Pit stop medicine with Formula One GPs
I’m sure most people would agree that it’s often difficult to get an appointment with your preferred doctor these days.
Sometimes you wait days—if not weeks—for a non-urgent consultation. So, when you finally do get an appointment you’re loathe to give it up, even if you’re feeling better. I was reminded of this recently when I was a bit off-colour and decided to arrange a visit to the doctor.
As the appointment was nine days away, naturally my body did one of the two things that bodies do when there is a delay in medical intervention – it got better. When the only other option is to die, it kind of spurs you on.
Consequently, by the time the appointment rolled around, I was feeling pretty damn chipper and started to wonder if I oughtn’t ring the clinic and offer my place to some genuinely sick person. I mentioned this to some work colleagues who looked at me aghast—kind of like I’d just said I’d won Lotto but had decided to give it all to Bill Gates’ Retirement Fund instead.
“Are you kidding? No way!” they shrieked.
I was a bit taken aback by this outburst, so they went on to explain.
“Never give up a doctor’s appointment. You must know how hard they are to get!” “I had to wait four weeks last time!” offered one colleague who also mentioned that, at her own doctor’s surgery, patients are now encouraged to book in for a ‘two monthly’ visit – even if they have no signs of illness whatsoever! Just in case.
Now, I’m all for having regular check ups – especially if you have an ongoing condition that needs monitoring—but this pre-scheduling of medical checks shrieks ‘car service’ to me. What are they planning to do, these Pit Lane Medics? Check our pistons, kick our tyres and send us off for another 10,000 kms?
Call me old fashioned, but it all seems a bit mechanised and impersonal. I said so to my colleagues. They just laughed and suggested that if I was really thinking about giving up my appointment, I could probably sell it on Ebay for a tidy profit.
This got me thinking about a potentially lucrative business opportunity for the more mercenary amongst us.
You could make bogus doctors appointments then, on the day of your consult, stand outside the clinic offering to sell your appointment to anyone who’d missed out (at a marked up price, naturally). Scalping, effectively. Albeit without a scalpel.
I could visualise these surgery-scalpers – in woollen beanies and trench coats—furtively exchanging Medicare cards and cold hard cash with little old ladies on walking frames. Although as I write this jokingly I wonder if it’s already being done? I certainly wouldn’t put it past some people to cash in on the medical misery of others.
And of course, it’s no laughing matter that this difficulty in being able to see a doctor is becoming more and more widespread.
Once upon a time you could ring your doctor and quite reasonably expect to see him or her; if not today, then certainly tomorrow. And when you did see the good Doc, you could stay for half an hour—while he smoked his pipe and chatted to your mum. Well, okay I am going back a year or two, I admit, but I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s certainly changed … and not necessarily for the better! (Aside from the decreased likelihood of wheezing up some second hand Amphora tobacco smoke, of course).
So anyway, suffice to say, I didn’t give up my recent appointment. I dutifully turned up and tried not to look too spritely in the waiting room. When the receptionist asked me how I was (which is probably not a very wise thing to ask in a doctor’s surgery) I gave a pathetic little cough and squeaked lamely, “Oooh, not tooooo bad, thanks.” She eyed me sympathetically and gently directed me to take a seat.
“Doctor won’t be long,” she cooed kindly. I hobbled to my seat and did my best to look all wan and miserable.
But as it turns out (and fake illnesses aside) it was actually a pretty good thing that I went through with the appointment after all.
My mechanic—I mean…my doctor—is now sending me for a full 50,000 km ‘diagnostic’ check. Like his very own V8 Supercar, he’s steering me into the pits for a barrage of tests and, presumably, a grease and oil change.
And who knows? If I’m really sick, he might even send me off to the panel beaters for a new back end, some shiny new hubcaps and a full spray job. Cool. I mean…um….cough, cough. Poor me.
- For more articles from Catherine Warnock visit www.kitchenphilosopherblog.blogspot.com
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