My doctor divorced me. A new kind of care is being forced upon us.
It is an old story. They think we don't know, but we know. We get the little messages, "I wonder if we should see other people". We hear the office chatter, "Did you see the big ones that just came in"? "Sure a lot of newbies here lately." "There sure are a lot of young ones."
We should expect it. We've been there. Nothing new in our story. That old maybe you could lose a little weight routine and we see all the interesting new stuff to think about. The killer is when you call and the secretary says well the first opening is in about 9 months but you can see the assistant in a couple of weeks. It would be nice to be pushed off in person but It is the modern way I guess.
This just happened to me. No more meetings with the hepatologist. It will be a PA from now on. The new person will be very nice I imagine but getting comfortable with a new care person is always a challenge.
BUT WHY DO I SAY YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR THE SAME THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A GOOD HEPATOLOGIST?
You may remember that we recently had a pandemic. People ate a lot of food and drank a lot more while being locked down. I've seen estimates as high as 29 pounds of extra fat for the average American. That seems high to me but suppose it is 20 pounds.
At 20 pounds that is 3 million tons of extra fat. We all know the consequences of obesity. Can we even wrap our imaginations around the damage that even an extra million tons of fat might do?
There is nothing personal in my doc divorcing me. They are just seeing so many new cases in that office that people like me are a luxury that can't be tolerated any longer.
On top of the pandemic, there are new guidelines for the primary care docs about when they should refer patients to a specialist. We want that to happen but the number of specialists isn't changing. The only way to make room for the flood of new patients is to move the older ones along.
This won't be a uniform change. Some areas have done better at educating the doctors and the patients than others, but every community that got fatter and drank more alcohol during the pandemic will see the health consequences over time.
One of the ways we can help is to provide information to patients and doctors about how it is going. Your local system is likely to fail at some point but if we have better information we may be able to minimize the damage. If you are a NAFLD/NASH patient and haven't yet taken the Care Survey please take 20 minutes and help us prepare.
Many of you may be struggling to find services that you need for the needs of daily living. We find that food insecurity is the biggest concern for many people. The search function of The Wellness League is an ad free catalog of services in youR area. It is cataloged by zip code so you don't have to search the whole world. You should take a look at it so you will know where to look the next time you have a need for something besides a doctor.