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Letter | Looking for doctors is like hunting unicorns

Published on September 4, 2018 4:55PM

This week has been nothing short of exhausting! On Wednesday morning I woke up with sharp pains in my ankle. No injury, no reason. I opened my fridge and my ankle buckled completely. I clung desperately to the handle of the swinging door for dear life. When my grip gave out I fell backward on my tailbone and my head, hard! I laid there screaming for help and Jay came running. I could not move. He told me to just lay there for a minute or two.

The pain in my ankle, rear and head was skyrocketing. When Jay got me to an easy chair there were three big knots on my head. I called my PA at Pendleton Family Medicine. They could not see me until the 21st and told me to go to the emergency room.

Jay took me to ER, where I received excellent care from nurses and a doctor who never heard of me. By this time the three knots on my head had merged into one huge knot! They x-rayed my pelvis to see if anything was cracked, said they didn’t think I had a concussion and released me a while later.

I went home to my chair and sat the rest of Wednesday and all day on Thursday. I did not move. By Friday I was going stir crazy. I thought, “I can’t sit like this for days,” but my ankle would not bear any weight. At 9 a.m. I began calling to see who could see me.

I even resorted to calling one new doctor. The receptionist said, “I will have her call you.” Never called. I gave up went to the St. Anthony walk-in clinic. I was seen immediately — again by nice people who never heard of me.

So what is my point? Fifteen years ago in Pendleton, trying to find a doctor was not like hunting unicorns. I had a doctor. He was easy to find. He retired. He was a fully credentialed doctor, not a PA. That is not to say that PAs don’t have to go to college too. But there are too many PAs and not enough doctors in Pendleton.

Am I going to be forced to go 35 miles to Walla Walla just to find one doctor who will see me when I need one? Pathetic!

Sharolyn Gemmell



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