Bedside Manner?

Bedside Manner?

After battling with a pretty gross chest infection for the last three days, I decided to haul my bum to the doctor’s office this morning, and make sure I’m not percolating something worse than your standard “yuck.”

Thanks to the fantastic socialized medicare system in Oz, there are no co-pays, premiums, or expenses for the vast majority of medical concerns. This is good. The downside is that the waiting time to be seen can vary depending on the time of day you show up. You can choose a specific physician, or just opt to see the first available one. In the interest of saving time, I always go with the latter. Usually, I’m in and out in under 25 minutes. Not today.

I waited for 73 minutes before “Dr. Patty” waved me into a hallway, told me to sit down on a couch and wait for a few more minutes, and so eloquently asked, “so, what’s wrong with you?” The exchange went something like this:

“So, what’s wrong with you?”

“Umm…I sound like Darth Vader, and am coughing like a crazy woman.”


“And I think I have the plague.”

“Fine, let’s listen.”

– 30 second check of my lungs, followed by the fastest “open up and say ‘ahhh'” ever-

“You’re fine.”

“Au contraire.”

“You’ll be fine.”

“I’m well aware, but can you tell me if I’m contagious, or if there’s any chance I’ll be able to sleep tonight?”

“Here’s a prescription. It’ll fix what you have.”

“Antibiotics? Really, I just wanted to know if I’m ok to go to work, or if I should be concerned.”

“You can get it filled downstairs in the chemist’s office.”

“Thanks…you’re so kind.”

(yells) “You’ll be FINE!” (As I walk out of the office)

(wheeze, cough, wheeze) “Yep, got it.”

Now, I’m not fussy about customer service, but there’s no need to make me feel like a moron. I came to you because I feel unwell. Pretend you get paid $200,000 per year to give a crap. And having a student nurse inform me, as I’m leaving the building, that you’re “relaxed, because (you) used to work in the Outback” doesn’t really soften that. Further, have the decency to actually tell me what you’re prescribing before you prescribe it. Maybe I’m not allergic to anything, but I know that a specific antibiotic is useless thanks to the 15 years of chronic ear infection I enjoyed as a child, and would prefer not to waste my money on something that won’t help.

In the end, “Dr. Patty” had prescribed me a Z-pack. This has worked in the past, so we’ll call this his lucky day. Due to the fact that a steady stream of essential oils and hot lemon and honey drinks wasn’t having the effect I wanted, I went to the chemist, and got the script filled. Under normal circumstances, I’d toss it and continue sucking on that delicious Eucalyptus & Tea Tree oil cloud that surrounds my desk at work.

In five days’ time, I should be back to my usual, cheerful self. If not, I may just find a different medical centre.


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