Excuse me for the melodrama, but who isn’t dramatic when they’re sick? NOBODY likes being sick. Unfortunately the road to recovery can be almost as tough as illness itself. Most of us have experienced a frustrating doctor visit in our lives; here are the 10 most unpleasant aspects of doctor visits that make us want to avoid them permanently:
1) Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That
I’m a student. Students are busy. Doctor visits take time that I often don’t have. Late this spring, I got a terrible sore throat with achiness and dizziness that made me go to bed at eleven o’clock one night. (Shocking, right?) I might have liked to see a doctor, but I had a 15-page Dante paper due at midnight. Dante pulled rank.
2) Scheduling Frustrations
No sick person wants to wait before they can get help. Unfortunately, all doctors and campus health centers keep schedules, and that means they’re sometimes booked. Once, my siblings and I simultaneously got swine flu. It was a Sunday when we started feeling miserable… and Wednesday by the time we finally got an appointment. The doctor gave us a prescription that helped a lot, but it certainly didn’t do us any good until it we finally got it.
3) Actually Getting out of Bed
Where would you be if you didn’t see a doctor for your pneumonia? Probably in bed. Getting medical care is important, but it’s not your first instinct. At some point in life, I bet you’ve dragged your miserably sick self out to a doctor’s office only for the doctor to recommend fluids and bed rest. This makes me want to scream. What’s the point of leaving a comfy bed and cup of tea to travel through bad weather if staying home would heal you faster? It’s also difficult to tell whether an illness needs medical attention. Taking precautionary trips for “peace of mind” is one philosophy, but I don’t find wasted visits very peaceful.
4) Cranky & Mean Receptionists
Receptionists can have a tremendous positive or negative influence on patients’ experience with a doctor’s office. Sometimes I feel unwelcome the minute I set foot inside. Could that have anything to do with the cranky individual behind the desk staring at me over a pair of sharp-cornered glasses? I don’t want to stereotype; I’ve met many kind receptionists in my life. But I’ve also dealt with some who have intentionally delayed or snapped at me for asking important questions. Dealing with someone who’s unreasonably nasty is the worst when you’re sick.
5) Paper Filing, Seriously?
Despite incredible technological advancements, we’re still asked to spend 20 minutes filling out forms by hand, and doctors still keep records in physical files. Why is this still happening? After my childhood pediatrician left his practice, I started going to a different doctor’s clinic. My medical records apparently hadn’t transferred properly, so for my entire first appointment the new doctor surveyed me with grave concern, repeatedly wondering why I was tall and thin. Even a cursory glance at my old charts would have told him that I’d had the same build since I was very small, saving me an unpleasant visit.
6) Painful Hours of Waiting
My parents always advised me that doctor’s appointments are unlike haircuts: it’s really important to reach them on time. However, doctors are rarely punctual. My doctors around home usually run a half-hour behind schedule, and my on-campus health services are far worse at giving timely care. On a Sunday late last semester, I went to my campus health center with my eye swollen shut from a Frisbee accident. Only two people were waiting ahead of me, but it was still over an hour before I was called. Predictably, I missed half of a playoff hockey game I had wanted to watch with my remaining eye.
7) Getting Sick from Germ-Infested Patients
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Waiting rooms are constantly full of sick people and contagious illnesses. It stinks to go to the doctor for a sprained ankle and leave with the flu. You can reduce exposure to germs by not touching anything in the waiting room, but you can’t make that freshman sitting next to you cover his cough. And good luck staying off that germ-infested couch with your ankle unable to support any weight.
8) Not Actually Seeing a Doctor
Remember the Frisbee incident I mentioned? When I finally entered an examination room, I met no doctor, only a nurse. Although she was helpful, she made me return the next day in order to see an MD because she wasn’t comfortable determining whether I had broken bones. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about visiting twice. And waiting twice. This shouldn’t happen if you have a scheduled doctor’s appointment, but it happens quite often at my school’s health services because the doctors only work during business hours.
9) Uncomfortable Medical Instruments
Let’s face it; stethoscopes are cold and uncomfortable, and you have to deal with them on every visit. The list of unwelcome medical tools is extensive: the irritating light that shines in your eyes, the strep-test swab that makes your throat feel worse for hours and worst of all, the dreaded blood-draw needle. Call me a wimp for fearing these if you want, but I’ve seen blood-drawing nurses miss so badly that they make an entire forearm purple and achy for a week.
10) Doctors With an Agenda
Have you ever gone to a doctor who didn’t listen to you? I’ve had a doctor refer me to psychologists because he was too lazy to find physical causes behind nausea I was experiencing. Another doctor subjected a friend to STI tests despite the fact that he was not sexually active and actually had a kidney stone. Seeing the wrong doctor can doom you to prolonged pain while you investigate the wrong things.
For me, the clinching argument for avoiding doctor visits is that these problems are preventable. I recently became enamored with CampusMD, an online medical service tailored to college students. Subscribers can call board-certified doctors via video chat 24/7 without appointments. I found the process very user-friendly, with no waiting time plus easy accessibility from my dorm. And CampusMD provides the same benefits as in-person doctor visits, including prescriptions and doctor’s notes, without the drawbacks. Best of all, I strongly felt that I was taking charge of my own health. No more unpleasant trips to the health center for this kid.
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