Break-ups and Hoops and Gas and The President!

As you know, my orthopedic doctor appointment was scheduled for 9:00 this morning.

(Fourteen people just clicked away. That first sentence isn’t very compelling, is it? Here. Let’s move faster.)

I shaved my legs this morning.

I dropped the kids off at school and hauled it to my appointment so I wouldn’t be late.

I signed in at 8:55, and then sat down.

At 9:15 I was still sitting. (Three other people were in the waiting room.)

At 9:25 I was still sitting, and starting to feel squirmy.

At 9:30 I went up to the reception desk to ask how late the doctor was running.

Receptionist: There’s one more person in front of you.

Me: Well then, I think I’m just going to go.

Receptionist: Just a second.

(She walked away for a few seconds, and then came back.)

Receptionist: All of his rooms are full.

Me: The thing is, my appointment was scheduled for 30 minutes ago, and history has shown that he’ll spend no more than 5 minutes with me. I don’t want to wait in a SMALLER room for MORE time just to earn 5 minutes of HIS time. I’m going to go.

(I said all of that very nicely, because as soon as I get nervous and stop saying things nicely, my voice gets all shaky and it sounds like I’m going to cry. Every time I spoke during the PTO meetings, it sounded like I was going to cry about the checks I wrote and the balance of our savings account. Such a hoot. But not really. Sometime I’ll tell you about the time I called the cable company and my voice started shaking and then I actually STARTED crying because I couldn’t watch The Food Network or something. My head is filled with monkeys.)

Receptionist: Just a second.

(She walked away.)

Me (to myself): Quietly muttering something under my breath about how he doesn’t inspire my confidence! Nervous shaky voice that sounds like crying, and this doctor has made it clear that he doesn’t care about my ankle because I’M NOT A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE! No one can hear me and I’m starting to look a little bit crazy with my darty eyes and handful of tissues (ALLERGY SEASON!), so it’s time to go now.

And I walked out. And I called my mom and got the name of HER orthopedic guy, and I drove home and called him and his office is close to the girls’ school and HE can see me next Tuesday morning as long as I can get my medical records from the first doctor before then.

Me: Um, so, that might be a little awkward. Don’t you guys take care of that?

New Doctor’s Receptionist: Well, we CAN, but the offices tend to drag their feet if we ask for it. It’s more effective if you pick up the records.

Me: Will they charge me for that?

New Doctor’s Receptionist: No.

So, I called the old doctor’s office and explained that “Hiya! I just rode a high horse out of  your office about an hour ago, and now I need a big favor! Medical records! Yee Haw! SorryI’mAnAsshole!”

Medical Records Lady: If you pick them up, there will be a fee.

Me: No! I’m so confused.

Medical Records Lady: If we fax them over to the new office, there is no fee. But you still have to sign a form to release the files. What’s your fax number?

Me: I am a person living in a tiny house with no fax machine.

Medical Records Lady: Then I can either mail the form to you, or you can come to the office and sign it.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be making the drive BACK to the doctor’s office so I can track down the medical records lady and sign the form to allow my records to be faxed to the new office. (If I actually TAKE the records to save them the trouble of faxing them, I will be charged a fee.) After signing the form, I will drive straight to Target and purchase 14 hula hoops, and I will spend the afternoon setting them on fire and jumping through them. Because that’s how it feels.

(And I know everyone is doing their best and that this is no one’s fault.)

((Except for President Obama. It’s totally his fault.))

(((It’s not really his fault.))) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

32 thoughts on “Break-ups and Hoops and Gas and The President!”

  1. You are very courageous! I have a phobia about contacting doctors to get the files delivered. Thus, I don’t go to the doctor.

  2. You’re my hero. I have sat and sat, all the while composing a stern, yet polite, statement (all in my head, mind you) about how my time is worth more than this and I will take my business to an office who values the time of their patients, only to be called in 45 minutes late and somehow ending up apologizing myself. For just being, I suppose.

  3. You go girl! Love this; especially since a lot of doctors have the policy that if a patient is more than 15 minutes late for their appointment the doctor will NOT see them.

