Doc at the dock

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.


7 thoughts on “Doc at the dock

  1. Nice to have a compassionate Doctor. They are as you note often too busy to make house calls. It is wonderful to have a doctor willing to serve a remote community as that is often not the case. My community is not overly remote but remote enough to get the pity look from my friends who say,
    “You live where!”
    Recently my doctor of thirty years died with no one to replace him. Finding a new saw bones was challenging. It took connections as most docs were not taking new patients. Overall it appears that being a GP does not pay enough to service small communities where the standard is to work the bone breaker nearly to death.


    • Ours is an angel and she replaced a doofus. So, this is great! But here’s some good news: nurse-practioners are coming on stream soon. First large graduating class this or last year. More to follow. They are good for 99% of what ails ya. AND they are more willing to go remote.


  2. Wow! A doctor that makes house calls. Amazing in this day and age. I think the last time a doctor visited me when I was sick in bed was 1964.
    The local clinic at the mall is always packed. Turns patients away in droves. Assembly line practice.
    I cant remember the last time I had to go to the doctor for an antibiotic or a prescription other than a complete physical when I turned 50. I dont get sick……..
    Apparently beer has its benefits.
    However. I have hypochondriac friends who go to the doctor weekly. They must cost the BC medical system thousands per year with their imagined ailments.
    Headaches ( must be cancer). Backaches( must be cancer). Stomach ache( must be cancer).
    Unless someone has a legitimate ailment/treatment/symptom…….the ‘sniffle brigade” should pay a minimum $25/visit after 4 visits in a calender year.
    Yup, I’m a heartless taxpaying bastard and I said it.


  3. That is a great service for your island. Of course we have to go to town, but that’s only half an hour away by boat. Our doctor is part of a clinic so we can go there or emerg if we don’t have an appointment, but both of those options take a HUGE amount of waiting even when it is an emergency. – Margy


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