Friday, November 14, 2008

my doctor's story

Today I went for an annual physical from my doctor at Kaiser.

The actual physical took three minutes, and we spent twenty minutes talking. My doctor is a chinese woman in her 40s.

When she was my age, she was working at a Berkeley medical lab as a technician. She wasn't satisfied with the work, so she decided to take the medical board exam to be qualified to practice medicine in the US. She quit her job, and lived off savings for a year while studying.

She had the knowledge from medical school in China, but her english was rough. After a year, she took the exam, and failed by one point. But this gave her courage that after another year, she would be able to pass.

She said it was stressful sometimes, studying and not remembering english vocabulary, looking it up and not comprehending the definition, wondering if she should instead spend her time getting a boyfriend.

At the end of the two years, she passed the exams, and embarked on the road to practicing as a doctor. Later she married a chinese friend she'd known from Berkeley.

I was really moved by the story. I was planning to switch from Kaiser HMO to Cigna PPO, but now I'm wavering because I like my doctor so much.


John K. Lin said...

Being happy with your doctor is a good thing.

Why were you thinking of switching from Kaiser HMO to Cigna PPO? Cost?

Wei said...

Awww...I want your doctor!

Anonymous said...

on a slight tangent here -- I was thinking of switching back to PPO too for next year. But it seems for preventive care, Kaiser works out the best both convenience wise (everything in house from pharmacy to labs and results are available online) and cost wise. A colleague told me that even though the initial cost of lab work looks low, PPO pays for very little now and he spends around $100 for lab work easily (though depends a bit on your company's plan). So I decided to compromise on that false sense of choice and freedom and stick with Kaiser, now if only I can have a doctor who would chat with me for 20 minutes!

on another side note -- your experience fits in pretty well here

Aijun Sha said...

a good story for those poor english learner.

Brian said...

Sounds like a pretty poor doctor's visit (3 minutes) followed by a nice chat (20 minutes). For your health, I'd suggest trying to turn those numbers around. A 3 minute checkup is a good way of determining that you aren't actually dead, but it's not much good in determining whether or not you're healthy.

"Inspiring" when you're "expiring" isn't good.

Anonymous said...

There's are a lot of horror stories floating around out there with regards to Kaiser when it comes to major medical procedures. While you are young, fit, single and healthy the real need for a PPO may be limited vs Kaiser. If you get diagnosed with something serious like cancer, or plan to get pregnant, or start having need for major surgery then a PPO will often give you more access to top notch specialists than what may be available through the Kaiser plan. You're probably good for now.

Anonymous said...

Did you try to convince her to marry a white guy instead?

Anonymous said...

Heathcare in US just sucks, I have been on HMO PPO and Kaiser... I like the kaiser system. My kaiser doctor was a Chinese woman (Arline Chang) and she was great. Did exactly what I wanted, refill my prescriptions and bug me to come in once in a while. Personally i would like to have the professional courtesy over PPO or HMO, if you like your doctor then stay where you are, because a good doctor is hard to find.