  4. I had to break up with the pediatrician several years ago after my child ended up with pneumonia and was on her way to a second bout because a child has to be sick for a full 3 days before they will give an antibiotic (60 hours and coughing hard enough to break a blood vessel doesn’t count and tough luck that the third full day is after their closing time for Thanksgiving vacation). I hated asking for records but it was SO worth it to change to someone who understood that 1.>. My wait time needed to be under two hours (it is now maybe 15 minutes) with a sick child and 2.> who actually treats my child instead of trying to suck two or three office visits out of me so they get more money,

  5. Gah – good for you. I would have sat there (silently, politely) fuming and just complained about it to my husband later. I get the shaky voice thing too – especially when I’m asking others to do something (even if it’s their job!). I just had to psyche myself up for a little while before calling a salon for a haircut appointment… whattheheck, self?!

    Anyways, I hope your new doc can figure out the issue, and get you feeling good!

  6. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! You deserve better than that treatment. And an email to the doctor explaining why you are no longer a paying client might not hurt either.

    See my dad was a doc. I learned you have to be your own advocate. The doc won’t know why you left the practice. And they need to manage their office and let their staff know that over-scheduling doesn’t allow them to spend adequate time with each patient. (or at least that’s what I learned around the kitchen table).

    You already knew this wasn’t the right office for you. Now go put on some Helen Reddy and croon at the top of your lungs!!

  7. Oh yeah, I’m there with you, but I graduated from weeping upon human contact to being very confident and glib, but my eyes watered so that it looked like I was confidently crying whenever I speak to ANYONE… I have eye drops that I dump all over my face and maybe splash a bit in my eyes that help. I changed doctors when my old doctor had me wear a heart holter monitor thing and told me after 24 hours take it off and return it. I did, it didn’t work, I told her it wasn’t working before I left, so she stuck another one on me, which I wore for 24 hours, took off and returned. The nurse proceeds to yell at me for taking it off. In a crowded waiting room I said through clenched teeth: You are yelling at someone that just wore a heart monitor, now march your bony ass into the back room and get my medical records, I’m NEVER coming here again… and she did, and I found a cooler doctor.

  8. I work in a doctor’s office and can’t count the number of times I’ve cringed at how long people have had to wait because the doctor is overbooked or just can’t be bothered to actually see patients. (sometimes running errands or even just reading emails while patients are cooling their heels in an exam room) Also there is some sort of law that allows the office to charge you a fee for records. They will fax or mail them to the new doctor as a professional courtesy. (I would often just make copies of labs or what have you without involving the records nazi because I thought charging the patient for their own medical records was a crock.)

  9. Those records are yours. You have a right to them. They aren’t doing you a favor by giving them to you. Please remember that. I have to remind myself all the time.

    I still wait over an hour to see docs who I waited a month to get an appointment with. It’s all BS.

  10. I feel ya. I recently broke up with a crappy gastroenterologist b/c he didn’t take a big enough biopsy to diagnose what the first doctor told me he thought I had (a GIST tumor). So when I asked why, he started explaining to me the size of a mm vs a cm. I thought “I have a college degree, I’m pretty sure I know how big a mm is, you jacka$$, but gee, thanks for explaining it instead of admitting you just didn’t order it.” Instead I left his office and found a new doc. New doc did the SAME DAMN THING. Got a bigger biopsy and ruled out many more things, but still did not rule out a GIST. So now I have to go in again for a third procedure (and said procedure is horribly un-fun and expensive) and I liked his nurses better so I’ll stay, probably. At least that guy called me, at my home, at 10 o’clock at night, to give me results, instead of never calling me or making me call him, as did hte first doc. SIGH.

  11. I have had some terribly bad dr. office experiences and have shopped around for dr.s quite a bit but I think it is worth it when you find an office with policies to make you comfortable that they actually follow and a dr. that is scheduled in a way that allows for actual doctoring. Of course getting that all to coincide with a good dr. that is knowledgable and with a good bedside manner isn’t easy but when it does it makes your life so much easier. I have a dentist that I will never leave because I never wait more than 5 minutes, they text and email me appointment reminders, and the dentist is very skilled and gentle. My whole extended family now goes to him.

    Also, maybe you should take up swimming as a transition sport to get your leg/ankle strengthened when allowed to exercise it. You know, just some assvice thrown in for good measure :)

  12. The almost-shaky voice reminded me of when I actually HAD a breakdown in my OBGYN office because they told me they couldn’t see me because I didn’t have a PCP referral and I’d already been to my one-month post-partum visit. (My PCP was on HIS paternity leave, so he wasn’t available for the proper referral process for me.) I literally started bawling and going on-and-on about my postpartum depression and how I NEEDED to see the doctor or I would be going to the ER! Needless to say, they took me (and my baby) to a room right away, and the doctor spent 30 minutes with me! (Ok, so it’s only slightly related to the shakyvoice, but still.)

