Physician Mission

Searching for a small-town, family doctor in the city.

After moving across the country, it’s a daunting process to search for a new doctor. Really it’s a team of doctors I need to find. A gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, orthopedist, and physical therapist, among others—and I also need a new general care physician. Each patient has their own cocktail to blend, and finding the ingredients that will work well together is not an easy process. Especially starting from scratch.

I’ve been gathering recommendations from people I know. Others with IBD are a natural resource, but the local CCFA chapter can help, too. This can be another great reason to find a local support group as well. The people who attend them can be very helpful in this regard.

So far, I’ve checked off the general physician from my shopping list. I was having trouble with fluid in my ear and found a local doctor’s office right in the neighborhood where we are shopping for homes. It’s a small office with three physicians, a nurse practitioner, a lab technician, and a receptionist. Housed in a small brick building, it has an old-fashioned, small-town, family doctor feel to it, despite being immersed in the city. It’s actually quite refreshing after a decade of seeking care at corporate health care conglomerates.

I use the word “seeking” because in those environments it can be very difficult to find a doctor to stick with. Often, by then, they are on their way to someplace else, or there’s the more fundamental problem of trying to get an appointment on a reasonable time line. Living in a place where same-day care was unheard of, I was accustomed to being offered appointments several months away. Frequently, the only option was urgent care or the emergency room.

But a couple of weeks ago, when I called at three in the afternoon, this friendly little clinic was happy to offer me several options for the next day—and that’s because I said it wasn’t terribly urgent. Otherwise, they’d have fit me in the same day. I seem to remember service like this at some point in my younger life, but it’s been long enough since I’ve experienced it to have given up on it. Consider me pleasantly surprised, to say the least. After that, I almost expected them to offer me a house call. It also happens that this office belongs to my health insurance network. Too good to be true?

Now I’m off to find the other docs on my list. Wouldn’t you know it, my new family doctor had some helpful ideas about that too!

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Tags: Narratives

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.