On Friday I was walking back to my office from a meeting and I rolled my right ankle (not unusual, this happens from time to time) and sprained my left ankle when I fell in a heap on the floor. It was literally, help I have fallen and I can't get up. The arthritis in my knees has been bad the last couple of months, and with both ankles hurting, I couldn't get up. Fortunately a couple of people came to my rescue, after a couple of false starts, I was able to lift myself onto a chair and walk from there. My insurance has a call and RN service that they recommend calling before racking up the emergency room deductible for what they later decide is not an emergency and hence won't pay. Her diagnosis was a bad sprain and to treat at home (in other words, they won't pay the first $500 if I go to the emergency room.)
The wrong body type and 10 years of running, my hips, knees and ankles are a mess. Even on a good day, I walk funny, and not for the reasons a man might wish for.
When did emergency rooms replace walk in office hours at the neighborhood physician? I grew up in a rural area, there were two doctors in town. The one my family saw had walk in office hours four or five afternoons a week. You could make an appointment, but if you walked in, the doctor would see you before he went home for night. He lived in a brick home next door. I hated sitting in the waiting room - but only now know how lucky we were to be able to walk in. Today, appointments take weeks to get, and non-emergency care fills emergency rooms, with hospital level care and cost for things the old country Docs treated as it came in the door. For Dr. G medicine was a calling, he lived well, but money was secondary to caring for the people in the community. His church in California paid for him to go to Medical School (late 40's early 50's) and when he was done asked him to go to an undeserved community whose only doctor had died (reportedly in his office between patients.) When my family started spending winters in Florida in the mid 70's, I could sense that he missed living in cities and warmer climates. But his commitment to the community kept him there until he retired.
In the end his skills were a little dated, he missed a diagnosis on my grandmother that was life threatening. She was having some trouble and was a bit of a hypochondriac, so she had been to see him and he had told her it was nothing to worry about. The next day she as visiting my father who was in the hospital with a kidney stone. His doctor came in, looked at her and said, "do you mind if I look in your ear?" 24 hours later she was in a teaching hospital with the head or neurology doing surgery to remove an infection the size of a tennis ball. No one is perfect, he provided a great service to the community. I miss the corner Doctor.