We live remote. You know that. No stores. No roads. No power. What you may not know is that we do have a doctor. Kinda. Doc M (or her nurse practitioner partner) comes out to visit us every two weeks. She treks out the logging road in her 4×4 and I pick her up at the local dock and drive her over to the other side. She then hikes up the hill to the local school and community centre and sets up her clinic in one of the lesser used rooms. It is cold. It is spartan. It has only a trouble light on an extension cord and a woodstove that first needs starting to keep patients and doctor warm.
She knows in advance most of whom she will be seeing and so can bring with her the necessary bits and pieces she thinks she will require. There is a cabinet in the room that is stocked with bandages, basic common solutions and other paraphernalia that she goes through on a regular basis. She carries her records with her in her laptop computer. They are the best doctor/practioners I have ever had.
“Why?” Well, clearly they are visiting us more to adhere to the Hippocratic oath rather than the mantra of greed-is-good. Her entire day may be consumed by seeing only a half a dozen patients. There is no cramming, no staggering of people in small rooms. Time is taken. She talks. She cares. She seems genuinely interested in her patients and she makes small extra efforts to do things properly. Plus they each have a great personality. You just like them.
When I ran the downtown clinic, our doctors had to pound through the patients streaming in. They gave them more attention as a rule than I ever got from my own doctors but they still wasted no time, trucked no nonsense and adhered to Henry Ford’s assembly line philosophy. If we had more rooms, they would have stacked them up just like our typical GPs do.
My previous doctors were horrible. They put Henry to shame. After awhile, I gave up on them ‘doing the right thing’ and simply found one acquiescent enough to do what I wanted them to do.
I have enough good sense NOT to try to get a particular prescription (feels unethical) but I did my own research into whatever symptom I was experiencing and suggested possible diagnoses so as to address matters more my way than theirs. And that worked well but, of course, the doctors weren’t stupid and my preliminary research, way of presenting and relatively lucid explanation saved them time, too. I was usually in and out after less than five minutes. They made money. It would take an hour of waiting for five minutes of role-playing but they were happy.
I wasn’t. I would have preferred someone to care. I would have preferred someone to get to know me, investigate, think, take time, show a personality, take their face away from their computer. I would have preferred to have a relationship of sorts. I would have preferred someone exactly like Doc M or NP P.
And they laugh at my jokes. It simply does NOT get better than that for me. Why? Well, first off it means she is listening. Secondly, I enjoy it.
Who would have thunk that the best medical care (and I mean real CARE) has come to me when living on an unserviced remote island. Key word: they come to me! Of course, I travel for blood work and maybe X-rays or machine-based testing should it be required but that can usually be arranged to suit the monthly town-shop blitz. I am OK with that.
But, man, oh man, having a doctor/nurse who makes house calls in the wilderness is pretty special.