March 20, 2015

Two Doctor Appointments in One Day? My Reaction

This past Tuesday, I was scheduled to see my neurologist at 9:40am and my geriatrician at 2pm. They have offices in the same medical building.

My neurologist showed up at my examining cubicle (too small to call a room) at 10:35am, 55 minutes late! Right away I could tell she hoped to shave off a few of the 15 minutes she usually spends on my checkups.

Fortunately, it was the first 70° day in Washington since early December, and I enjoyed a long, lovely lunch in a park close by. I was in my geriatrician's waiting room fifteen minutes early for my 2pm appointment. At 2:30, my name was called, and I was ushered into an examining cell. Fifteen minutes after that, my doctor appeared... only 45 minutes late!

Both doctors noted that the blood pressure readings their assistants had taken were somewhat high.


I'm glad I switched from a standard-operating-procedure internist to a geriatrician. But the U.S. -- unlike many other developed countries -- has a scarcity of geriatric health specialists. Internists are also in short supply. (No surprise: primary care physicians appear at the bottom of this chart that shows compensation by specialty.)

During my search for a geriatrician, I was referred to someone whose specialty is making house calls to homebound seniors. I'm not at that stage yet, and the range of his practice didn't include my neighborhood. So far, only a handful of geriatricians in the area are experimenting with this house-call specialty.

OK, I'll cut my doctors some slack. In light of all my internet research, I'm sure I'm not the easiest patient to deal with.

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