Saturday, March 5, 2011

Doctors with borders

So, I don't usually think of myself as a rebel renegade rule-breaking law-flouting system-spitting-at type, but this morning I attempted - yes, I freely admit it - to make a medical appointment.  At the university health center.

(Music: "Night on Bald Mountain")

As you have no doubt guessed by the music, this is problematic on several counts.  First of all, I had a medical need, which quite frankly does not thrill your modern university medical practice.  Your modern university medical practice has no particular desire to see students.  They essentially see us as great festering pestilent wads of social disease with the rational capacities of phlegm.  Needless to say, I heartily object to this characterization of college students, on grounds I have currently forgotten.

But anyway, my point is that the health professionals prefer to keep as great a distance from us as possible, preferring to administer medical care in a more "hands-off" kind of way, like through catchy Health Initiatives, as seen on fun posters in the student union:


Therefore, if you should try God forbid to make an appointment through the health services website (, you will get the following notices:

Do you need a same-day visit? --> No --> There are no appointments available in the next two weeks.

Do you need a same-day visit? --> Yes --> Is it life-threatening? --> No --> There are no appointments available in the next two weeks, asshole.

However, if by some ungodly happenstance you should actually manage to make an appointment, you can rest assured that this will probably not make things any better at all.  In fact, it will probably make things worse.  I remind you we are talking about college health services here, which means that the medical professionals, bless their hearts, may be affected by certain "environmental schemas" about just what might be wrong with you:

University medical professional: What seems to be the problem?
Me: I have a sore throat.
University medical professional: Do you think you might be pregnant?
Me: No, I said I have a sore throat.
University medical professional (with gentle, soothing caring): It's going to be okay. 

I seem to get this a lot, but in fact, I have a suspicion it doesn't really matter who you are:

Patient: I think I shattered my ribs.
Doctor: What makes you think that?
Patient: Well, I fell 20 floors, and they're like all shattered, and every time I try to move, I'm in unbearable agony, plus this bone here is sticking out and inexplicably playing songs from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," the Broadway smash hit musical.
Doctor: Do you think you might be pregnant?
Patient: No, sir.  Um, I'm a virgin.  And, um, male.
Doctor: What is your estimate of the date of conception?

In other words, college students, you can never win, and it is best, if you have a modicum of common sense, to forget medical care and tough out your medical problem.  The alternative will benefit no one.  You would do better to go to the student union, and get a bubble tea, and space out on posters featuring Syphilis Sheep.  Or, if you absolutely must go to the university health center, at least take advantage of the free condoms on the receptionist's desk, which are useful, among other things, for making fun balloon animals while you wait.  


Notjustanyone said...

As horrible as it must be for the perpetually hung-over and pregnant college student, it's almost worse for the elderly on Medicare.

Patient (in quavering voice): Hello, is this the Greenbriar Medical Clinic?

Receptionist: *click*

Repeat until patient is dead or the newly-minted practitioner, who happened to graduate last in his class of 500, opens his practice within 768 miles of you.

Sometimes doctors are merciful - they all have connections to a Medicare-approved colleague named Helen Waite. Patients are told they can go to Helen Waite.

The Old Wolf said...

Snarl. That last comment was by me, but Wifey was signed in...

Skoddyboy said...

You have bubble teas in your student center??!!? Golly, don't they solve all medical problems anyway? Color me jealous.