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On Economics (as I know it)

March 1, 2006

I took one economics class in college, and really only remember one idea from that semester: opportunity cost. Which I still can’t define, but feel like I understand intuitively. Which is to say, I rarely use the term (especially when I’m around my smart friends with economics degrees) and even then, I throw it into the middle of a sentence and mumble it out, rushing right on past to find more stable ground.

I use it here in a similar way, on my way to a rant about Doctors. I love doctors, in and of themselves. I have a few friends who are doctors, and find them to be great company with clean hands and not too many harrowing stories or preachy bits of medical advice (though they’re not averse to giving the high-eybrows when I say something questionable). I have also become friendly with a few doctors who have provided care to me and my family. So I’ve got nothing against doctors.

But now that I’m going to at least one medical appointment per week (none last week, and so two this week), I’d like to speak with someone about the opportunity cost of my time at said appointments. Not that I’d work every single second otherwise (I’m not at the doctor right now, and I’m just writing on my dumb blog), but still. Between the showering and dressing and driving and parking and checking in and waiting and moving and waiting and talking and measuring and listening and checking out and driving and changing and all of that, I’m suffering a small loss in the potentially productive hours in each week. I’ve got the time, and the willingness, but I can’t get any work done like this!

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4 Responses to “On Economics (as I know it)”

  1. kate says:

    It’s hassle enough with a ‘low-risk’ pregnancy. I’m amazed that you guys aren’t forced to literally live at the doc’s, as it is.

  2. Liz says:

    I’m surprised Stacy didn’t fill you in on this sad and frustrating fact of medical care… the only person who’s time matters is the doctor’s. Everyone else can rot to death reading year old magazines that the god er, I mean doctor graciously left for you to read.

  3. sonja says:

    And you’re lucky enough to be going through this with regular medicine. Talk to me sometime about the “opportunity cost” of military medicine. And I’ll tell you about the days of our lives that we lost at Walter Reed when Ross had his back problems. The thing is that the doctors are frustrated by this system too. They are forced into it because of all the records they must keep to protect themselves and because of the insurance industry. It’s all nuts I tell ya.

  4. Jenn says:

    I worked as a receptionist for an OB/GYN for about a year, before moving to the back office(thank you, God!). I had to placate all the angry women when the doctor was running an hour behind schedule. We tried over and over again to get our doctors to change the way we booked appointments, to change the way they documented, to change anything that would keep our patients from waiting so long. They were excellent doctors, and I loved them all dearly (and trusted them to deliver my children), but they were lousy time managers. Our patients were always so-o-o-o nice to the doctors, no matter how long they’d waited. I often wondered if the doctors would change things if the patients expressed their frustration to the doctors.

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