The first time I heard the words "virtual medicine," I was shocked. How the heck can a doctor poke and prod you via the phone or online? Would she use some sort of software that I could download, and it would give me a feel? That sounded creepy. How would she (my doctor is she, but the gender is irrelevant, as long as he or she graduated first in her class) locate an unknown lump or bump on my torso? How would she know my temperature, my blood pressure, my weight (which, of course, I plan to lie about)? If I’m being processed by phone, how would she even know it was me because she wouldn’t recognize my voice. It could have been my Aunt Fern or my wonderful dog Wag. Some doctors require identification, how would I show it on the phone? It makes me wonder if the doctor pats me on the monitor or the keyboard and says, “You are fine, don’t worry.” What’s the possibility of malpractice?
When I was a little girl, the doctor came to our home. Our family physician, Dr. Rawlinson, made many visits to the Decker residence, mostly for my clumsy brothers who were constantly falling from trees or crashing their bikes. After the visit, he and my dad would have a swig of whiskey, but now that we have virtual doctors, I am thinking that means no whiskey or that I’ll be drinking alone.
I haven’t seen a doctor since everything has been virtual, but now, even though I have an appointment, I still won’t see a doctor. I’m being examined by phone, which has all kinds of other issues. Can she dip into my email and read the drivel I send and receive or check out what websites I haunt? Can she snuff out financial records or even worse, my Facebook posts? And when she says, keep up the good work, see you again next year, I doubt she means it, because she hasn’t even seen me this year.
What if she decides I need a colonoscopy or a mammogram…how will that work? I don’t want to think about those sources of joy.
I’m still skeptical, but I will behave myself and report how it goes. It seems everything has changed, except one thing: That’ll be $40, please.