It Has Been a Really Crazy Day
We had a joint doctor appointment out of town this afternoon at one. I was busy making a tsu post and unloading my camera at the Templeton house where we stopped so I could print out a coupon for a free lunch. My husband was downstairs doing paperwork. We were supposed to leave at 11:15, but he wasn't ready and we didn't leave until 11:29.
Before we were halfway there we heard a siren behind us as everyone was already trying to merge into the one open lane. It is scary to have an ambulance behind you when there is no place to move over. People had to cross the lane line to let the ambulance pass on the left in the center. And then we all had to try to merge back into the open lane, including the trucks. Traffic didn't flow again until we got past the accident. We had ten minutes to go before our appointment and over 15 minutes in transit left – if nothing else went wrong. We were late, but so was the doctor in getting to us.
Appointments with this doctor are very different from appointments with other doctors. I'm not going to mention her specialty because of what I'm going to say about today. I don't want her identifiable. But I will state that it's not a mental health specialty.
Her office is always busy. She has high turnover in help because she hires medical students as her medical assistants and office clerks. She gets them trained, they graduate, and then they are gone and the next group comes in. The receptionist is always answering phones or talking to the doctor on one.
When you arrive at your appointment, you check in. Then the medical assistant takes you into his office to get your weight, blood pressure, and pulse before reviewing your meds with you again to make sure the list is correct. After he's through with you he takes you to the doctor's office or just tells you to go in.
The doctor's office is just that. She has a desk with a computer on it and there are two chairs facing it for patients. There is no examining table and you feel as though you are in a busy home office because of the décor. It has personality and clutter. My husband's appointment and mine are always one right after the other so we can come and go together.
As you come in the doctor is normally getting off the phone and / or checking her computer for your records. I was first today. This doctor is the one who, although not the primary care physician for either of us, coordinates all our prescription refills, and is aware of the results of all other doctor appointments, surgeries, lab work, everything. She is probably the only doctor who has the whole picture of what's happening with our health.
So today I brought her up to date since my last appointment in May. I told her about my ER visit last week and the fact I'd had some diagnostic work done there, and she immediately sent for the records to be faxed to her right then. Then I told her about the bone density scan I did not know the results of yet and my latest MRI. Both those tests were done at the same lab on the same day. So the doc buzzed the medical assistant and asked him to get my test results from the lab. From there everything went downhill.
When I had first entered the doctor's office, I had noticed she had lost a lot of weight since I last saw here. I don't mean just a bit. I mean a lot. I wonder if that had anything to do with the stress level that she reached. You see, the lab was almost impossible to contact. The medical assistant couldn't get anyone to answer the phone. Then the doctor tried and couldn't get anyone to answer the phone – not even the special line for doctors. So she called the main office and talked to the head honcho there about how she could get someone to answer the phone in the office she was trying to reach. As she continued to reach answering machines instead of humans her stress level kept going up. (I think we've all been there.) She didn't hide it. Meanwhile, there was a knock at the door and a rather scraggly young man came in and picked up what appeared to be a large tote bag and then walked out with it.
By this time I was getting a bit bored. It was about then I noticed the spider in front of me on the edge of the doctor's desk, facing me. The doctor was still on the phone. I had my camera. As the itsy bitsy spider (and it was tiny) started to drop to the floor, I picked it up by the thread to get it back on the desk so I could at least amuse myself by trying to get a micro shot of it. I took several of them. None were very good, but I like the one I posted here best. I think my antics with the spider and my camera were giving the doctor something to watch while she was fuming on hold. (If you can't see the spider, try opening the photo in a new tab to enlarge it. )
My appointment is supposed to be twenty minutes and it took the doctor 45 minutes to reach a human who promised to fax the results and then didn't. She called back and vented a bit. OK. She vented a lot at the office manager of the lab. The fax never came but she finally got someone who attempted to read her the results. That person asked the doctor if she knew her fax number. I heard the doc say. “Yes. I know my own fax number. If I don't know my own fax number I shouldn't even be in business.” I won't repeat most of the side of the conversation I heard, but you wouldn't want small children to hear it.
By the time she got my results and told them to me, it was time for my husband to join the party. Except this time, there was no party. Usually we sit down and just chat about our health in general and anything specific we are concerned about. We are used to the medical assistants going in and out and the doctor talking to them on the intercom about this and that while we are there. You rarely feel that the doctor is giving you her undivided attention because of the phone and the computer, but she really is listening. Of course she's looking at your records on the computer. You just feel more like you're sitting in the middle of a newsroom instead of in a doctor's office.
It was the longest and shortest appointment we've ever had there. We were there an hour and fifteen minutes, but we hardly said a word. Because of the problem communicating with the lab, the doctor had four other patients backed up for their appointments who were after us. This has never happened before in the years we have been seeing her.
We're used to the newsroom atmosphere during our appointments, but I've never seen the doctor herself so frustrated. She's human. Just like me. And I confess when I'm in that same situation, I utter a few choice words while I'm on hold again myself, waiting to find a real person to talk to.
After our appointment, we went out for lunch and then did some shopping before going back to Templeton so Hubby could pick up his car to come back here. I stayed a bit longer to get some photos off the computer and pack some reference books to come over here. I'm hoping tomorrow is calmer and I can empty my car of the rest of the groceries and the other items I brought home. I was just too tired tonight.
Have you had any unusual experiences this week?
Image Credit » I took the photo