  13. To further emphasize what has already been said:

    1) walk in there with your high horse and politely sign away your files. Wouldn’t hurt them to know that you walked out yesterday and will be seeing another doctor —the files being sent is a tangible reminder to them that they LOST A PATIENT.

    2) they are your pictures, that in one way or another you PAID for to be taken, of YOUR body, so don’t worry about asking them for a favor. They need to do what you say.

    3) You is kind, you is smart, you is important. And you is brave and you is gonna have good ankles again, too. :)

  14. Darn double dippers! They don’t deserve your patronage. The thing I really don’t like about all this, is that after all this time and aggravation, my friend has not been healed yet! I sure hope this other one makes up for it.

  15. Good on you!

    I had to go get copies of medical records one time when changing docs, and all I remember is that the records department was down in the basement in this funny little room behind a fire door. I felt bad for those clerks, I tell you.

    Take a brief, polite letter with you addressed to the doc — heck, just print out this post, essentially — and leave it for him. He probably has no clue that it’s this bad. Can’t guarantee he’ll *care*, but at least you’ll have tried to let him know.

    That said, I had a specialist once who needed to see me at very specific intervals, but because he already had so many established patients had a hard time finding “official” schedule space for me. I was a special and temporary case due to pregnancy, so he squeezed me in between regular appointments, and I was patient with the looooong waiting times, and once I wasn’t pregnant anymore we both moved on. It shouldn’t be that way all the time. But sometimes, say la vee!

    Other times, que sera sera!

  16. must be orthos!! My daughter was born with hip issues and we got sent to the woman who is apparently the only one in the county (EVERY person I’ve talked to about anything bone related has been to her). So I’m a first time mom, with severe post-partum depression and the woman would ROUTINELY leave me sitting in a small room for 2 hours with my 1 month old (2 month, 3 month old… etc – lucky me I had to be back there every 2 weeks). I was a complete basket case with worry and the threat of surgery and a body cast on my baby and making my husband take time off work so I didn’t cry the whole time and that woman still couldn’t get her ass in there anywhere close to our appt time. I admire you! These people NEED to be fired. One time I went to make an appt and realized that she literally double-booked EVERY appt (that = 8 patients an hour for a minimum charge of $225! Cha CHING!) I still have deep-seated anger.

  17. We. Are. Thesameperson. With the shaky voice and crying and whatnot. I do that not only when I’m nervous, but when I’m really angry. If I’m angry AND nervous, HOO BOY this is why I can’t work outside the home anymore.

    But yes, GO YOU! I hope when you go back to sign the form you tell him where he can stick that boot.

  18. Good for you!!! Walk in there with your head held high and don’t let them bother you. It is a shame the way they treat patients. Our time is just as important as theirs and they need to learn to respect that!

  19. I’m just profoundly pleased to know you did what you did. I was one of those ninnies who let doctors leave me sitting (often in an examination room in one of those little paper nothings they want you to wear) for extended periods of time. I never had the nerve to do what you’ve done, Brave Soul. Now that I’m an old woman, I have learned how to deal with it and not allow such treatment, but that you’ve come to such Bravery so young makes me hopeful for the future.

    Did you know you were going to be an Internet Hero for your courage? Well, enjoy the glory. Your daughters will someday know that this was a very important day.

  20. Good for you! I know that doctors are ohsobusy but that doesn’t mean that they can treat all their patients like crap.

  21. I’m refusing to tell people that we’re moving. I’m kind of just going to wait until the husband comes home and have him pull the kids out of school and we’ll just tell people…I don’t really know when. I guess when we get that awkward phone call of “Hey, we stopped by your house except it’s not yours anymore…?”

    Also I refuse to meet anyone’s eyes when I walk in to church or the preschool or the doctors office or wherever there are people who know about our current situation because they’ll be all “Soooo…how’s it going with the adoption?” and then I burst in to tears and it’s awkward for everyone.

    BUT – you are my hero for walking out of the doctors office. Your time is worth more than that and it’s awesome that you walked. Go you!

