December 10, 2001

Last week I had a phone call from the secretary at No Name’s office. They wanted my husband to come in and discuss his recent lab work. Since I was running out of Amiloride and Serc, I told the secretary that she might as well book appointments for both of us. When I do not feel well enough to drive into the city for my prescription refills, I often make an appointment with No Name. All three medical clinics in my city do not refill prescriptions over the phone. You can be on your deathbed with not a pill left in the house and they will very kindly book you an appointment two weeks down the road.  I asked the secretary at No Name’s office why our esteemed physicians refused to pick up the phone, call the pharmacy and order a repeat prescription. The secretary informed me that since our provincial health care insurance had stopped paying the doctors for making these phone calls to the pharmacies for repeat prescriptions, the doctors could not longer afford to pick up the telephone. And you know me; I would hate to drive some poor, underprivileged, underpaid physician into the poor house!

The appointments were scheduled for today at 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM. The secretary did tell me when she called that No Name had moved to the new city  clinic and that he was on a six week vacation.  She went on to tell me that my husband and I would be seeing No Name’s substitute.

That afternoon I arrived at the new clinic with its waterfalls, new computers and abundance of secretaries waiting like vultures at the front desk.  I approached the reception counter and told them who I was.  One of the secretaries, whom I shall call Miss Priss, looked at me and said “Oh Widebertha, we don’t know if you will be able to get your prescriptions filled today. You see we do not have any of your medical files.” With this she dramatically opened the empty file folder and stuck it under my nose. I calmly replied, “Since when has that become my problem.”   Miss Priss went on to tell me that I could pay $40.00 to transfer my records to No Name.  My reply was, “When Pigs Fly!”

After a rather lengthy wait I was ushered into the consultation room. Finally I had the privilege of meeting Bushwhacker. Trust me there is a very good reason for calling this man Bushwhacker. Never in my 53 years have I ever had a doctor come into a consultation room wearing a holster that held a huge Swiss Army knife. I am still not sure what kind of game he expected to find waiting for him in that consultation room! Took me a few minutes to get over the shock!

Bushwhacker, with what sounded like an Australian accent,  asked me a few questions about my health. Quite frankly I did not get the impression that I was dealing with the brightest bulb in the tulip patch. He finally wrote out the prescriptions I needed and I was on my way!

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