around helping people.
My beef is with family doctors.
People act like their doctor is some all-knowing all-powerful force that can pinpoint anything wrong with laser-like precision and fix it with that same precision. No matter what my problem is, if it’s even remotely related to health in the slightest way people say “You need to go DA DOCTOR!” Whenever I got a cough (pre-COVID era) or a cold everyone would cry that I needed to go see the doctor.
What’s the doctor going to do for a fucking cold? Look in my nostrils, say “Yup, you’ve got the sniffles!”, tell me to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids, then tell me to buy some Dayquil and send me on my way. The only thing the doctor is good for is writing me a prescription for medicine that I can’t legally buy on my own. And even then, if I really wanted to I could obtain most of those medications through other “channels”.
The only other useful thing the doctor can do is write me referrals to the specialist that I already knew I needed but had to jump through hoops for insurance purposes. Family doctors rarely tell me anything I didn’t already know, and don’t do much more than waste my time and jerk me around by trying to get me to come back for unrelated things. A quick Google search often gives me the same results for free and in less time.
The doctor barely spends time with you.
Think back to the last time you went to the doctor.
You probably spent a good 15-20 minutes just sitting in the lobby, forced to endure screaming children, the person next to you watching YouTube videos without headphones, and some inconsiderate jerk-off Face-Timing their significant other (also without headphones). Turning to the TV in a futile escape attempt, you find the hens on The View clucking away about how the orange man is bad. And they said TV was an escape from reality!
After what seems like a thousand years in Hell, your name is called. Some young semi-attractive woman in her 20’s weighs you, measures your height, and takes your blood pressure, all while asking why you’re there and making awkward small talk. Once this is over, you’re brought to the exam room.
And you wait.
And then you wait some more.
After a wait of anywhere between a minute to an hour, the doctor finally comes in. They ask you the same questions the assistant asked you, let you talk for a moment or two, then cut you off and either give you the same advice you could have found from a basic Google search, or they prescribe you some pills. They tell you to come back in a few weeks, hit you with a copay, then send you off on your way.
How much time did you actually spend with the doctor? Exactly, barely any.
Most of your time that isn’t spent sitting around waiting is spent dealing with a “medical assistant”. The average person usually spends around half an hour to 45 minutes at the doctor’s office. The doctor typically graces you with their appearance for less than 10 minutes. Whoop-de-titty-fuckin’-doo.
Doctors have a habit of wasting your time.
For someone who barely spends time with you, the doctor sure is great at wasting your time.
If you’re lucky, you might only have to wait in the exam room for just a few minutes. I’ve experienced exam room wait times of over an hour. Before you assume I’m some kind of moron who sat there stupidly grumbling to myself, I periodically followed up with the assistant every fifteen minutes or so. After asking for the fourth time when I would be seen, the assistant finally confessed that the doctor wasn’t even there yet and was running late to work.
Bitch, say what?
I thanked the assistant for her time and promptly left. Later that afternoon, I received a call from the practice half-heartedly apologizing and asking me to come back. I declined. When they asked if I wanted to reschedule, I again declined, and told them I would no longer be coming back. I told the person on the phone that sitting in an exam room for an hour when the doctor wasn’t even there yet was unacceptable. I had only been to this doctor one other time, so it wasn’t like I was throwing away a years-long relationship over what could be chalked up to the doctor having a rough start to his morning.
The practice informed me that I owed them a copay for my visit. I informed them that they owed me a blowjob, and they could suck my dick if they wanted a copay for being kept over an hour because the doctor was late. They told me to expect a bill in the mail. I told them to expect me to throw it in the trash. I never received that bill, nor that blowjob.
The patients are guilty too.
As a man of integrity and fairness, I can’t just single out the doctors. Patients are also very much guilty of their own brand of bullshit.
I mentioned earlier the hypochondriacs that insist you go to the doctor for even the slightest of sniffles. Thanks to panicky idiots like this flooding the practice with their trivial ailments, I often can’t get an appointment until two or three weeks out. Now that every cough, sniffle, and fart might mean COVID, it’s only gotten worse. I’ve had lower back pain since November and probably need an MRI to see what’s wrong. When I finally get around to setting this appointment up, I probably won’t be able to be seen for several months (I wrote that as an exaggeration, but I won’t be surprised if it actually happens).
If you’re one of those patients who comes in for one thing and suddenly decides they’re going to ambush the doctor with a thousand different unrelated non-problems, kindly go fuck yourself. Assholes like you are usually the reason I don’t get seen until 20 minutes after my scheduled time. You came in for a cough, but then decided now was the perfect time to tell the doctor that you went on WebMD and it told you that you had cancer. You’re not dying of cancer, you just have a seasonal cold. Go home and take some Dayquil, you’ll be, as us gangstas say, “aight”.
