20 September 2012

The comfort of pinstripes

I had reason to see a neurologist yesterday.  Nothing overtly serious - just a case of suspected carpal tunnel, which though uncomfortable is hardly life threatening.  However, given my experience with the medical profession over the last few years, I got really nervous about going to see him.

And I turned up to the trendy St Leonard's address, he had a small old fashioned office with an incredibly gregarious and helpful secretary.  Who bless her, was using shorthand.

When I met him he was a courteous, elderly gent dressed impeccably in a pinstriped suit, with a crisp shirt, polished shoes and a big fat signet ring.  Pictures of his grandchildren dotted the walls behind his formulaic 1980s office desk.

And I was instantly at ease.  He had the old school manners and gentle disposition to go with his attire and he was thorough and impersonal in his examination, yet warm and approachable in his conversation.

I asked questions and he answered them patiently, even going so far as to volunteer information about what happens next and what the options would be.

And then his secretary took my payment, arranged appointments with various people and gave me my referrals and sent me on my merry way.

And it struck me on my merry way that its a tragedy that I should be surprised by good customer service from the medical profession.  That I had inherently expected a negative experience.  And yet, when I mentioned it to a friend she suggested that my expectation of a negative medical experience was by no means unique.

And that is a sorry situation.  Because the vast majority of the medical profession do such amazing things and work incredibly hard.  And as happens in far too many areas, the few continue to ruin the reputation of many.

But if anybody asks - I'm definitely advocating a return to the days when doctors and specialists wore pinstripes.  There is something incredibly comforting about them. Who knew?