Ring Around the Primary Care Doctor
By Brooke Davidoff
February 15, 2013
I got a fabulous letter in the mail a few weeks back:
Your medical provider has some important news for you. Your primary care and HIV doctor is leaving our practice and is no longer your doctor. As of 01/09/2013 he is no longer your doctor. We understand your relationship with your doctor is important to you. We want to help make this change as easy as possible.
We have picked out a new doctor for you until a permanent replacement is hired. She is a primary care doctor ONLY, not both primary and Infectious Disease like he was.
So, Yeah and BOO to this letter at the same time.
Ahhh, my newest ex-doctor. He would send me emails that my blood labs were due, or overdue since I need to have them done monthly. I picked the only HIV doctor on my side of town when I chose him not too long ago. It's less than a mile from my office. I can go on lunch breaks and after work, and it's not out of the way. It's a medical office with FREE parking! One of my deciding factors in picking a doctor's office these days. I really don't feel like forking over $3-$5 once a month to get my blood drawn. No thank you.
So I would go in to the blood lab on my lunch after getting my email and the lab tech would have no order in their system for me. They would look at me and ask what I was in for. I'd say CD4 and viral load I think. Some of them look at me like "you have what?" Others give me the look you give a puppy in the pound.
Then they have to call his office and see if someone there can put the order in while I wait in their little cozy blood cube. We'd wait for someone in his office to find him and put the order in, and then we'd have to wait for them to get out of the order on the computer so whoever's cube I was in could see it, and eventually poke me.
This happened MORE than once. Sometimes it would take so long to contact someone in his office I'd end up going back to work accomplishing NOTHING other than wasting my and the blood lab person's time.
So yeah, I don't or won't have to deal with that anymore (hopefully). I think I need an HIV and a primary care doctor. Is that right? Does anyone know? I assumed it would be easier to have ONE who does both since FREE TIME for full time (6 days a week) working mommies doesn't exist, other than lunch and potty breaks.
Back to research I go to find an infectious disease doctor in my area.
The only infectious disease doctor I have found on my insurance provider's website who will take me less than an hour to get to, on his profile it says:
Umhhh does that mean no OBGYN, or he only sees MEN? Since you know only MEN get HIV anyway.
Round and round I go. Wish me luck. I'm thinking about quitting this whole HIV thing. It's a total waste of time and money. Who's with me?
Voice of ONE
Brooke was diagnosed HIV positive in January 2010 -- two months married and 11 weeks pregnant with her first baby -- and has already begun to educate others about HIV. She lives in Seattle, and her poetry has been featured on TheBody.com. Her son was born on July 15, 2010.
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