Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mano a Mano Part Two: The Internist Versus The Optometrist

I mentioned I had an eye problem a couple of entries ago. Right eye. Crusty, itchy, watery, bloodshot, ewwwwww.

So yesterday morning I made two phone calls. See a pattern here? If not, see my last entry. 

The first call was to my internist, a medical doctor with a hospital affiliation and all the accoutrements of co-pay convenience.

I was told by the receptionist that my symptoms would be relayed to my doc's NURSE who would call me back. The receptionist said he would give my request for an appointment HIGH PRIORITY. I hate talking to the NURSES. I always ask questions they can't answer and they have to call me back. Not to mention that I have to explain things they should already know. My mother was a nurse and I think she forgot more than these babes ever learned.

The second call was to a commerical venue in my town started by an optometrist who has several places in the Chicago area. They offer eye exams, glasses, even Lasik surgery. Once again, when I was growing up in a medical family, we only went to ophthamologists, the medical docs who specialize in eyes, because opticians and optometrists were considered unqualified.

The optometrist place couldn't see me at my town's location, but they could see me in HALF AN HOUR in a town nearby. They even made the appointment for me so I didn't have to call, I could just get in my car and go.

Once there, I got a thorough eye exam to make sure I didn't have any other perpheral problems. The doctor of optometry said he thought I had an allergic reaction to something and it got out of hand. I agreed. I had been so tired from working that I fell asleep with my makeup on.

He gave me a cleansing regimen to follow along with a prescription for antibiotic eyedrops and a recommendation for a flax oil and omega 3 capsule that helps prevent eye problems like mine. 

All for $40.00. Except for the prescription which cost $90.

If I'd gone to an ophthalmologist -- the full contact medical eye doctor -- I would have paid four times as much for an appointment, assuming I could get an appointment. And I bet there wouldn't have been an eye exam or anything else except a prescription for eyedrops.

Last night around 6:00 PM, I got a call from my internist's NURSE who said that my doctor had called in a prescription for antibiotic drops. So much for a HIGH PRIORITY status appointment. I told her, thanks, but I had already had a prescription since I had taken care of things seven hours earlier with an optometrist.

This morning I got yet another call from his NURSE. I think she forgot she called last night. She asked if I got my prescription.  I reminded her that I had seen someone else and yes, I had a prescription from that person, which I had used three times already. You've seen someone then?  Yes, that means I have seen someone, you twit.

I'm tired of doctors you can't get in to see when you need to and nurses who aren't much help either.

Choosing alternative medicine isn't just about drinking green tea and getting accupuncture.

It's about having a real alternative to what passes for "quality" medical care.


suzypwr said...

In MI, optometrists can't write for antibiotics. I didn't know they could in other states. Good decision!


psychfun said...

I totally agree!  Do we have a doctor shortage if it takes 8 weeks to get into them. I mean really.