Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Up, Doc?

My doctor fired me. And she didn't even tell me.

Because I have diabetes, I go to my endocrinologist every four months where he takes a half a gallon of blood to send to the lab, tickles my feet to see if I can feel it and curses as he looks around for the XXL sleeve that goes with the blood pressure machine. For the last several years, all signs are good.

The blood, bp and cholesterol all come in the normal range and he usually tells me to just keep doing what I am doing and not start eating cheese and drinking a lot. I don't tell him I never stopped eating cheese and drinking a lot.

While I was waiting to see him, the office manager asked me if I had a new GP. Nope, I told her - same doctor I have had for 15 years.

That's odd, I was told. Her office called and said to stop sending your reports because you were no longer her patient.

Wow. I've been dumped. And she didn't even bother to let me know, but relied on some other doctor's staff to give me the news.

It was so odd to hear she didn't want me to be her patient any more. Sure, I haven't been to see her for a couple of years, but then again I haven't been sick for a couple of years. I hadn't realized that your doctor gets to dump you if you aren't sickly. I mean, if my car doesn't break down for a year I don't expect my mechanic to dump me. And I really was surprised that I had to find out from someone else.

But I need to be honest. My reaction was exactly as if I was being dumped by a girlfriend (or as happened too often with me, a wife). My first thought was "How can you dump me?" and then it was "Why are you dumping me?" and it ended with "You're going to wish you hadn't dumped me."

I even started feeling for myself the way you do when you get dumped. My endocrinologist - a man - seemed to sympathize with my confusion. "You would have gone to her if you got the flu, wouldn't you?" he asked. "Sure," I said. But then I forlornly added, "Well, I guess not anymore. She doesn't want to be my doctor." He nodded. If we'd been in a bar, he would have bought me a drink.

My mind has already moved through the predictable stages. Is she seeing other sick people rather than me? Wasn't I sick enough for her? Was she bored with my illnesses? Should I have sent flowers on the anniversary of my initial consultation?

But then I reached the inevitable stage where I thought: I will show her. I'll get really sick this year, and she will be soooo sorry that she's not the one taking care of me anymore. Some other GP is going to be prescribing for this guy from now on.

I don't know why this preoccupied me so much today, but it did.

Oh, maybe I should tell you that the GP who dumped me is named Linda.

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