In Which I Inadvertently Distress My Primary Care Doctor

Example of daily planner page [via Canva] similar to the ones on which I write my annual doctors’ appointments because I am a good patient.
Well this is awkward…

I went to the primary care doctor’s office for my annual physical.

I see a PCP, a woman, who is in her late 30s.  She’s competent, engaging, and most importantly from my point of view, not an alarmist. Mellow about everything.

Usually.  

Anyhoo, I’m sitting there in the examination room with her and she’s looking at a computer screen, reviewing which doctors I see for annual check-ups.  Which I do because I’m a dutiful adult patient who does what she’s told to do.

[Also because I’m a doctor’s daughter.  And let me tell ‘ya, if as a child you listen to enough detailed dinnertime conversations about people who are icky sick because they didn’t go to their doctors for a regular check-up, then as an adult you make those time-consuming appointments with your doctors for your annual check-ups.]

Again, anyhoo, getting to what I want to tell you…

So my doc looks on her computer screen and confirms with me that I’m seeing a certain dermatologist.  Let’s call him Dr. Face.  She asks me which one of his associates I see when I go for my annual skin care check.  I tell her I see him.

She stops what she’s doing, turns to me and says: “You see him?”

I say: “Yes.”

She says: “I go to that practice and I never get to see him.  He’s the best, I wanna see Dr. Face, too.”

I say: “Yes, he’s good.”

She says: “But Dr. Face doesn’t do your procedures, right?  Some other med assistant or doc does them?”

I say: “No, he does them.”

She says: “Well, how does that happen?  Why does he work on you and not me?”

I shrug.

Then she says: “How’d you find him?”

I say: “You referred me.”

There is a long pause while she looks at my chart on the screen and I say nothing.  

Then she says, more like a girlfriend than my doctor: “Well darn, I gotta refer myself.  I’m jealous.  I can’t believe you get to see Dr. Face and I don’t.”

At which point, even though this was kind of funny, I didn’t smile at my good fortune, instead I made murmuring sounds of sympathy for my doctor’s sad realization that she wasn’t getting the best healthcare that she wanted. 

Because doctor is a nice woman, who I am sorry to report, doesn’t seem to have the right connections to get in with Dr. Face.

Go figure!

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

95 thoughts on “In Which I Inadvertently Distress My Primary Care Doctor”

    1. Jill, I see Dr. Face during mid-day. I wonder if my PCP sees his practice late in the day or very early in the morning. She might be going there when Dr. Face, who is a few years away from retirement, no longer works. 🤔

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  1. Well dang! Don’t you love it when something good happens to you? I went to “the cranky one” at my dermatologist. He finally retired. I asked that they not give me another cranky one. They gave me one of the head guys. I go there for body checks. He’s put me on an ever other year rotation for whole body cancer checks despite that I am lily white. I have my face checked at another practice that specializes in a lot of cosmetic procedures. I find that they are tune in to older women who think they can look young again if they just stop breaking out. They also have wonderful equipment for acne, rosacea, etc. and other bizarre stuff that happens when you get older. I thought all I had to worry about was wrinkles. Ha!

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    1. Kate, I am happy that I see Dr. Face who is kind of an A-level name around here, but it was rather odd that PCP only sees the B-level docs in this practice. I didn’t really know what to say in that moment while I was sitting there with her, so I went with sympathy.

      I’ve heard of medical practices that specialize in cosmetic procedures, with doctors who are dermatologists and plastic surgeons. I’ve never been to anywhere like that, but soon Dr. Face will be retiring, so maybe I’ll investigate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They don’t do plastic surgery (why do they call it plastic? There is no plastic involved!) at my face place but they have all sorts of lasers and light instruments that I’ve had great success with along with prescription treatments. They are great for kids with bad acne. Wish that stuff was around when I was young. I suspect that her young wonderful face doesn’t warrant an A grade doc although I’m surprised he wouldn’t see her as a courtesy. Hmmmm….a mystery for sure. Did you start with him a long time ago before he got busy?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Kate, the practices I know of around here all have plastic surgeons involved. I, too, wish there’d been your upscale sort of skin care practice when I was a teenager. My skin was a mess back then, somewhat better now.

