I got a Letter


I got a Letter

I have a new doctor. Not a replacement, I still have a cardiologist and various other specialists, but I felt I needed someone to call if I felt a twinge in my kneecap and after some research and referrals, I landed with a ‘family’ practice nearby. Frankly I’m rather impressed with this MD. She asks questions, wants to know everything about me, and follows up. And that’s the subject of this blog.

I got a letter from her the other day. Yes, a LETTER. US Mail delivered, typed, letter. Its content was rather inconsequential, but the form of the communication was heartening. Someone actually took the time to (probably) dictate a letter to me, about something specific, and put a stamp on it and mail it. WOW! How old school can you get.

My other doctors communicate with email, text, and on line messaging. I can find my test results at a web site, and also find messages from various folks in the health care community. But a letter. OMG.

I noticed that my new doc is a bit old school. She does use a computer but has an assistant to take notes on it and keep it up to date. When I see her, she is all about me, not the technology available in her consulting room. My experience with many physicians, particularly younger ones, is that they concentrate on the data, not on the patient. I think I have a keeper with this one.

She tells me that the idea is that she is the gatekeeper of all my various and sundry visits to specialists (as you reach a certain age, you don’t have to worry about losing friends, you have plenty of doctors to replace them.) She tracks all of them and puts the information in one place. (The letter was about getting some of that data.)

Speaking of letters, have you noticed that there are two types of envelopes. One that has considerable information on the outside suckering you in to opening it and perusing the contents. The other has nothing on the outside except your name and address. Those don’t work with me either. I figure if someone won’t put their name and return address on the envelope, then they aren’t worthy of my interest.

I’m also suspect of letters with a ‘window.’  Its either a bill, or someone who is selling something.

We call these letters “Junk” mail. Its interesting we don’t seem insulted when we receive unsolicited mail but go around the bend when we receive junk email. We develop filters to keep from receiving it, yell at the screen when it arrives, and seem to take it as a personal insult that someone has somehow gotten hold of our email address. We don’t seem so angered that someone has our mailing address. We just dump the offending mail in the trash and carry on with life.

With email, its even easier to clean out our inbox. A simple click and its gone forever. What’s the difference? Who knows?

Receiving an actual letter does present a problem. Now I have to answer it. Once I collect the information requested, I’ll type it up, find an envelope, and mail it off. Now where did I put those ‘forever’ stamps.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. I love this post. A doctor like you described is a rare find. In my neck of the woods they have doctors with “Concierge Practices” where you pay them several thousand dollars more per year. This is over and above what insurance covers and co-pays. This gives you a right to call them whenever and they advocate for you pulling together all the specialists.

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