Sunday, October 04, 2009
A HIPAA Free Zone
If you put four Southerners in a small room within twenty minutes you will have a an ice cream social without the fat. I'm sitting in my Doctor's waiting room with four other strangers reading the book I brought and waiting "for the call". I'm looking at the heavy older gentleman sitting across from me and giving him my ten second medical assessment. I notice the thin skin, the spidery veins on his cheeks and his overall "Mr. Clean" appearance. I automatically put him in the "sick" category and suspect he's taking steroids for something. Across from me there is a young lady about thirty five with that Northern N.J. transplant look. Next to me is a slender, no-nonsense looking thirty year old "power-chick".
I'm sitting there about two minutes and I can feel it coming. My guess is the old guy is going to kick it off, and he does. He is suffering from prostate cancer that has spread to his bones. The Jersey girl had lung cancer; and she never smoked a cigarette. The power-chick is a few years out from stage three ovarian cancer. I'm at a loss here because I'm sitting there with just a little hypertension ( I have to come by every three months for a follow-up in which my doctor checks my blood pressure and then talks to me for twenty minutes about my dog). Obviously I didn't need to bring a book. During the hour wait I probably talk more than I do in a week. I now know all about these people and the hour has passed quickly. Perhaps it was the lousy magazines or the lack of a flat screen, but somehow the boring waiting room has become a point of social interaction. The "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act" (HIPAA) doesn't apply to a doctor's waiting room. It's not hard to understand. It's a Southern thing.