Cliff was escorted into a room at the heart group's office right on time: 10:45. A nurse had him weigh and took his blood pressure promptly. Then she wrote down all his medications, both prescription and non-prescription, and left, saying the doctor should be with us shortly.
We waited. And waited. For over an hour, we waited. At one point Cliff said, "I'm not coming here again!"
FINALLY a courteous, smiling nurse-practitioner came in and introduced herself. She quizzed Cliff about various things, asked him if he realized he had gained weight, and so forth. She said we shouldn't wait another three years to come and see them, that we ought to come once a year.
I told her, "Cliff just told me he won't be coming back here again; he gets tired of waiting so long."
She assured us she understood and said the doctor would soon be with us.
When he came in, he started out "About the wait..."
Which I heard as "About the weight..."
So the next five minutes or so were totally confusing to me until it finally clicked, but click it did.
"When we saw Obama-care coming," he said, (I'm thinking, 'It's Obama's fault Cliff got fat?') "we saw that new rules were put in place so that doctors were only going to get 50% as much for their services; hospitals, however, still got 100%. We went out of private practice and put ourselves in the employ of this hospital, because that way we still get what we've always been paid."
Please realize I'm paraphrasing, since I don't have a photographic memory. You could tell the man was totally exasperated with the situation he's in. He assured us that he wasn't bad-mouthing the hospital, that it's a fine hospital, a perfectly good one. But the hospital is now his boss, and is obviously mismanaging some things. He didn't use the word "mismanaging", but that's what he was getting at.
"She and I came in at 8 o'clock this morning," he said, motioning toward the nurse-practitioner. "We sat at our desks and waited for someone to bring a folder to me so we could go to work. At 9 o'clock, seven folders were placed on my desk at once, so we were already an hour behind, and covered up with work."
"I could rush the patients through here, but I don't like to do that. And if I go to the top and complain, I could be fired, because I am working for them."
I really, really wish I could tell you word for word what he said, and convey to you the passion with which he said it.
"No wonder nobody wants to study to be a doctor any more," I said.
"No, that isn't it," he said, "I'll tell you why nobody wants to be a doctor; it takes half-a-million dollars to go to school to become a doctor; I was thirty-eight years old before my schooling was paid for and I could finally say my money was my own."
Then he motioned toward the T-shirt I was wearing: "And yes, fire Congress."
Because that's what my T-shirt said. "Fire Congress".
We accepted his apology and told him we appreciated his explaining things to us.
I'd love to state his name, but... he could get fired.