Thursday, November 11, 2010

EDITORIAL: An Apple A Day...

By Rebecca Rose

This week we bring you a special section, focused on Your Health, with issues directly relating to our community. This feature couldn’t have been timelier. People keep asking me if I’m getting homesick. Well, this week I just got plain sick. I was laid up for almost five days. It was awful.
I’ll admit. I don’t like seeing the doctor. I’d rather be dragged on my belly through a cactus field.
I know I’m not alone; there’s a lot of you out there who can’t stand getting sick, mostly because it means exposing yourself to a process that only slightly rivals the humiliation and frustration of an IRS audit.
When I grew up, my doctor was a family doctor. His name was Dr. Wachs and he saw me regularly from the time I was 5 years old until the day I left for college. (Seriously, it was the exact day, because my mother made me go see him, so he could warn me about all the “bad things” that happen when college kids “get stupid”.) Dr. Wachs didn’t need a chart or a medical history; he remembered the last time I got the flu, all the bones I had ever broken and how many teeth I had pulled. He didn’t just treat me. He cared for me.
A lot has changed since then.
The last time I went to a doctor was in California. The office was in a medical building that more resembled a military base than a health care center. There were a lot of very angry, menacing signs that said things like “STAND BEHIND THIS LINE” and “DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE” and ‘SERIOUSLY WE MEAN IT ABOUT THE LINE”. Area 51 is more inviting than this place.
I had to wait in one line for 45 minutes so I could get my “forms”. The forms were baffling, filled complicated questions about the medical history of my ancestors dating back to the Crimean War. You need the Rosetta Stone to translate these things. Plus, they had very little to do with my actual physical health. “Please list your last six employers” does not seem like a question that’s going to help someone figure out why my head feels like it’s going to blow up whenever I blink my eyes.
On top of everything else, this visit means that at some point I’m going to have to call my insurance company and file a claim. I dread talking to them.  Vlad The Impaler was friendlier than my health insurance provider.
I didn’t give these forms to an actual person; instead, I deposited them into a drop box like the ones gas stations use in really bad neighborhoods to keep robbers from murdering their employees. A red light flashed and a buzzer sounded, which either meant I was approved to get treated, or they had reported my presence to Big Brother.
When I finally made it to the actual treatment room, I waited for another 20 minutes, reading a Glamour magazine from 1987 until my alleged doctor arrived. He looked like he should be reading X-Men comic books, not the intimate details of my complex medical history. I wasn’t sure he was old enough to know how to spell “doctor.” He called me “Rachel” at least 3 times. I think he looked up at me once during the entire five minutes he spent “examining” me. I use the term “examination” here loosely, because I’m not sure how exactly you can “examine” someone when you sit 10 feet away from them and never actually put your hands on them. I might as well have been a dinosaur wearing a Wonder Woman outfit for all he knew.
Anyway, after three hours and 1200 forms, I was told I to stay in bed...which is pretty much where I wanted to be in the first place.


  1. This was the best thing you guys have ever posted. Why not more of this????

  2. I really enjoyed this. It seems fresh and has a nice human perspective. More please!

  3. I'm from Socorro and really love reading Rebecca's articles. She always writes with a sincerity you can feel through the article. Rebecca's writing contributions have seriously improved the quality of this paper and my enjoyment of it!!

  4. I've enjoyed Ms. Roses writing in the Mail and look forward to reading more of her work. She brings a mischievous, twinkle eyed glee to her writing that I find is wonderful compared to some of the more fear mongering editorials and stories out by the press these days. As a resident of Socorro, I can't wait for her next piece.

  5. Comical, relatable, great. I really like this because I feel like I have had the exact same problems, and love seeing it printed in this manner. Funny, good writing.

  6. How true. Things have changed in doctor /patient relations. This was a funny read, thanks Ms. Rose!

  7. Great article, Ms. Rose. Couldn't agree more. The healthcare system is a mess. Insurance companies watchdog over patients and doctors alike looking for any chance to reject a claim or skimp on a payment. Your doctor is a trained medical professional, but your treatment is as much determined by him/her as it is by some businessperson, potentially thousands of miles away, for whom you're nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet.

  8. REBECCA ROSE FTW! Give her more opportunities for content like this!

  9. I can relate. Dotors have really lost that personal touch. You wait forever, and you are seen for 2 minutes. My primary doc now is one of those few doctors who actually remember my name and that she has seen me before and I hope she lives as long as I do cause I'll kill myself if I ever have to start over with a new one. Great article!

  10. Thank you, Ms. Rose. You have just proven to me that writing an article on the health care system doesn't always have to be a scathing one. Instead, you did something better, you made an unfunny thing relatable in a funny way. The doctor/patient relationship is a huge one, I should know because I spend half of my time at the hospital. Again, thank you for this article and I will be sure to look for more from you in the future.

  11. Really enjoyed reading this. Lookig forward to more writing from Ms. Rose. I am from Socorro and really enjoyed her writing. She brings a new spin to even the most mundane topics. Viva la Rose.