Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Doctors, Dentists & Cosmetologists

Last week I finished up my most recent contract (yay!) and I took the opportunity of the past three days before I go away to "fix" myself. Being new to the city, I obviously don't have a troupe of healthcare and service professionals that I normally go to, so as you would expect, I have had a mixed bag of good and bad experiences. As you will discover...

A couple of weeks ago I had a deep tissue massage. Instead of improving my situation, it has caused me a great deal of back pain since, so I decided to get some physiotherapy. I found a "physical therapist" as they are called here, listed within my health network and called to make an appointment. The sports clinic was a few streets away from me and I was pleased to see that they didn't keep me waiting too long. I was ushered into an office lined with diplomas relating to being a doctor, and the lady talking to me introduced herself as Dr. Babie (pronounced Bobby). I was a bit confused as to why I was seeing a doctor of sports medicine instead of a physio, but it seemed that I required a referral in order to see a physio. So she did a few tests, and then determined that I should meet with both a chiropractor and a physical therapist. I don't even know of any clinic in Australia that would even think of having a physio and a chiro cohabiting the same space! But in the US, they seem to cohabit quite nicely and cooperatively as well. So, that same day, I was able to see both (which, again you wouldn't really experience in Oz without at leats a few weeks notice). I do have a feeling, though, that physical therapists in the US are not quite exactly of the same caliber as Physios, and perhaps that is why they coexist nicely with chiropractors.

This morning I went to see a Dentist. I had received a flyer in the mail for a chain of Dental Offices giving new patients a free appointment with the hygenist. However, there was one catch: I need to have a complete assessment of xrays etc to determine if I need other treatments. We all know how this goes, and Americans are exceptional at doing this kind of marketing. But I figured I didn't need to proceed with any program they suggested and could just get my teeth cleaned. So, I called to make an appointment last week as I wanted my teeth cleaned before I left on holidays. I was told that I could not have the appointment with the hygenist until I had had the assessment. Here we go...
Anyway, I figured I could have the xrays and then arrange the appointment for when I returned from my holiday. So I go and I have a much different experience than my doctor/chiro experience wait-wise and service wise. They get my name wrong, they leave me waiting for periods of time at different junctures; I am not happy. They took more xrays of my teeth than I have ever had before. Eventually I get to see the dentist, who sensing my annoyance, asks what is wrong. I explained that I was frustrated going through this whole process when all I really want is my teeth cleaned. He proceeded to inform me that he is an ultra experienced dentist and was definitely more experienced than any dentist I went to in Australia. A big call indeed, in my opinion, as he doesn't know my dentist! Perhaps he is of the opinion that Australia is just some backwater as far as dentistry goes, not unlikely given the ethnocentric attitude of many Americans. After all, the world series of baseball is comprised entirely of American teams. So I challenged that comment and he proceeded to reel off his list of admittedly impressive credentials. So I gave him that, but really, I still feel that I don't need the dental equivalent of a brain surgeon working on my teeth. And the result? My teeth are as good as any patient's could be and he doesn't suggest any further treatment, releasing me to book my appointment with the hygenist. So I then go to make an appointment, and as the hygenist only works on Tuesdays, I can't make an appointment until next year!!! Not good.

Yesterday, I had my hair cut & coloured. My new hairdresser is named Hector, a very camp Venezualan guy with the accent to boot. He is the ultra-stereotype. Unfortunately, his English not being quite as good as it could be means that we have a little misunderstanding between bangs and long layers and I ended up being not so satisfied with my haircut. I'm hoping to grow into it, pun intended.

There are a number of other professionals that I require in my troupe, but I am still in the process of trialling manicurists (yes - I actually get my nails done now!), waxers (they don't know how to wax here like they do in Australia, and I have sworn off Indian waxers from now on) and GPs (although here they seem to be called Internists).

Anyway, the point of my little tirade is, although I am having loads of fun here in New York, I still really miss my troupe from back home - my hairdresser especially!

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