I've had some pain in my right heel for about a month. It's very painful to put any weight on it, at least initially, but then after I've walked for a bit, grinning and bearing it, the pain goes away (at least until the next time I get up to walk). I've been meaning to make an appointment with my podiatrist, but it's just one of those things I hadn't gotten around to. I've been living with the intermittent pain.
There is another health-related appointment that I needed to make, and since I have to get referrals from my doctor to see anyone else, I finally put a call into his office yesterday morning to ask for the two referrals. I was told that I had to come into the office, that he wouldn't do it over the phone. I began to fume. If I got there before 10:30 they could fit me in as a walk-in patient.
So in I walked. And waited. Two hours. It's not unusual to wait at my doctor's office, something about which I get rather annoyed. Sure, I'm happy to have a chance to read whatever book is in progress, but I really prefer to do my reading according to my own schedule. Everyone's time is valuable. I had things to do, puppies to feed, another person to meet. I mulled over the possibility that finding another doctor might be in order.
When I finally saw the doctor he was quick to point out to me that the need to see him for a referral was not his rule, but that of the insurance company. He's a gentle man, and he broke this to me in a nice way. My hostility level dropped by half. So. my foot? He found a tender spot and noted that it could be a number of things. The other matter? Ahhh, this is where it gets good.
I made reference to a matter about which we had spoken during our first appointment, was it last fall? Female stuff. He nodded. He probed a little, and then asked the bulls-eye question. I answered him. He then shared with me some information that I had heard before, but not in this context. It made sense, and I began to connect some dots. He shared some other things that I had not heard before. A light was beginning to dawn. He encouraged me on several fronts, affirmed some things, and in his gentle manner essentially handed me a road map toward some long-delayed healing.
I'm still not crazy about waiting, but I like this doctor because he knows what he's talking about. Takes time to talk. Asks and answers questions. Listens. I never get the sense that he's in a hurry. He never checks his watch. He sits down for conversation. He's the kind of doctor I think my father was, given his reputation with his patients (they loved him!). Time in the waiting room isn't the most fun thing, but the trade-off is so worth it. I appreciate having a doctor who can pierce the veil of medical stereotypes, but even more, what comes from his manner of care. My wounds, literal and figurative, are treated and healed. To be on the receiving end of that kind of care is worth the wait.