I’ve been trying to find a family doctor since I moved to Ottawa in July. I’ve checked the CPSO many times, called all the clinics, medical centres, doctor’s offices, hospitals, asked friends, co-workers, neighbours, casual acquaintances and even strangers, but couldn’t find a doctor who was accepting patients.
Finally, about 10 weeks ago, I got a name of a doctor who, I was told, might possibly consider it, but I would have to book a half hour appointment to discuss things before she decided whether or not to take me on.
So, yesterday, was the happy day. The waiting room was the usual chaotic scene – unruly mobs of sick people, stressed-out staff. At one point a little ferret-faced woman came charging out of the back and started screeching at the staff… something about a misplaced fax, a lost patient named Margaret and a file that hadn’t been labelled neatly enough.
After only 45 minutes past my appointment time, I got moved up to backroom status. After enough time had gone by for me to carefully check out all the equipment and supplies in the room twice, the ferret-faced woman came in claiming to be the doctor. She extends her pen for me to shake in lieu of her hand.
Then for 8 ½ minutes and without ever looking at me, she starts firing questions hardly waiting long enough between questions to let me give a complete answer. And not the usual questions one would expect, but really bizarre questions, too. Here’s an excerpt from the interrogation:
Dr.: Do you want a colonoscopy?
Me: (Now? I thought, looking around for the anal probe). Umm…why?
Dr. (exasperated at the stupidity of my question) To check for colon cancer!
Me: But why that in particular?
Dr. Well, do you have a history of colon cancer in your family?
Me: (Now, to me a one-word question like that conjures up endless possibilities – do I want surgery, can I perform surgery, do I enjoy surgery, can I spell surgery) No, thanks. (I finally say)
Dr: (Scribbling furiously & with another exasperated exhalation) Give me a list of the surgeries you’ve had!
Me: I haven’t had any.
Dr. (Slamming clipboard onto desk) I CAN”T BE YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU”RE GOING TO LIE!
Me: (thinking, fuck you bitch). I can have my medical records sent here.
Dr: Why would I want those?
Me: Well… they’re my medical records and they’ll tell you all about the surgeries I didn’t have and other medical stuff.
Dr: I don’t see any point in that. VITAMINS?
Me: (starting to get the hang of this. Yes – a multivitamin/mineral every day.
Dr. (scribbling furiously)
Me: And a calcium supplement
Dr. (Slamming clipboard down again) DO NOT ADD THINGS AFTER I”VE FINISHED TAKING NOTES!
Me: (Looking around for hidden Just-for-Laughs camera). I feel an aneurism coming on.
Dr. (No reaction whatsoever. She just scribbles some more then walks out)
I wait for a few minutes, thinking I might have offended her and now she’ll never be my doctor. My spirits lift. I go looking for her. She’s in the next room, rifling through papers.
Me: Are we done?
Dr. (handing me a sheaf of paperwork – still without ever looking in my direction). Get these tests done. You’ll have a tetanus shot when you come back.
Me: What about my daughter?
Dr. What about her?
Me: Don’t you need to know anything about her?
Dr. She has to come for a meeting. I can’t possibly decide whether I want to treat a patient if I haven’t met them. LOOK (she suddenly screeches pointing at her clipboard) Look at all the work I’ve had to do! I need to do this to know if I want a patient!
I back away slowly. We don’t say good-bye. I walk briskly out of the clinic.
I want to break up with her immediately. Is this wrong of me? Should I be falling on my knees in gratitude that some psycho with a medical degree is willing to add me to her patient roster? Or, should I keep looking knowing full well that the chances are very slim of me finding a doctor in this city?
If anyone knows of a non-insane doctor in Ottawa who’s taking patients, please let me know. Thank you.