  22. After that earlier appointment where you had to overhear him being a jackass in the hallway, I can only imagine the pinnacle of frustration sitting there waiting, knowing you’re not feeling any better.

    Rock on! And you did it with dignity. You were perfectly nice. That’s the best kind of approach. I used to work in medical records and we always charged a standard fee for records. But if someone asked why they had to pay for something that was theirs, we’d waive the fee. They charge because they can. Can’t hurt if you press them a little by just asking why no fee for them sending, but a fee for you taking them.

  23. You don’t want me to launch into a political rant about the UK government’s present healthcare plans do you? Thought not.

    I have nothing else however. Er.

  24. Our medical system is so frustrating isn’t it? I’m a pediatrician and it is frustrating for me too. Let me first say that you should absolutely find a doctor and practice that make you happy, and you shouldn’t feel nervous or upset about letting the other practice and doctor know why you left.

    I also feel like I need to defend doctors a little bit. We’re not all total assholes who are checking Facebook instead of seeing patients who are waiting. I personally get very anxious when I’m running late and I know people are waiting to see me, but it happens almost every day.

    I wish that we could give each patient a 30 minute time slot on the schedule, but then we would have to tell parents, “Sorry, our schedule is full today, and you’ll have to bring your sick kid in tomorrow or the next day.” My practice can almost always give people a same-day appointment.

    The other thing that happens is people show up late and that can throw off the schedule. My patient population often takes the bus and its really hard for them to be on time. I don’t think its fair to turn them away. Or sometimes, I see a kid who has been brought in for a rash, but s/he hasn’t been seen for 2 years and is behind on immunizations and is obese or has other chronic health problems that aren’t being managed, and I don’t feel that I can send this family away and trust that they will make a follow up appointment.

    Or sometimes, I see a child for a cold, but I find suspicious bruises on her body, and after spending a long time discussing why I need to call Child Protective Services, and getting social work involved, and making sure the kid has a safe place to go, I need 2 minutes in the bathroom to get myself back together before I see the next child.

    I know it sucks to be the patient who is waiting for 2 hours in the waiting room…it happens to me too. But often, the doctor is really just trying to provide good care under difficult circumstances.

    OH! And I DO apologize to every single family who waits beyond their appointment time. I do value everyone’s time and I try to let people know that. But its clearly a big problem for all of us.

    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to defend the doctor in your situation. Like I said, you deserve to feel satisfied with your care! I hope you find someone great!

  25. PS I’m not working right now, so I’m not checking blogs instead of seeing patients! ;)

  26. I absolutely agree with Kelly the pediatrician, you should feel like you are comfortable with your care. I have great doctors both for my kids and for my ‘girl apts’ I love them, and sometimes when I’m waiting for them with kids bouncing off the walls I think about how crappy it would be to be here if I didn’t believe that 1) they are giving me the best care they can and will refer me elsewhere if need be and 2)they are doing the same for the patients they are with now. This is not to say I haven’t been to some crapola doctors, but I find that the waiting room experiences changes for me when I feel good about the doctors themselves. And I do.

    Also I hear the allergy season is actually Obama’s fault. So there you go.

  27. My doctor always runs late but I never mind because it means that she actually spends time with me. And if I want that time, I have to let other people have it too.

    Of course, it helps that I’m generally not there very often or with a sick kid. And she’s extremely nice and always apologizes as well. I hope you find a good new doc soon!

  28. Go, YOU!!

    I once waited two hours to see a doctor about some dizziness about a week after I had seen her for some abdominal pain that had landed me in the ER. When I was finally graced with her presence, she was in a great hurry because I was the last patient of the day and she was running late to a meeting at the hospital across town. I explained how I felt and she called me stupid for having driven that day. (How was I supposed to have gotten there, teleportation?? Public transit isn’t an option out in the boonies!) When I said I still had that abdominal pain too, she literally GAVE ME THE HAND, and said, “This is a sick visit about dizzines, Hun. You’ll have to come back another time to talk about your tummy. Trust me, it’s unrelated.”

    Did I mention that neither she nor the hospital had yet diagnosed the cause of the abdominal pain? So she was basing her opinion that they were unrelated on WHAT, exactly?

    I wish I’d had the chutzpah to have spoken my mind before leaving that day. But I was young, and still in my shrinking violet phase. And I get the shaky-cry-voice thing when I’m angry or nervous, too. Instead, I just quietly found a new doctor and never saw her again.

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