          I only started seeing Dr. Face maybe 5 years ago and he was busy/popular then. I just called up for an appointment, mentioned my PCP’s name, and got in with him. I think you’re onto why PCP sees the other doctors, she doesn’t NEED to see Dr. Face. Lucky woman…

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  2. Your doctor knows which other doctors you see? Mine doesn’t even know why I’m taking the medications I get prescribed by those other mystery doctors. At least he’s an expert at making his patients wait approximately two hours from the time of appointment to see him… a real keeper.

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    1. evilsquirrel13, well you sound like you got yourself a loser doctor there. All our medical information is in one electronic computer-based file that all the docs can access, thus showing them every lousy thing about you. And not to make you feel bad about your situation, but this PCP is usually running… early! I love her, I do.

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  3. Certainly sheds a different light on the whole ‘heath-care’ maze!
    But I gotta say, if PCP is in her late 30’s she’s got more time to spend waiting for and/or trying to figure out how to get the next available face-to-face appointment with Dr. Face (punny phrase used on purpose). than either yourself or myself…so part of me wants to say to her “Buck-up lady!”
    HA!

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    1. Laura Bruno Lilly, you make a good point. This was a funny conversation in which I was sorry that she wasn’t seeing the doctor who she wanted to see, but couldn’t help to recognize the humor in it. I hope she refers herself to this doctor so she can see him, but the whole fact that she isn’t seeing him now, does make you wonder about the healthcare maze. 🤨

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Eilene, I wait months to see doctors, too. I wonder if in this case my PCP is not available to go to Dr. Face when he has office hours. She works long hours herself, so she may only be free to see him at times when he’s not there, but his associates are.

      [I don’t know if doctors can refuse to see someone. Interesting question, no answer.]

      Liked by 2 people

    1. marian, I know that Dr. Face is nearing retirement, so maybe he’s cut back on his hours? I schedule my check up a year in advance. I feel sorry for PCP, but she looks great so whatever she’s doing/whoever she’s seeing is working for her. When it comes to doctors, it’s always something…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. John, it’s kind of a funny situation, but my guess is that she’s too busy to see Dr. Face when he’s available. All I know is I like PCP– and hope she figures out a way to be happy with whichever doctor she sees.

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  4. LOL that’s a good one. I’m betting you are right and your PCP can’t get in when Dr. Face is available because she is busy herself but if she really wanted to see him that badly you’d think she would adjust her schedule. I worked for a doctor who would adjust his to be able to play in tennis tournaments so I know anything is possible. Drove me crazy because he’d say “I’ll call you if I lose my match so you can start filling the schedule.” Like I could just pick sick people out of the sky.

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    1. Janet, I’m shocked– SHOCKED I tell you– that you cannot pick sick people out of the sky. 😉

      It seems to me that PCP is always at work, but you’re right if she wanted to she could [I guess] adjust her schedule to see Dr. Face. The thing is, her skin is glowing, so in reality she may not need to see Dr. Face as much as the rest of us, and that’s why she’s been handed off onto other docs. Again, a guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think once you’re in with him, you’re in. If she came into his practice later than you, they would assign her to one of the associates. He probably had no room for new patients. I think my primary care doc is retiring this year, and it will be stressful to find a different one. I want to stay with my clinic since I like them, but I won’t have the same relationship with the new doc. Dr. E. knew my kids, my late husband, and my story. He’s close friends with some of my former school colleagues. Most of his children went through my high school. Connections are hard to break.

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    1. Margaret, good point. I may have called at a time when Dr. Face was taking new patients and my PCP tried to get in later. She didn’t seem upset, just kind of shocked/distressed/amazed by the situation. It was funny, from my pov.

      I understand your worry about finding a new primary care doc. The woman I see now is a new one who was ‘assigned’ to me after my longtime doc retired. I’ve come to like her and respect her opinion. In my case I stayed within the same family practice group, but would have gone elsewhere if the fit didn’t work out. I wish you well when the time comes for you to move on to your next doctor.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, I get what you’re saying. I went from being a patient to being an older sister in a nanosecond. I was thinking to myself this is different, this funny, this is weird, this funny. I dunno, it was a first for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I bet it’s age-related “discrimination” (or discernment) ~> PCP is not quite old enough to warrant a face to face with Dr. Face. That must have been a “funny” (or odd) conversation.

