Playing Doctor Roulette for that Diamond

So since we’ve moved down to the south bay some 10 years ago, we’ve only won at Doctor Roulette twice. Thankfully both times were the kids doctors. It always seems the odds are not in your favor when trying to find the most awesome doctor on the planet. Instead you find quacks, hacks, OMG what was I thinking or “okay good enough” doctors. 

I have many stories I could share with you but I am going to stick with the present for this blog post. First I must disclose I am wary of dermatologists because as a child my mother took me to my first dermatologist around the age of 11.  My older brother had bad acne as a teenager, so she was trying to be proactive. I was on antibiotic from the age 11 till I was 18, year round. While my acne never got as bad as my brothers, I also never got sick during those formative teen year.. Oddly enough I did get sick a lot the two years after stopping all the antibiotics. Funny how that works. Here we are today and with getting older, comes the fear of skin cancer. So the need to find a dermatologist, was mounting over the past few years.

2 years ago I finally cracked down and started the hunt. Our GP and our kids pediatrician all recommended a brand new group that opened up the year before. Looking over the reviews I was turned off. I did find another dermo, who was also new but had some pretty positive review. My first office experience was good and Clem’s was good as well. At the end of both of our appointments, the doctor started to hard sell a skin care line called Cerave. Then two months ago, Lochlan developed a strange rash that our pediatrician was having trouble diagnosing. We took him to our dermatologist and while he identified and prescribed a antibiotic for Lochlan, which did clear up the strange rash. Like clockwork, at the end of Lochlan’s appointment the dermatologist said, “only Cerave will clear up the remnants of the rash”. 

Weeks later our youngest daughter developed a strange heat rash and I had to bring all 3 kids to the appointment. Needless to say our dermatologist ran from the exam room, claiming to be to sensitive to the crying coming out of 2 of the 3 kids. In the 20 seconds he spent in the room he gave us a ridiculous diagnosis and pushed Cerave, yet again! There you have the The Product Pusher. From my experience there seems to be 4 different kinds of medical professionals out there. Sometimes one physician can inhabit two of these personas. 

  1. The Pill Pusher - this doctor seems to find the best pill that will resolve your problems. Yes, of coarse there is some super drug out there will kill whatever ails you. For example I had a doctor who was hell bent that I had MSSA and I need to get out of my body. So I was prescribed a series of antibiotics to do so, like the super drug Rifampin, which turns all your bodily fluid orange. Fun! Right? Not! I only realized after talking to my kids pediatrician, that my GP might be pushing something that is not of great concern. It turns out MSSA is extremely common in the medical field because it mainly infects those people who visit hospitals on a regular basis. Our pediatrician quoted that at least 60-70% of the medical field will test positive MSSA in their noses. And considering my dad’s numerous visits to the hospital, I am sure my who family could be swabbed with a positive as well. In the end, In the end the infectious disease doctor I eventually saw, set me straight and demanded I get a new GP and stop worrying about MSSA. 
  2. The Book Doctor - these doctors like to pull out the big book for one of two reasons. To figure out what is wrong with you, they will sit in front of you for a good chunk of time looking over the book in silence. A kind doctor would instead vanish from the exam room for said chunk of time. Either way you are still freaking out because you worry does this doctor really know what they’re looking for? Or the doctor who likes to open up the book and show you all the nasty photos of how worse your condition could be or they want to show you what your options were for diagnoses. Yes I have actually had a doctor that would show me my options for diagnosis. Worse, I’ve had a doctor who was a  book doctor and a pill pusher
  3. The Product Pusher - this doctor only reveals its true color at the end of your visit. For example the dermo I spoke about prior, was looking to be the perfect physician but then came the ended of each visit pushing a product line. These doctors are relentless, now I am not saying they are all bad but I have not found a pusher that was modest. I mean Clem just went to get a cancer spot check and he too was pushed to use the Cerave line. 
  4. The Perfect Physician - This is the rare breed of doctors, the odds are pretty broad for those in search of the TPP. Our odds I put at 1 in 12, based on our personal experience. Odds are wide but this rare breed of physician does exists out there. As I mentioned before we have been lucky to find this rare breed twice in the past 10 years. Our kids pediatrician and our family dentist. We may move one day but give these two most certainly not. 

So why do I bring up this topic. After we ran screaming from that first dermatologist visit, we took a chance on our pediatricians recommendation. It was the original group office that had negative reviews. Sadly Margot’s rash was gone by  the time of our visit. The doctor seemed to agree with me that what Margot had, didn’t sound like anything she usually deals with, for now she said if it shows back up to bring her back in. What is concerning is the cleanliness habit of the doctor I witnessed. She walked in with sniffles and red nose. After holding up Margot’s chart 4 times to wipe her nose off on her white physician coat. I finally asked if she was sick, she said “no”, she then proceeded to say she just had a bad coughing fit outside of the exam room. Not sure coughing is an allergy symptom. She continued to wipe her nose 5 more times on her coat. Meanwhile a box of Kleenex sat behind her. Good times!

We are all dealing with the Physician Roulette! You just never what you are going to get when you walk in the door of a physicians office. Back in Yelp’s early days, those odds were pretty grim. I will admit that since Yelps inception, it has gotten a little earlier to spot bad/questionable practices. Of coarse everyone has a negative review, what I’ve learned it two weed through the negative reviews and keep with the old saying “just the facts”. Everyone has a bad day, and wether it’s the patient or the doctor. You have to throw out all those emotional reviews, unless you want to read them for their pure entertainment. Best advice is to keep to the facts, evidence that points to real issues. And lets face it, some front desk staff aren’t the warmest and fuzziest people out there.

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