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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Is there a doctor in the house?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Have you ever sat in a doctor's office for a long time past your appointment time? Or have you repeatedly called your doctor for some information about a test and either couldn't reach him/her or couldn't get the information because the nurse couldn't catch the doctor long enough to get the information? I think we have all had both experiences often. But I recently found out "the rest of the story."

The load that is put on doctors these days often cause them to stay two or three hours after closing time to get caught up on all the reports, paper work, and returning telephone calls. These things can't be done easily during office hours without causing patients to wait too long, and if this work is put off until the next day there is another load of messages, reports etc., to attend to. Most doctors are also busy with civic or medical professional duties, which take time after hours. Many serve their churches or communities with things like choirs, board meetings, and attending sports events in case of emergencies.

When all of this is added up, the family doctor is forced to sometimes be guilty of having patients wait quite awhile, or of the nurse not being able to return calls because she hasn't been able to talk privately with the doctor about the situation.

One doctor had his nurse count and record the number of phone calls received in one single day. One day she recorded 144 calls, nine of them from the same person. Obviously the nurse didn't get very much else done during that day.

I have decided that I won't worry about waiting a few minutes, because family doctors are getting scarce, and all the specialist in the world can't make up for having one doctor that knows you and knows your ailments. When a family member is sick there is nothing more reassuring than to have a doctor who cares and who can even call you by name.

I remember Dr. Ammerman who had his hospital on the corner of W. Cherry and N. Ash. My mother thought he was wonderful. He delivered her youngest four children (including me) and he also took out the tonsils of several of us Gray kids. His nurse, Emma Cavenaugh, later was instrumental in the first Nevada City Hospital, but I remembered her as a nice lady who always greeted me by saying, "Here comes one of my babies!"

That introduction to the professional medical world prepared me for a series of great family doctors, here in Nevada and other places where we have lived. After I was grown, Dr. Pascoe and Dr. Pearse were standbys for me and for our children. My father was a fan of Dr. Wray. I accompanied my sister, Miriam, to see Dr. Harms. When our great-grandchildren were born Dr. Thompson delivered them and Dr. Jones gave them their first physicals. In more recent years I have relied on Dr. Loney, Dr. Gravely and Dr. Thompson (after he no longer was delivering babies!) It is a comfortable feeling to sit in church and listen to the choir sing, knowing that my dentist and my doctor are both in the choir. I have never needed their services during the worship hour, but it's nice to know they are there.

And I will try not to call their offices more than three or four times in one day.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus