Pregnant pauses: Conversations in a doctor’s waiting room

Few things terrify me or make me as self-conscious as walking into my doctor’s waiting room.

No, no, it’s not because of my doctor. Dr. V, who is my GP is an absolute darling and I am half in love with him. He’s punctual. He’s thorough. He listens to what I have to say, does not medicate unless absolutely essential. And whenever I’m not well, he calls me up to check on how I’m doing. And never once, in the 15 years that I have known him, has he given me an injection :-) So if my doctor is such a nice guy, why am I so scared of walking into his waiting room? Read on…

One of the places that Dr. V consults from is a clinic near my house. It is not a particularly well-managed clinic, but since the timings and location are convenient for me this is where I go. Dr. V’s consulting hours at this clinic overlaps with that of Dr. K, a hugely popular consulting gynaecologist and a fertility expert. To give you an estimate of her popularity, let us assume that for every patient of Dr. V, there are 30 for Dr. K ! While the former’s patients are mostly elderly men and women, the latter’s patients are women in various stages of pregnancy.

Source: Microsoft Clipart

Now imagine walking into a room full of pregnant women and their accompanying family member/friend and feeling every eye on you. I don’t know about you, but I feel very self-conscious. I didn’t always feel like this, but my visits to the clinic and interactions I’ve had at the waiting room over the years, has made me so.

These have been interactions based on certain assumptions on the other person’s part. Assumptions made automatically, and perhaps even unconsciously, because I am a woman in the reproductive age range, and who is visiting a clinic where a gynaecologist is consulting. Assumptions played out at the clinic in a tragi-comic way, and navigating which has been quite a task as I have found out, starting with the reception desk.

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Hospitalisation, health insurance and TPA woes: A first-hand experience

A couple of months back, my Appa (father) was unwell enough to require hospitalisation. It was a very stressful period for all us, but the stress factor came not so much from his illness or hospitalisation or treatment or care and recovery, but from an unexpected source—his health insurance’s Third Party Administrator (TPA), who created delays and blocks at every step, making the actual hospital stay seem almost like a vacation in comparison.

Both my parents are covered in the health insurance plan offered by the organisation I work in, and this was the first time I was availing of medical insurance, which is administered by a well-known TPA. The insurance plan I am covered under offers a “cashless” hospitalisation facility in most of the well-known hospitals in Mumbai. A reason to feel relaxed about and not have palpitations. Right? Wrong !

Appa had been having fever, which showed no signs of abating in spite of medication and care at home, as well as his doctor’s supervision. After a week of battling with the fever, his doctor advised hospitalisation for investigations and focussed treatment at a well-known hospital, close to our house. Once this decision was taken, my brothers and I got into action—while they would get him ready for the hospitalisation, I would get the insurance and TPA formalities sorted out.

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