Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You're old when....


While straightening the deck chairs on my personal Titanic, I received a letter from my MD, which I'll paraphrase. "Toad, it says, bad news dude. I've been your personal physician for 37 years, but I'm hanging up my sign. At the end of April I begin my semi-retirement by transferring 7/8's of my patients to other doctors in the community. (A smarter guy might have sold the practice, just sayin'.) The remainder I will continue to serve on a concierge basis. The first to mail in their retainer stay, the rest go. In the mean time I hope to minimize your inconvenience. So long and thanks for all the fish." (I suspect he's been watching too much Royal Pains.)

Bummer. In my 20's, 30's and 40's stopping by once a decade or so worked OK for each of us. In my 50's it's been two times more per year than I'd like, and I'm soon be ramping up towards the age when people see their doctor every few weeks, just to get out of the house. When I planned on needing him most, I'll be abandoned, lost in the wilderness.

Paying up prolongs the inevitable. He wants to quit, selfishly I want him to stay. To leave now, while in good health or in several years feels like the same option. Fortunately, I live in a community where MD's are thick on the ground, so here's what I've made up my mind to do.

I want to find an MD finishing his/her residency this spring, and become their first patient. The likelihood of them knowing anything useful now is slim, but I don't ask for much now. Down the road, when they are smarter, and I'm sicker, they'll be so grateful for my being their first patient and sticking with them, they'll work extra hard to keep me alive.

If you have a better plan, let me know. I'm all ears.

Toad

13 comments:

GP said...

Brilliant plan

GP said...

Brilliant plan

GP said...

Brilliant plan

GP said...

Brilliant plan

Toad said...

GP are you in for this weekend's basketball action?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better than the 4 times GP wrote it: "Brilliant plan"...I concur.

Gail, in northern California said...

Holy Moly. Doctor on retainer. I guess they've been around forever for the wealthy and celebs but is this a signal of what's coming for the rest of us? Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, is concierge medicine just a whole lotta nerve or am I living a too-sheltered life. It strikes me that if you hadn't discovered the powers of alternative med/accupuncture, this transition might have been all the more difficult. Keep the accupuncturist, show the concierge out the door, and yes go find that youngster who will LOVE knowing and treating you.

-Flo

ps: I think I see how GP got in the multiple-comments jam. I hit publish, but the comment box keeps resetting without submitting my gab.
Here I go again....

Toad said...

There is a company called MDVIP owned by Proctor and Gamble, which is an umbrella organization for concierge doctors, although they would never, ever call themselves that.

In some respects it is a model for the future. My doctor signed up with them. I's probably a good plan, just not right for me, at this time.

Pink Benny said...

As Bette Davis once observed, "getting old ain't for sissies." I am now older than my doctor, my bishop and my president. Whattya gonna do. The good thing about my doctor: he PROMISED me that I will not die young. [Even if it happens this afternoon !]

Toad said...

PB I want to be on your team.

LPC said...

I think about this. My doctor right now is someone I went to college with. I assume that when I get to the point of needing constant care, she will be retired. The question is, when should one make the switch?

DocP said...

Sorry to be late to the discussion, but as a primary care physician, here are my thoughts. The problem with your plan is the assumption that the newly minted doc will stay in the same practice for the next 30+ years. I have been in my own practice in roughly the same location since finishing training in 1986. The new graduates aren't following that model. Continuity is supposed to be provided by the electronic chart. (But that is another issue.)