My visit to the medical clinic
My recent trip to Centra Medical Group to address some non-COVID-19 symptoms I’ve been experiencing lately ended up being a fascinating experience.
First of all, I’d like to make clear I have nothing but positive things to say about the medical staff I interacted with. From check-in to the actual clinic visit, everyone was great and as helpful as they could be.
What was fascinating were the changes made to the clinic’s process as a result of the pandemic.
The changes started as I approached the front entrance on foot. They had some medical personnel stationed at a table outside for an initial check-in. They listened as I spoke about my symptoms through my mask I brought, and then they made a determination on how we should proceed.
They took down my phone number, handed me a paper giving some insights into how their procedures have changed and asked me to wait in my car. They said someone would call me shortly to get my information.
I waited in the car for only a few minutes when my phone rang. I had been to the clinic before, so the conversation about my information was brief. I was then instructed to drive around to the back of the medical center, taking a right onto Sanford Street and then a quick right onto the road behind the building. I was told someone would meet me there.
So I drove around and parked at a cone marked for parking. Within a minute or so, a staffer waved me over to two tents they had set up. I was directed to go into the first one, and I was surprised at how sparse its contents were given how large it looked from the outside — there was just a chair sitting in the middle that I was directed to sit on.
I was treated by two medical staffers, both equipped with personal protective equipment, naturally. The first staffer took my blood pressure and got the basic details of my condition. The second came in to ask further questions, give me a checkup and offer insights.
The appointment mostly proceeded with the staffer standing a few feet away, conversing with me. They made physical contact briefly for checkup items, like monitoring breathing and pressing on my shin to help illustrate some minor swelling in my leg.
I remember the staffer gesturing to the tent around us, noting their procedures had definitely changed and that they did not have a lot of resources outside in the tents to run extensive tests. Something I had said with regard to my symptoms at the check-in stage led to me coming to the exterior tent rather than an interior examination room for an appointment that might be able to involve more testing procedures.
I had some symptoms that concerned me enough to go to the clinic, but I learned I wasn’t really in immediate dire straits, so I’m guessing that is why this happened. I also had an appointment scheduled with my primary care physician the next week, so the staffer was inclined to defer to that doctor given the symptoms they heard me share.
Nevertheless, the staffer recommended that if I developed certain pain symptoms the next day, I should go to the emergency room at the hospital, and they would treat it. I also learned there were, indeed, certain symptoms that when mentioned at check-in would designate the appointment as happening in the tent behind the building and certain symptoms that would merit an inside appointment allowing for more testing.
All in all, it was clear the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the normal protocols of medical personnel at the clinic. But it was also clear the staffers were adapting to the changes as best they can to continue to provide care to as many people as they can in the community.
Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@TheCharlotteGazette.com.