by Sean Bronson
Finding a new doctor in the U.S. is not much different from looking for a new Italian restaurant. You go to Yelp and you scan through the comments, both negative and positive. You wonder about that one-star rating where the reviewer complains about having too much cheese on their pizza. Or that one about the pizza box being too flimsy to carry around the pizza in. You also wonder about the review where they raved how it was the best pizza joint in the city and how they promised ‘they would definitely be back again.’
So, how do you account for the discrepancy between the heavenly experiences to the downright, apocalyptic ones? I don’t know.
But I finally decided on a doctor.
When I got there, I noticed there were barely any parking spaces. I parked next to a silver, super-nice car like a Maserati or something like that. I wondered if it was the doctor’s. When I got out, I surveyed the whole lot and observed that there were only two small rows of parking.
However, I was just in time for the appointment, so I was grateful for the open spot. And no, there was nothing in Yelp about a small parking lot.
Inside the office, the front nurse was surprisingly courteous. I read Wired Magazine or something techy like that and occasionally looked at myself in the mirrored glass wall opposite to the nurses’ front window.
As I was filling out the forms, I noticed that some of them were a little intrusive and weird. One form in particular that I recall was a release of liability if I ever went into a coma. I was going in to see a general practitioner and not undergoing surgery, so I didn’t worry about it.
I gave all the signed forms back to the nurse, and as I did so, I overheard one of the nurses saying how she was there in body, but her mind wasn’t all there. Or something like that. It was a Monday, so she must’ve had a fun weekend. I wondered if that was the nurse the Yelp review had been complaining about.
Luckily, I got there earlier, so I didn’t have to sit in the waiting room all day with the blabbering nurses. And yes, that was also another Yelp complaint. Long waiting times.
When the nurse saw me in the doctor’s office and she did all the usual check-ups, she asked me a weird question at the end.
“Could I take your photo?”
It’s okay, I said.
“Okay as in yes, or okay, as in no?”
No, I said politely smiling.
I thought that would be the end of it, but she said she would tell the doctor.
About a minute later, he came in explaining why they took photographs of the patients. Something about having all these names in the database but not knowing who they all were. I really wasn’t saying anything, but I guess I must’ve had an unconvincing look on my face because he just gave up in the middle of a sentence.
After that, his attitude was slightly cool towards me. Not really an asshole but not completely courteous either. I didn’t mind. It was still early in the morning for me to really care. And yes, his bedside manners were commented upon by one of the Yelpers.
His face looked tired as well. One of his nostrils looked red as if he had rubbed it too much.
Towards the end, he asked me what I did for a living. I said, writing for websites. His demeanor changed. It wasn’t anything obvious but even I knew something had reversed in his mind.
It did cross my mind. The idea of leaving a bad review, but I don’t consider myself that kind of a person. And plus, I need to see him at least one more time again.