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    1. nancy, I wonder if you’re right. I am older and have more age-related issues than my youthful PCP so Dr. Face sees me, I guess. It was an odd conversation, not a bad one, just unexpected.

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    1. Melanie, considering the whole situation I was startled by the direction the conversation went, but not offended. It entertained me. You’re right, this conversation did have a certain junior high-ness to it. 🙄

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  7. I enjoyed your story, although not your doctor’s discomforting discovery that your dermatologist is better than hers. Taken as a whole, the post was most amusing.

    John’s dad was a doctor, so we keep regular appointments, too. They used to laugh about a surgeon named Dr. Butcher.

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    1. Anne, I didn’t expect the conversation that we had, but I have to admit that it made me laugh. I have no doubt that my PCP is seeing a good doctor, too. She looks great.

      A surgeon named Dr. Butcher? Oh that is a good one.

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    1. Jan, I don’t know the details about my PCP’s relationship with Dr. Face. I only go to Dr. face because she referred me. Maybe now she’ll do the same for herself, knowing that’s how to get in with him! 😉

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    1. Val, I thought the situation was funny, but in the moment I wanted to be supportive so I didn’t giggle while I was with this doctor. Still, the irony of it didn’t escape me.

      You’re the second doc’s daughter to leave a comment today. Maybe we should start a club!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well isn’t that sad? In all my dermatology experience (mine and my kids) I can honestly say usually they specialize, this guy for eczema, another guy for kid eczema, one lady for acne, another lady for moles, this lady for rosacea, this other one for recurrent hives… Maybe Dr Face specializes in your kind of issue? I’d hate to think your doctor is being shorted.
    PS: I will be at least 6 months late for all my appointments this year because I work full-time and I could not get time off around my birthday because holidays.
    PPS: I read medical records every day, which is why I make the effort to gym and sleep better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, Dr. Face is an old-school dermatologist who does it all as long as it is medically indicated. I go to the skincare department of a plastic surgery group for my micro-peels because those are for vanity and Dr. Face doesn’t get involved in that sort of procedure. From the looks of my PCP’s skin she’d getting good care no matter who’s seeing her, so I think seeing Dr. Face is kind of a status thing for her.

      Call me a wild woman but I try to get to all my annual doc appointments about every 15 months– which I figure is close enough to 12 months to consider myself healthy.

      I’m sure that having a doctor dad influenced me to pay attention to my health. Seeing medical records every day would have the same effect, no doubt.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I have never been to plastic surgery group place. Although, my kid had to have some in the ER after her dog bite — he did a great job. Five stars, would recommend him for lacerations.

        That’s unfortunate for your PCP. I feel bad to her. She should get that perk, best Dr Face and all that. (And lucky you!)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I laughed throughout this post. I don’t know how you kept a straight face with your doctor while talking about “Dr Face.” Your doc may never give you a good referral again without trying to get the specialist first! 😉

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    1. Pam, I didn’t want to be rude, but inside I was smiling wide. The irony of this was almost too much, but for all I know PCP has referred herself and now has an appointment with Dr. Face. Guess I’ll find out about referrals to other specialists when the time comes… and you know it will.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I wonder the same thing. This is a rationalization but maybe she doesn’t need to see Dr. Face so she’s been assigned to one of his colleagues? Me, on the other hand, needs all the help I can get!

      Or, more likely, the medical system in our country is screwed up. Case in point.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. LOL – that’s awesome. Maybe with a few more years under her prescribing belt, she’ll figure out the system we’ve been blessed with. I’ve often wondered about doctors and who they get to see. Now I know the rest of the story.

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    1. Shelley, from this I got the impression that some doctors are no better off than the rest of us when it comes to seeing specialists. This conversation was funny as it happened, but it is insightful!

