By in Health & Fitness

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

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bestwriter wrote on November 19, 2014, 5:24 AM

I thought only people in the Army talked of timings to the minute or second. But I was wrong. There are others too. So you left at 11.29 (lol)
That was a detailed description. A nice shot of the Incy Wincy spider :)

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 5:27 AM

Good thing I'm not afraid of spiders. Don't know what happened to it. It may have dropped into my purse. It dropped somewhere and disappeared.

Madcanman wrote on November 19, 2014, 5:31 AM

Well, Barb, I could launch entire post of a response, but I'll just stick to the one thing this most reminded me of. Around this city we have some of the worst drivers I've ever been forced to deal with (and I'm a Massachusetts native!). Yesterday afternoon was only the latest in this... irksome, all-too-often event. You see, besides not using their turn signals, the driver around here seem to think they're entitled to keep on going wherever they're going at whatever rate of speed they're traveling whenever an emergency vehicle approaches. If shooting idiot drivers was legalized there would be no one left on the roads, so the ambulance drivers would have free reign around here. There'll be more of that in a future post, I feel.

Crin wrote on November 19, 2014, 6:09 AM

Are you sure you have enough time to listen to the bad experiences I had this week so far?

MegL wrote on November 19, 2014, 6:32 AM

No wonder I never visit the doctor. Thank goodness I haven't needed to for some years. That would get me annoyed as a total waste of MY day!

AliCanary wrote on November 19, 2014, 10:18 AM

Oh my goodness, the whole time I read this, I was thinking of the VA! That poor woman, to be concerned about her patients but unable to help them because of the ineptitude of the lab. At least you understood where the problem lies--her other patients may not be so sympathetic.

maxeen wrote on November 19, 2014, 10:43 AM

I am so amazed! I cannot ever imagine taking a snap of something in a Doctors surgery ! Wasn't she annoyed?

Feisty56 wrote on November 19, 2014, 11:46 AM

I can imagine that the tiny spider and you taking photos of it was a stress-reliever, at least for those moments. What a day you had!

Ellis wrote on November 19, 2014, 3:02 PM

You had a joint doctor appointment? ...I didn't know doctors could prescribe

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:45 PM

My husband lived in a suburb of Boston for a few months when he was on a contract job there. I drove across the country with the kids to spend his last two weeks there in his condo with him. We noticed the same things about the drivers there. And we lived in Los Angeles and drove the LA and Orange County freeways for years before we hit the Boston area. He said there's a reason why they have no-fault auto insurance there.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:46 PM

Sure. I'd like to try. Post away.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:47 PM

It wasn't the doctor's fault the lab wouldn't answer the phone. Nothing like this ever happened before in the years we've been seeing her.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:48 PM

Well, at least I could sit in the doctor's office.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:49 PM

The other patients didn't get to watch the show

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:52 PM

Nope. None of the doctors are. And this was not exactly a surgery. There's very little in it that you would see in a doctor's examining room. All the medical stuff is in the medical assistant's office. When I'm in a hospital or emergency room or having a lab test done, I always ask if it's OK if I take a picture I can include in my blog. I've never had one refuse.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:53 PM

Actually, it was kind of fun to watch the spider. Much more fun than killing a black widow in my kitchen after I got home.

BarbRad wrote on November 19, 2014, 8:54 PM

Sure they can. And afterwards they replace them.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 19, 2014, 11:06 PM

Oh, my goodness, you have had a day, haven't you? At least the doctor was committed enough to stick with trying to get your results instead of just putting you off.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 20, 2014, 1:30 AM

It sounds as if your poor doctor had more than reached her limit. Many doctors would just send you away and tell you to come back once the lab results are in. I like that your doctor advocated very aggressively for you! It can't have been pleasant for anyone involved, but I think it was the right thing to do :)

Ruby3881 wrote on November 20, 2014, 1:32 AM

Judging from the description of her stress dealing with an incompetent lab, it sounds like the doctor could have done with a prescription herself!

BarbRad wrote on November 21, 2014, 3:00 AM

I feel really bad having put her through that. But who knew it would be more than routine?

BarbRad wrote on November 21, 2014, 3:01 AM

She is a good doctor, and I appreciate what she does.