We were in for quite a surprise when I accompanied hubby to his doctor’s appt. on Thurs. Sept. 17th. We had been there the month before and the doctor wasn’t. We’d been there in June and July. Plus we’d stopped by on at least 2 other occasions to get a doctor’s order for something and some sample meds. A new nurse we hadn’t seen before took us to the exam room and asked us, “Did he tell you he’s leaving next week? His last day is the 24th.” We were shocked. If we hadn’t come in then for an appt., we’d never have found out until after he was gone! Dr. J had already trimmed his schedule from 4 days a week (M-TH) to 3 days a week (cutting out Mondays). We didn’t know if he was having health problems or what. I asked the nurse if he was retiring. Dr. J is only 58 yet I couldn’t see him going anywhere. He’s been on salary where he doesn’t worry about how many patients a day he sees or how much time he spends with them. The nurse “couldn’t say” where he was going and to ask him ourselves.
Well, when he strolled in late (typical), he had a resident in her last month of school shadowing him. We asked him where he was going and he went into a long detailed explanation about how the neighborhood in Melrose Park has gotten bad (true) and it wasn’t safe. He’s heading to Elk Grove Village which is a little closer to us but in the opposite direction. He said he told his current employers he was leaving in June and they didn’t believe him. He put in written notice in July and they were supposed to mail out letters to patients and we didn’t get a single one. He told us the office isn’t allowed to give out the information of where he’s heading to. He didn’t have a specific address or phone number for us and said he would email Greg with the info. As Greg was giving him his email address, I just knew. I would bet everything I own in the world that we’ll never hear from this doctor we’ve been loyal to since July ’96! For all I know, he wasn’t even typing in the email address into his phone. As far as I know, he’s not trying to get rid of US as patients. Although I do believe he is trying to get rid of most of his patients who are on Medicare/Medicaid. They also don’t take any of their health issues seriously. He told us that they hand out diabetes booklets to those diagnosed and most don’t even look at them OR take them with them. They discard them in the exam room and head to McDonald’s.
We had to get written prescriptions for all of hubby’s meds and Dr. J doesn’t like writing them. He wants to send them directly to the pharmacy. The only problem is that when we got over there, he had only sent scrips for the 2 blood pressure meds. He didn’t send one for hubby’s Metformin (diabetes drug) or the test strips or lancets for the blood glucose monitor. Last month when hubby had no refills on the Metformin, the pharmacy called the doctor’s office. Then the pharmacy called back saying they wouldn’t give any refills until he saw the doctor. As I said earlier, we’d been there just a month ago! Then a different doctor authorized one month but no refills.
We are so torn right now. After this week, we’ll have to actively search out this doctor if we want to continue to see him. Which we would do because in some way’s he’s easy. He doesn’t put us through a lot of unnecessary tests or make us feel bad about being fat. He doesn’t lecture or scare us (usually). Yet in other ways he makes things SO HARD. Like trying to get ahold of him for emergencies (impossible) or get an appt. with less than a month’s notice. Weighing the pros and cons is tough. EASY: He’s generous with free samples of meds (if he has them) which saves us money. HARD: He doesn’t discuss blood test results unless we specifically ask. We don’t know how many of the difficulties we’ve had are due to his office staff or him.
Maybe we’ll try to follow him to the new place (if we can find him), and see how it goes from there. I’d rather not find a new doctor but he’s going to retire eventually and we’ll need someone new then. Hubby doesn’t need to see him until 2014 so that gives Dr. J time to settle in to his new practice and get some of the bugs out. Let’s hope we don’t have anymore trouble getting the medicine we need. Instead of subscribing to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” maybe I need my own apple orchard! 😉