Parker County Today July 2016 - Page 114

our opinion: CURMUDGEON MUSINGS The Last Word Who Else Misses Their Family Doctor BY MARK BROWN JULY 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY I f you grew up in the 1950s or ‘60s, your doctor probably made house calls. Back then, everyone had a family doctor and the doctor’s phone number was on a card stuck on the wall by the kitchen phone. If you broke your arm playing football, you went to the family doctor, he put it in a cast, right then, right there. And he did it while imparting sage advice on scoring touchdowns without breaking bones. Ours did. He also performed my mother’s hysterectomy, delivered my cousin’s babies and came to the hospital when my sister was in a terrible car wreck when she was 10. Our family doctor came to the hospital and sat up with her night after night until he felt sure she was going to make it. The doctor was like part of the family. It was all very personal. Your doctor probably came to your graduation and your wedding. Needless to say, it’s a little different now. Who would’ve ever guessed that someday health care would be provided through a “Doc-in-the-Box,” where you rarely see the same doctor twice in a row, because when he hits puberty he tends to go practice medicine elsewhere. It’s all “streamlined” now — medical care provided in a fast-paced, almost automated format, fast-food restaurant-style where you run in, stick out your tongue, say, ”Ahhh,” get a shot and run out. Just an observation, of course, but I do believe there are more Doc-in-the-Box clinics than fast food restaurants in Parker County. I see new construction happening, and get 112 a little excited about it, thinking we’re getting Joe T. Garcia’s West or Del Frisco’s Aledo, and then I finally see the sign, coming soon - Ajax Emergency Care Center. Nothing against Doc-inthe Boxes, but it’s not as much fun to go to an urgent care as it is to go to Joe T’s. Here’s the thing — I don’t think it’s really the doctors that want to practice that. I think it’s a combo of demands of insurance companies, politicians putting noses where they don’t belong and large corporations that hire young docs right out of medical school and offer them predictable income. Probably most doctors would rather take care of people in a personal way, without the government, insurance companies and huge corporations breathing down their necks, but this is a different century. Granted, some doctors still manage to find a way to practice medicine in an old-fashioned, family-doctor way, but I’m guessing they have to fight every step of the way, to manage to do it. If you find one of these people to take care of you and your family you’re fortunate. Hang on to that relationship. It used to be that when you saw a Walgreens going up, right across the street there would be a CVS following right behind. Remember how just a few years ago they started putting fast food joints inside gas stations. Well, that doesn’t happen so often anymore; but just watch, I predict that soon the new Doc-in-the-Box clinics will be putting the fast food joints in them. I can see it now: “Would you like some fries with that flu shot?”