Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here I am

Last Friday I had a doctor's appointment. A good friend of mine spoke very highly of this doctor, so I found the doctor on the internet, called, gave out a whole lot of information over the phone, and made an appointment. I have not heard much good about Kelsey-Seybold clinics (basically just big and impersonal), but I trust this friend and have put off going to the doctor for too long.

So Robert and I trooped all 5 kids out to a big, shiny (read: overpriced everything) office I normally would never set foot in, only to discover 10 minutes later that my appointment had been cancelled.

I said, "I didn't cancel it. Who cancelled it?" The receptionist looked at me funny, then after glancing at her computer again said, "Oh, the doctor did; she's on emergency leave." I asked something to the effect of why didn't someone call me and she rattled off a whole slew of numbers that sounded like my phone number, and I nodded without thinking, then Robert came up behind me and said "no that's the wrong area code."

Houston has at least 2 area codes, so you have to be clear when giving your phone number out, and I always am. I remember telling the guy on the phone my entire number, but when the receptionist repeated it, it sounded like he had assumed I had the opposite area code and put that in, automatically adding the first 7 numbers I said onto the end! At this point I'm thinking, "What a dork!", but I'm cool. Then the receptionist proceeds to tell me that they rescheduled it for me for a Tuesday, and I'm thinking, "YOU rescheduled MY appointment, without asking me when was good for me?" But I digress.

And we reschedule for next Friday. You see, Friday is Robert's day off, so he can come to help me corral the kids and to be my emotional support and to remind me of any questions or details I forget to talk to the doctor about. We confirmed my phone number, and left disappointed b/c I was looking forward to seeing the doctor.

Fast forward to today, finally. I was worried when I didn't receive a reminder call yesterday, so I called this morning to confirm. They told me that they did call, but there was no answer, so I didn't get a reminder. Apparently it's not an actual PERSON who calls you, it's a "service" (read: machine) that only reminds you if you answer. Well, I don't answer my phone if I don't know who it is, and my so-called caller id only gives me a number, not a name unless I have put it in my phone book. GREAT. I gritted my teeth and confirmed my appointment, for the right time, with the right doctor.

We showed up early, the receptionist confirmed my information and the doctor, took my insurance info, then told us to wait. We waited. Watching the stupid tvs on 3 different channels all with the sound turned too low to hear, though there were less than a dozen people in the cavernous waiting room, not to mention (oops, mentioned) they all had signs that said "no channel requests" on them. So we didn't make a request, but changed the channel ourselves (who really watches cnn?). We waited for about 15-20 minutes (standard, right?), but my girlfriend had noted that this doctor is one who will spend time with you regardless of other appointments if needed, so I was patient, b/c I knew it meant I would have a doctor who would give me all the time I need. And I need time.

They called my name, we gathered the impatient children, we went up to the nurse-type lady and she acted confused. She said she didn't call my name, and was talking with another person. I stood there, children circling like little vultures (had I fed them lunch? no... duhn duhn duhn), she finally talked to me and asked me about my appointment. I said I have an appointment with so and so at 2:45. She looked at me funny (this is never a good sign) and said, "No you have an appointment with a different so and so, your so and so isn't in today, and she is still out on emergency leave." I pointed out that I didn't come to see different so and so, I made an appointment with original so and so! Original so and so is the person my friend recommended, not her practice, her. She looked at me funny. "You don't want to see different so and so?"

You ALL should be very proud of me. I said nothing for probably 3 full seconds. I wanted to strangle someone, or at the very least yell at one of the 3 separate people who NAMED the doctor when confirming my appointment. I said very calmly to the lady, "I really wish the receptionist would have said something when I told her the doctor's name or the person I confirmed with on the phone today." She looked a little like I did shout at her. I was looking anywhere but her face, b/c I knew if I looked at her I would cry or scream. She disappeared for a full five minutes to go talk to someone in the mysterious back room. When she came back "they" had once again rescheduled MY appointment without asking me when was good for me! Guess when?

Yep, a Tuesday.

I calmly pointed out to her that I can only come on Friday. I should have sounded it out like dealing with a lip reader, but I contained myself. She pointed out that she might have Friday open, but original so and so wouldn't be back until Monday, so would I like the Tuesday appointment? I gave her TMI about my personal life, husband, and children. She disappeared again. What is in this room? It must be the supercomputers that can make reminder calls but only if you answer the phone, or is it the robots who can reschedule appointments only according to what's good for the doctor? I gave her until Robert got back from changing 2 separate kids' diapers. A different lady came back with 10 seconds to spare, handing me a new appointment card and explaining to me the date and time like I was four years old. I avoided her eyes (again with the possible crying and screaming) and walked out, calling everyone else to straggle along behind me.

Robert made some comment about how we should complain as we got off of the elevator, but I knew that would only make me more upset, b/c he had already spent half of his usual day off at work, then we wasted over half an hour of what was left of our day at a nonexistent doctor's appointment.

I'm not mad at the doctor. I assume someone actually died or is really sick in her family to take over a week off so suddenly. I'm not even mad at the idiot who "took" my phone number. I even understand that doctors routinely fill in for other doctors when they can't make appointments. But the receptionists should at least tell the patient that they will be seeing a different doctor. This is why I avoid large practices, with large waiting rooms, and mysterious back rooms.

Maybe they are the real reason for my needing to see this doctor... discuss amongst yourselves.


qdeven said...

congradulation on your calm demenor, and your lack of yelling at said appointment breakers/ remakers. Your a better person than I.

Texas Tingey said...

Oh man! I would have been mad...but my family would have heard about it (something I am trying to control and change about myself). time, right?? Next time it will all work out!

James, Cameo, Jacob, Elijah said...

Oh my goodness!! I would be going INSANE!! It's so frustrating as well that there really is nothing you can do about the whole situation except suck it up and reschedule - ahh!! Good job handling such a tough situation so calmly - I'm sure I would have been crying long before.