Monday, March 3, 2008

"You're Sick. We're Quick."

So, I spent last week coughing, like a lot. Since it was all in my chest, no runny nose, body aches, sneezing, just wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and not being able to breathe there was some concern on my part that it was pneumonia (again). In order to diagnose, someone with some sort of a medical background is required and not having health insurance (or a medical degree) I hit the MinuteClinic at CVS believing I would find such a person there.

I arrived, there was no one in line, I typed my name into the computer, picked up a flyer that claimed the clinic was staffed by Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners and proceeded to wait. Then I got bored and wandered off to the look at the books, the nail polish, the candy, and the magazines. About 25 minutes after typing my name into the computer and it assuring me there would be no more than a 15 minute wait, a woman emerged from one of the little rooms, she asked if I was Victoria (I confirmed) and she led me into the tiny room and asked why I was there. I stated that I was worried that I had pneumonia because I had a prior history of it and what I was feeling was a lot like that and that I hoped someone could listen to my lungs and either confirm or deny that diagnosis. She said they couldn’t just listen to my lungs, that I would have to have a minimal exam that would include that among other things. Right lady, that is why I’m here, exam away.

This is how the exam goes:
(takes binder off shelf, flips to bronchitis/cough tab, looks at a sheet called Diagnosis with a list of questions on it)
Her (reading off page, never looking up at me): How long have you been coughing?
Me: three solid days
Her: Have you had a high fever?
Me: No
Her: Difficulty breathing?
Me: Yes
Her: Any wheezing?
Me: Yes
Her (skipping to question 8): Other symptoms such as runny nose or body aches?
Me: No
Her: Have you had pneumonia before?
Me: Yes
Her: Does this feel similar?
Me: Yes
Her (skipping to bottom & still reading off the page): Okay it says here, there is a chance you may have pneumonia and we aren’t allowed to diagnose that here. Here is a list of Urgent Care clinics in the area that can do a chest xray. (she then looks up at me and smiles, then realizes that she just read something indicating that she should give me a list of urgent care clinics in the area and jumps up to find that).

So apparently, per CVS MinuteClinic rules, I am qualified to be a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant because I too can wear a lab coat and read a flow chart. Thanks, that was fun, I feel better already.

Just for the record I am cured now.


Kristin said...

That is awesome...and quite scary. It's also scary knowing that people like that fill prescriptions at drugstore pharmacies too.

Keith said...

I want a lab coat. I can read flow charts.