Published on September 29, 2020

Virtual doctor visit zooms in by phone

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

Love it or hate it, the electronic age is upon us. I have a radio in one of my vehicles that requires the expertise of my eldest grandson to program. I have also recently been introduced to the Medicare Wellness Visit.

My Wellness Visit was to be a virtual conference with a healthcare provider on Zoom. Zoom is a program that is used for teleconferences, meetings, and in my case, a Medicare Wellness Visit. I downloaded the free program Sunday in preparation for the Monday morning Wellness Visit.

I came to the part of the instructions that said check to be certain that microphone and camera are working. I called my daughter for advice, and she suggested I log into the Wellness Visit and look there.

I logged into the Wellness Visit site, which placed me into the “waiting room” and promptly told me to log in on Monday morning. This was amazingly becoming more like an office visit.

I took the initiative and logged into my browser and searched for Zoom. One of the choices was for a test of microphone and camera. You could speak, and it would temporarily record the message and then play it back.
The camera could be set so you could see and adjust the image. There was no setting to improve the image, so I was stuck looking at an old man who was staring back at me. Oh well, I guess even the virtual world has its limitations.

That done, I played a game of solitaire and then shut the computer down, all ready for Monday’s office visit.

Monday morning arrived, and I got up, did my morning rituals and went to the kitchen, fixed myself a cup of coffee, and the phone rang. I did not answer. I didn’t want to be on the phone when the “visit” began. I sat in front of the computer, and it was then 20 minutes until the office visit began.

The phone rang again, but that time I answered. It was the nurse who proceeded to tell me that there was something wrong with her computer, and the visit would have to take place over the phone.

I shut my computer down, moved it out of the way and gathered all the materials we needed for the visit - Medicare card, insurance card, list of medications, list of all surgeries, blood pressure machine. I was ready.
We proceeded with my name, address, date of birth, and no, I didn’t know when I got my immunizations. I knew that I got them but not when. I read my list of medications as her computer still was out of commission and read my new improved Medicare number and Medicare Advantage information.

When did I get my last colonoscopy (I’m due next year?) Have I had one of the fecal blood tests performed (ewwwww)? No, I have not. How many days a week do I exercise for 30 or more minutes? (Can I count the steps to the fridge and back to my recliner?) We were getting down to the nitty-gritty part of the visit.

How tall are you; how much do you weigh? It became more personal the longer we went. Is there a family history of diabetes, hypertension or heart disease? I divulged that I have only been admitted to a hospital three times in my life and have had no broken bones. Yes, they did a bone density test a year ago. Then we took my blood pressure, and she recorded the numbers that I gave her.

The interrogation finally came to an end, and I definitely needed another cup of coffee, perhaps with some Kahlua in it.

I was released and was free to go about my business. So, until we meet again, farewell.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)