I feel trapped

Literally, right now, I’m trapped.

This morning I’m captive in my home waiting for the cable technician to arrive. I just moved to Denver to be closer to the CirrusMD offices, and while I attend to matters as important as shower curtains and updating my mailing address, I also need to figure out where I can take my daughter to see a pediatrician. While bound up in this all-too-familiar, somewhat nerve-wracking day long task of setting up my home, I must remain immediately interruptible with nothing else on the books, as I wait for the cable company to show up in their agonizing nine-hour service window. So I have some time on my hands.

One of the things I did today was to download and register on my health plan’s shiny new app. This app lauds an encyclopedic tabular bank of data pointing me to all manner of services, phone numbers, hours of operation and…the help desk.

It’s all the usual stuff you’d find on the website, just in an app. No damage done there. In a new city, and without guidance, I was able to figure out where I COULD go if I needed to see a doctor, but I don’t feel very reassured about where I SHOULD go. There isn’t really anyone on that app who can help me with an actual health concern. If I tried, I could probably get help setting an appointment or finding an urgent care facility in-network, but no resolution or even meaningful engagement with a provider who could help me while I’m trapped in my home, waiting for my phone to ring lest the cable company cancel my appointment, again.

So, what if in hour five of my dreadful day of waiting for the internet provider to show up, I actually had a medical concern? Not an emergency, mind you, but something with which my family or I needed help? Like the lump that’s been bugging me, but I’ve been too busy to address.

Earlier today one of my colleagues from the office asked me if I could participate in a meeting on video chat. I had to decline because I have to remain available for the cable person. I can’t commit to that meeting just like I wouldn’t be able to commit to a scheduled video visit with a medical provider.

This feeling of being trapped isn’t limited to the week of a move to a new city. I and many of my friends are trapped and thereby not able to engage with a physician through a video visit when we’re: at work or school, running errands with the kids, feeling too sick and self-conscious to be on video.

Modern medicine needs modern communications

Busy people often find it difficult to tend to themselves—like that lump I mentioned; it’s annoying and painful at times, but my work and travel schedule is back-to-back. It isn’t really until times like this, when I’m truly unable to fully engage with the things that keep me busy that I feel like I’ve got a moment to address such concerns. So I tried to get on my system’s app, but couldn’t get anywhere, so I gave up.

Oh well, that lump will probably go away.

I’ll leave you with a crazy notion: what if my health plan’s app allowed me to instantly chat with a doctor the way I can live chat with so many customer support services in the wider industries of banking, and even…cable providers?

Nuts, right?