A few months ago my Husband was skiing and made a sharp turn and hurt his leg- not a break but a pull/tear. As he was out west and it was his second to last day of the trip, he decided to wait till he got home before he considered seeing a Doctor.
So a week goes by and he’s still in pain, and decides to figure out a Doctor’s appointment.
He starts by calling our health care insurer, who tells him to see an orthopedist, and gives a list of in network providers. He asks me to take the lead on this.
I call one of the orthos who is on the list, in our neighborhood and associated with the hospital system that gets us a discount with insurance. The ortho office says that he doesn’t need an ortho, that there office is for surgeries, he needs a “physical physician”- a term I’d never heard of, and as it sounded like she was saying “podiatrist” I had to ask the scheduler to spell it. She then gives me the number of a physical physician.
So I call the physical physician, It’s a ski injury? she asks….and proceeds to tell me that I need a sports medicine specialist. Gives me a number.
I call the sports medicine office. It’s a leg injury? she asks…This particular office only does arms. They give me a number.
I call the next office, It’s a calf injury? he asks and this office tells me they only do thighs.
The office only does thighs… Twelve Doctors in the practice and they specialize in thighs.
Of course they provided me with a number. And finally I reach someone who does calves…
Then she asks me if it’s the right calf or the left…
And all I could think was- Are you going to tell me that certain Doctor’s only do the right or the left calf and I need to call another office?
But no- it appears that they just need to fill out an X-ray form and need to indicate which calf will be x-rayed, and from what angles, because in this office of a physical physician, sports medicine, calf specialist you do the X-ray before you see the Doctor to save time.
In the end, my husband did have a tear that required the use of a boot for a few weeks and some physical therapy. But all is well now.
I marvel at the sub and sub sub specialties that abound in a city like mine…and think about how much more specialized we can get. And what the organizational chart look like for something like that?