The past few months I have been seriously trying to get to the bottom of some long term issues with my health. While I have always had a lot of energy and eat healthy ( no greasy food, limit the sweets and white flour opting for salads, whole grains, lean proteins and fish), I have, since I was ten, struggled with my weight. One of my 2009 new years resolutions ( remember those you made back in Dec/Jan?) was to try and take whatever steps were necessary to make the lifestyle changes I need to reduce my weight to improve my health.
So to honor that resolution I have been working out with a body builder for the past three months three times a week for an hour and a half, mixing weight lifting up with cardio, as well as making the changes to my diet the body builder is encouraging, hoping to get my metabolism moving.
While my physical strength is improving daily, my weight has not budged. Being born into a family with horrible genetics ( obesity rules in greek families) I decide it might be a good idea to go to the doctor and rule out a thyroid problem being at the root of my difficulty.
So I went to see my general practitioner and had a number of blood tests. The tests indicated my insulin levels were higher than they should be for sure, but not high enough to label me diabetic.The doctor put me on pre-diabetic medicine and asked me to make an appointment with an endocrinologist. (Hypothyroid can look a lot like a pre-diabetic condition.) Eager to address my problem, and hoping it would help me improve my health, I called the referral my doctor gave me.
Quickly I discovered where my eagerness to consult with an “expert” about my health fit into the value system of both of the endocrinologists I was referred to by my physician.
The first I tried calling 4 different times. It seems they rarely keep office hours and never answer the phone. Each time I called this was the message I heard: ” Dr. XXX is currently not available. Our office is now closed. Don’t page the doctor, Don’t ask us when we are not open for a refill or an appointment and Don’t leave us a message unless you are willing to wait 24-48 hours for a return call. If this is an emergency call 911. Beep.”
The second endocrinologist I called won’t see me at all until I send over my blood tests and they decide if THEY are willing to set up an appointment to see me.
It seems endocrinologists are in such demand, according to my general practitioner, that they feel they don’t need to be bothered– unless they feel like it. Of course when you go to see them, they will not let you past the front office until you have signed a waiver guaranteeing to pay them and/or providing them with insurance information they accept.
It seems that these doctors have forgotten that the services they provide is a business. They have forgotten that where there is demand lies opportunity and that customers (or in this case patients) have a choice about who they see and what they tell others about their experiences.
Every profession is a business and every business has an opportunity to recognize opportunity to provide superior service that translates into a thriving enterprise and happy repeat customers.