Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quack, Quack

Alas, my 4-day weekend comes to an end. Not that it was OH SO GREAT to start with.

Thursday was my pre-op visit for my impending throat-slashing on May 25. I divulged insurance info, weighed in, had an EKG, gave two vials of blood, and was on my way after 2.5 hours. It would have gone quicker, but I sat unattended for an hour because they said something came up with a dude that needed their attention. Whatever. Better him than me.

Friday was the #1 son's doctor's appointment. I thought it would just be routine, but I was quickly proved incorrect. We arrived at 9:40 for his 10:00 appointment with a specialist, an appointment set up by his primary physician at the time he went for a sports physical. The doctor never called me as he said he would to explain the situation, but apparently had told #1 that it might be nothing, and probably wouldn't limit him, but he needed it checked out.

After filling out three pages of new patient info and paying a $40 co-pay, we sat. And waited. At 10:20, #1 was called in. I let him go alone. He IS 15 now. I was the only person left in the waiting room. There had only been one other patient before us, who was called in at 10:05 for a 9:30 appointment. After #1 went in, I heard the doctor asking his receptionist if he had a break scheduled. She said that his 10:30 wasn't coming, and that would be his break. Then the doctor came striding out through the waiting area and disappeared down the hall. I never saw him come back, but at 10:25 I heard him behind the frosted glass. There must have been a separate entrance.

Around 10:30, a woman came in with a thick 3-ring binder, and went into the inner sanctum. She started talking to the receptionist about procedure and scheduling a meeting next week. Then the doctor was heard again, telling someone that "...this is not professional. No heading. This should not be sent out." RingBinder told him that is was just a rough draft that she was showing Receptionist. Doctor wanted to know what was going on. RingBinder said it was just front-office stuff that didn't concern him. Doctor said that HE was the doctor, and everything in his office concerned him. RingBinder said he was welcome to come to the meeting. Doctor said he could not just ignore patients for a meeting, and that it needed to be in the afternoon.

Then commenced a diatribe worthy of the Duke and the Dauphin, with both sides putting on such airs that it was a wonder the world kept turning without their express, written consent. Doctor said that HE is the one patients come to see, and HE is the one they blame if their appointment is late, and HE is the one responsible for surgeries, and HE is the one the specialists get mad at when they drive 140 miles for surgery and the patients cancel. RingBinder said that one option was what she was telling Receptionist, about having a back-up list of patients, and if three of seven canceled, then call the four on the back-up list. Doctor went ballistic, bemoaning the fact that HE is the doctor, and HE knows what contraindications these patients have, and you can't treat a kidney stone like a vasectomy, because different surgeries have different risks of complications, and they've been lucky up to now, and all that saved the day on Tuesday was that two patients were admitted to ward with kidney stones, so the surgeon at least got three cases for his 140-mile drive.

Whew! Imagine hearing all this while sitting in the waiting room with your son held hostage in the inner sanctum. I was on Doctor's side at this point, because he is relatively new here, his name not even in the 2010 phone book, and I have seen such pompous biddies try to run the office because in their view, they have been there longer than the doctor. Besides, Doctor had a captivating accent, with a West Indies, British lilt to his phrasing and enunciation. RingBinder finally backed down and acquiesced that Doctor would have the final say, that the back-up list was just one idea, and they would work it out. But you could tell that she was seething inside. She gave in to end it, because after 30 minutes, Doctor was not letting it go.

At 11:05, Doctor came striding out with #1 in tow. The boy handed me his note for school, then disappeared. At 11:15, Doctor came back in. No boy. I knew he didn't have the keys to T-Hoe. He finally showed up, and said I needed to go to another office and make an appointment. WTF? The other office was a general surgeon. Why my boy needed a general surgeon, I do not know, because Doctor Specialist never spoke to me. The surgeon's receptionist heard my tale, got a bit angry, and told me that I needed to go back to Doctor Specialist and ask him what was going on, and that in Surgeon's office, I would be told immediately after the exam. She even called down to
Doctor Specialist's office to tell them I was coming back, and he needed to explain.

Receptionist took me right in to an exam room, then told me that Doctor Specialist wanted to meet with me in his office. There I found him with his nose in a book, sitting behind a cluttered desk, the two consulting chairs full to the brim with books and papers. Obviously, he knew how to get rid of malcontents fast. He said he did not know I was #1's mother, nobody had told him, and that after his exam, he was not impressed. That's all he would repeat. He was not impressed. And furthermore, he was not going to be the definitive answer, so he wanted a second opinion.

Au contraire, he WAS the second opinion, and if I wanted to pay another $40 co-pay, I would go to Children's Hospital where they have a semblance of knowing what they're doing. I am not making an appointment with a surgeon, and if #1 has any symptoms of what they are not sure of and not impressed with, I will most definitely take him to the city to a real doctor.

Don't ever get almost sick or hurt in Hillmomba. The doctors are dying to kill you. AFTER they get their cut.


Chickadee said...

Wow. I don't think I've ever heard any kind of argument between a doctor and his staff in all my years of office visitin. And why did he not ask for you in the first place? Did he just get out of school? Where were his manners?

Have you thought of filing a complaint?

Hillbilly Mom said...

Methinks the doctor just didn't think of it, coming from a different culture, where it seems that men are totally dominant over women. He was quite dismissive of me in his office. I wanted to tell him that I was smart enough to be a doctor, not some turnip truck reject. But I didn't.

I'm not a complainer. Heh, heh. Make that not an OFFICIAL complainer. I will dice him up and dish him out on my blog, but that's as far as it goes.

Remember, I'm the one who took a week to write a letter complaining about the doctor who ridiculed me when I woke up during surgery. I had to draw the line at that. The waking up was bad enough, but hearing him tell how he wished he never had to talk to the patients, and saying it didn't matter that I could feel him carving on me because I wouldn't remember it was too big a crap sandwich for me to swallow.

Maybe I should buy a Take Out Your Own Thyroid kit for next week!