The doctor has less time to spend with patients who actually need help if they’re too busy dealing with crybaby worrywarts who book an appointment every time they sneeze.
The doctor did fuck-all for my insomnia.
In early 2020, I finally caved and went to the All-Powerful Supreme God Doctor for my insomnia.
Or rather, the All-Powerful Supreme Goddess Nurse Practitioner. Every semi-reputable doctor in the area wasn’t accepting new patients, and my only other options were in downtown Philly or nearby Jenkintown. Both are 45 minute to one hour drives with traffic. I really don’t feel like driving downtown or too far outside the city unless it’s life or death, and even then I might think twice if the death isn’t slow and painful. Putting a premium on my time was one of the best choices I ever made. It’s amazing how much freer you feel when you’re not wasting half your life standing in lines or sitting in traffic.
I managed to track down the sasquatch, who told me where the unicorn was, who got me in touch with the leprechaun, who pulled some strings to get me in with a nurse practitioner. The differences between a family doctor and an NP are minimal. Even moreso when my only other choice was sitting in traffic for an hour.
I told the NP that I had insomnia. Before she could tell me the same generic shit I mentioned in the previous article, I preempted her and told her I tried melatonin and fish oil and crossing my legs and singing Kumbayah and all that other shit that only seems to work for idiots. She asked me a few questions, then gave me a self-assured smile and said it was probably sleep apnea. After paying the $25 co-pay I got sent to get a sleep study, which was enough bullshit to warrant its own article.
My money and time were wasted.
The sleep study, which cost somewhere in the ballpark of $200 after my insurance paid their part, came back negative for sleep apnea.
Another $25 appointment, and I was then prescribed a low dose of Ambien. It worked for less than a week.
After scheduling yet a third $25 appointment, her proposed solution was to raise the dose. My proposed solution was for her to get the fuck outta here with that Boston-baked bullshit.
I’m no dummy, I did my homework on this shit. I know about the negative side effects of higher doses of Ambien. People on Ambien also develop tolerance very quickly, which is why it’s only meant as a short-term solution. I mentioned this concern to the NP. Like any good medical professional who takes their patients’ concerns seriously, she smiled and said “Yup, for some people!”
When I told the NP I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life taking increasingly higher doses of Ambien, her face soured. She curtly informed me that she was out of options and couldn’t do anything else except refer me to a shrink.
Guess where the nearest one was? Yup, Jenkintown.
$275 and several hours of my time wasted for nothing.
I solved my insomnia myself.
With that, I said fuck it and took matters into my own hands. I immediately stopped taking any and all sleep aids, started going to bed only when tired (even if it meant staying up late when I had to be up at 5 AM the next day), and stopped caring about how tired I felt the next day. After a week, my insomnia wasn’t completely cured, but it was better. I still have rough patches here and there, but for the most part everything is under control.
And no, I didn’t have to cut out my precious caffeine or booze.
With all her medical degrees the NP couldn’t solve what I did the moment I went with my instincts. By all appearances my insomnia was stress-induced, so there wasn’t much she could have realistically done. Looking back on it, it was very obvious that it was stress-induced. Had the NP actually listened to me and properly done her job, she should have been able to deduce this rather quickly and saved both of us a lot of time.
I would say it’s possible she didn’t want to tell me it was just all in my head, but I’ve had doctors tell me this exact same thing before. In fact, I can remember being told this by a doctor when I was experiencing symptoms that I later found out were consistent with low blood sugar levels. Like my insomnia, I also solved that one myself by simply adjusting my diet.
Shame on her for not listening, and shame on me for being guilty of wasting her time when I already kind of knew the solution myself.
What’s the take-away from all of this?
Put simply, society has placed a massive over-emphasis on doctors. They’re humans just like you and me. They make mistakes, they can be inconsiderate jerks, they’re just as prone to half-assing their job. This over-emphasis has led to a decline in the quality of treatment from family doctors, who are now so overwhelmed with patients that they have to rush and cut corners in order to see everyone.
If it’s something that can kill you, then go see the doctor. But if you’ve got the sniffles or something trivial, tough it out pussy.
Had a bad experience with a doctor wasting your time? Are you a doctor who’s tired of patients wasting your time? Leave a comment and share your experience!
(Side note: I’m experimenting with subheadings to make articles easier to read, so kindly share any feedback about this in the comments as well.)