Well, you’re darn-tootin’ better believe I won’t be your patient now!
But, miracle of miracles, I found the perfect doctor on the first call. And I was so impressed by him that I think President Obama should invite him to the White House as a special counsel on health care reform.
You think I’m joking? No way.
We all know our health care system is broken. There are huge problems – the number of uninsured, the high malpractice insurance rates, the high cost of medical care – that manifest themselves in the daily awfulness that receiving medical care has become.
Expensive copays. Long waits in a cold exam room wearing a paper gown. Watching your doctor zoom in and out of your exam room so fast you feel like he’s practicing for a part on ‘The West Wing.’ The list goes on and on.
That’s why my visit to Dr. Ooghe was such a revelation.
He’s an old-school doctor, I’d guess about 70 years old. His office is small and unpretentious – no modern art, no fancy rugs. He has three exam rooms, one nurse and one office manager. His wife works in the back too.
But the real difference came down to how I was treated. They didn’t just agree to see a sick patient – they got me in as fast as they could when they heard my miserable voice over the phone. Once there, I discovered I didn’t have my checkbook. Not to worry, they said. Just mail us a check.
I was in an exam room less than two minutes after I filled out my paperwork. Dr. Ooghe didn’t make me wait. He asked lots of questions, listened to me (really listened, while looking at me instead of my chart) and did a careful exam. While we were waiting for the blood test results, he introduced me to his wife. And before I left, he gave me his cell phone number and said the words no doctor ever has uttered to me:
“I can pretty much be reached any time. You call me if you need anything.”
His diagnosis wasn’t a revelation (a virus, should be out of my system in a week), but I left feeling more cared for and taken care of than I ever had at a doctor’s office. For the first time ever, going to the doctor was a pleasant experience.
It left me thinking, if Dr. Ooghe can do it, why can’t everyone else?