A Great Opportunity to Be a Direct Primary Care Patient

You have a dry cough, maybe a little fever during the night.  Were those muscle aches?  Your throat feels fine, but now there’s a slight headache.  You could go to work but would be happy to stay in bed. You’re a conscientious employee with a bale of sick days saved up, so you burn one, pour some coffee, and flip on the TV.  You switch to Good Morning FOX/MSNBC/CNN Today at CBS/NBC/ABC, and the TV starts screaming, “CORONAVIRUS, CORONAVIRUS, CORONAVIRUS, COVID-19, AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!”

At this point, you could cash in all your stocks and buy gold, barricade your door, grab the nearest lighter, set your hair on fire, and run around in tight little circles screaming, “CORONAVIRUS!!!”  You’d be in ample, if unimpressive company.

But is it Coronavirus, the flu, or just the seasonal crap the little two-legged virus bombs bring home from school and explode all over the living room?  How do you know?

Short of reliable test kits, you won’t likely know for certain, but you have an ace-in-the-hole to deal with the worst symptom of COVID-19, which is anxiety.  You are the patient of a Direct Primary Care physician.  Others dealing with the uncertainties of various symptoms will clog up doctors’ offices, and flee to urgent care centers and ER’s.  The new online NP’s at CVS Minute Clinics will be masked up and trembling, one cough away from fetal positioning up under their desks until the manager drops the rolling metal shutters and ends the day.  

Do you go to an office where you could infect others, or be infected by them unnecessarily?  No.  As a savvy DPC patient, you call or email your physician.  Fifteen minutes later you are Facetiming, and get the same reassurance, and the same info without any of the additional risk to yourself or others.  When a test is locally available, your physician will be able to give you recommendations regarding its precision, and your need.  When you need to be seen in person, your physician will tell you.

The Great Viral Clench of 2020 is a remarkable opportunity for DPC to demonstrate its superior value to individual patients, AND to their communities.  Used properly, this superior care delivery system can treat patients and their fears far more effectively than heretofore mainstream avenues, with far less contagious risk to all concerned.  

Thirty minutes later, you crack a cold one and settle in to binge watch “Cheers” on Netflix.  And wonder why the hell Boston cancelled it’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade.

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Pat Conrad MD

Pat Conrad is a full-time rural ER doc on the Florida Gulf Coast. After serving as a carrier naval flight officer, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Tallahassee Family Medicine residency program. His commentary has appeared in Medical Economics and at AuthenticMedicine.com . Conrad’s work stresses individual freedom and autonomy as the crucial foundation for medical excellence, is wary of all collective solutions, and recognizes that the vast majority of poisonous snakebites are concurrent with alcohol consumption.