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  11. Awkward, but hilarious.
    It helps to be a long term patient who started early in a practice, or have a family member who is a doc – or even better have a primary doc who plays weekly poker with the specialists. Last one works for us HAHA (Probably doesn’t hurt they all trained under husband’s father as interns)
    But as they retire, sigh. I do wish them a less stressful and more family oriented life…and be blessed with enough connections to get into to see the doc of their choice. Practices do limit /not take on new patients sometimes -if too many show up and wait times get too long, the new system penalizes docs – also they do deserve a life and have so many hours per day.(as you know as a kid of one – always those phone calls intruding when overloaded with patients.) And some do not want to deal with older/younger people – they find the group they enjoy working with.
    But what a great smile you got out of that visit

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    1. philmouse, I’ll mention to PCP that she needs to find herself a poker game with the right doctors in it. I wonder if the reason I see Dr. Face is that I’m of the age group he likes the best and that PCP sees other docs who like her age bracket best. I dunno. I doubt if it’s anything personal– or a grudge of any sort. Just some of life’s weirdness.

      [And boy-oh-boy did you hit the nail on the head with the intrusive phone calls at home. I learned at an early age to hate the phone cause it took my daddy away from me right when I though he was home to be part of the family.]

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    1. nance, you could well have figured out why I got in with Dr. Face and she didn’t. Aging acne-prone skin is much more challenging than a perfect young complexion. No doubt THAT’S why he sees me. 🙄

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      1. I do – and she should also remind Dr Face that you, the one and only Ally Bean, are the daughter of your father a medical man. (No, maybe that’s not necessary – just for her to say that YOU referred her. I have every reason to be confident that this will do the trick). 🙂

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        1. You’re making me laugh here. Somehow I think that being a doctor’s daughter might not hold the influence necessary to get anyone’s attention in Dr. Face’s scheduling department. But you never know…

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          1. Well, there are many Susan Scotts that inhabit where I live. Sometimes when I make an appointment for a doctor and they ask which one am I, I say the name of my husband who is a medical specialist… so dropping names – only when it’s asked mind you – can help 🙂

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              1. Yes well – I remember the time a long time ago when I went to see my gynae. The file of another Susan Scott, with the same middle name as mine, and married to a plastic surgeon was placed in front of the gynae. The other Susan Scott is at least 10 years younger than I. No, I assured ‘my’ gynae, I was NOT pregnant when he asked how I was doing, 3 months along –

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  12. This is hilarious. I should show it to the woman at my primary care place in charge of referrals. She once successfully referred me to a specialist but complained after it was finalized that she had been trying to see this guy herself for over three months with no luck; yet she was able to get me in with no problem. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t show this to her. But it is funny! Good on you for getting Dr. Face. – Marty

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    1. Marty, your experience sounds similar to mine. Considering we both got in with the doctors we wanted to see, I’d suggest we both remain quiet and keep our good fortune to ourselves. The medical system is difficult enough to navigate without causing any waves among those who help us.

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  13. So hilarious! I used to work in an OB-Gyn office, and this is the kind of thing I’d hear from time to time. There was quite a good-looking Ob-Gyn doctor on staff and EVERY female wanted to see him. (We’ll call him Dr. McHot-Hot.) Doctors from other practices would get upset they couldn’t see him, but their patients could. Pretty funny trying to schedule his day and hear sighs of distress on the other end from female practitioners all because Dr. McHot-Hot is booked solid.

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    1. Kate, no kidding, you were on the other end of this type of situation trying to schedule patients? I cannot imagine wanting to go to a handsome Ob-Gyn. I think that’d be distracting for me, but I have no doubt that many women would want to see Dr. McHot-Hot. And to think some of those women were doctors, themselves. This whole comment section on this post has been filled with some great stories and interesting insights into human nature. Thanks for joining in.

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  14. You are both lucky to get to see a dermatologist. I recently asked my PCP for a referral and he said there was nothing that a dermatologist could tell me that he didn’t. Since he told me nothing about my concern is question, I did beg to differ! 🙂

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    1. Donna, your PCP would not refer you because he knew better? Oh that’s rich. I’m sorry, but with an attitude like that I’d be looking for a new PCP. What an odd thing to have happened. I’m glad you stood up for yourself, but am horrified that you had to. ☹️

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  15. I’m just jealous you have a good Dr. Face!! My son has a really nice one but she doesn’t see adult patients and it’s almost impossible to get into mine. Maybe if I have my PCP refer me I’ll have better luck!!

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    1. katie, oh I hear you. Dermatologists are popular anymore. I know that before my PCP referred me to Dr. Face I could only get an appointment with this older dermatologist who looked like Casper the Friendly Ghost. He was weird, so Dr. Face is a wonderful improvement. Ask your PCP for a referral… who know?

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