Pleasant discovery at doctor’s office

Comment & Observation
By Joe Lee III

     A man I know recently had a pleasant experience in a doctor’s office.
     He told me he had to go out of town to get a routine, but specialized five-minute procedure. He has to go every three or four months.
     “It takes me an hour to get there, an hour to wait, five minutes for the procedure and an hour to get back,” he said.
     He told me he felt sorry for the doc. “At my last visit the man looked tired and was behind on his schedule.”
     “I told him he needed some help,” my buddy said.
     “We can’t get young doctors to locate in rural areas like ours,” the doctor lamented. “The old ones are tired of all the government paperwork and are retiring. Only 300 a year graduate in my specialty,” he commented.
     I had to think of all the blarney all of us just suffered through during the recent political season.
     Not once did I hear a politician say, “When I get to Washington I am going to introduce a bill that will forgive student loans for doctors who locate in rural areas for five years.” Maybe there is a better incentive than forgiving loans — free tuition — something to encourage young specialists to try out our way of life.
     I was on a doctor recruiting committee once. Convincing the wives was more of a problem than persuading the doctor.
     One reason we do not hear much concern on the part of Washington politicians, is that they have completely different health care than we do. The have legislated themselves terrific benefits while burdening us with their costs and providing us less service at ridiculous prices.
     The burdens the federal government puts on small rural hospitals is far too great to explore in this column.
     The politicians, and yes, the media, constantly lead us down useless rabbit holes, rather than concentrate on the real problems we all face: high drug prices, struggling hospitals, ridiculous medical insurance rates and fictional billing practices, useless regulations, a $21 trillion debt, an aging and vulnerable infrastructure, television networks more interested in ratings than in accuracy — bet you could name 10 more serious problems getting little or no attention in Washington.
     Anyhow, back to my buddy. I said he had a pleasant experience while waiting in the doctor’s office.
     “While surfing on my phone I found that author Lee Child had sneaked a new book by me,” he said. “Past Tense was released in November. I managed to read a substantial part of it on my phone while I waited and finished it over the weekend. It’s a good book.”
     All of Child’s Jack Reacher books are good, but my personal favorite is The Affair. It takes place around Corinth. (The “affair” is not what you think it is.)
     Take a good book with you next time you go to the doctor.
     Better yet, take a newspaper and stay informed!