Sunday, September 03, 2006

Patients/Patience

Did you ever hear the old pun, "I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn't have any patience (patients)?"

I had just about given up on talking to anyone at Dr. B's office without exploding into an angry tirade, so I had Tyler call. Here I mentioned that it had been a week since I'd called right after the announcement came about the FDA approval and hadn't heard back. Just after that entry, I called again, this time asking to speak with someone in scheduling for Dr. Balderston intstead of his NP, (who really is handling all of this very poorly). I spoke to someone who we'll call "K" (no allusion to Kafka or Joseph K intended), who was very nice and understanding when I explained that the not calling patients back business was unacceptable. When I'd called the Thursday before, they said they would call back. Ok, so when someone, especially a doctor's office says that they will call you back, I sort of expected a call back within a few hours or at least by the next day. K explained that the reason no one called is because they were all waiting to meet with Dr. B. and his NP to decide who would be seen and in what order and that both Dr. B. and his NP had been and were still out on vacation and wouldn't even be back until the following Monday.

Well, OK! Why couldn't someone just have called and told me, and the other frantic patients, that? Do any of these "administrators" have any idea what it feels like to need an operation to be able to stand up straight and walk any distance and to be free of pain and then to have the doctor's office who is supposed to do the surgery NOT RETURN A CALL? It feels like you've fallen through the cracks, like maybe you need to start all over with another doctor after all this time, or like you are doomed to just get worse and worse till you are finally riding around in a wheelchair with really strong arms. I told K that she wasn't working for some five-star snooty New York restaurant that could have an attitude and not return calls if they didn't feel like it, this was my doctor. My doctor! To not have a return call from a doctor's office for 7 whole days is unconscionable. It's not like I call all the time and harrass them. K assured me that as soon as they all met and decided who would be getting appointments, they would be calling us all back.

OK.

A whole other week goes by and now I'm out of patience, thinking that I can't stand it, that I would be able to stand it if only someone would call me and tell me that I'd have to stand it another few months, another six months, another year, ok? But just freakin' call me back and tell me! I understand that they were probably swamped with calls, but as I said here, hire a freaking temp nurse! It's not like they weren't anticipating this kind of reaction from their patients. We're desparate, for crying out loud! We're all in pain, and in various states of disability, can anyone blame us for being impatient about when we might have surgery?

The end of this tale does have a sort of happy ending and here it is. When Tyler called on Thursday (a full two weeks after I called the first time: Shame on them!)K immediately said that Dr. B. wanted to see me and launched into a list of available appointments. When he asked what the delay was in calling back, she said that they'd just gotten the list together that morning. Whatever.

Ok, the windup is I go this coming Friday at 8AM. I don't know what he's going to tell me, but at least I'll get some face time and get some questions answered and even if he tells me it is going to be more of a wait, at least I'll be able to have patience.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous NYCinephile said...

Logging in to say that the RSS feed is fine, at least via IE7 RC1 and Newsgator. Looking forward to catching up.

3:45 AM  
Blogger klbrowser said...

Sorry you've had to do the hurry up and wait thing. It would be professional courtesy to at least inform you that there would be a delay while they met with the doc. I can understand not calling back for one day or even two, but more than that is just rude.

While I've not had that exact scenario happen to me, I have more than once had the experience of travelling across town for doc appointment I'd waited months for, only to be told after I'd arrived that I'd have to re-schedule! This has happened with a rheumatologist, a neurologist and a pain management specialist.

Will be checking your blog to see how the appointment went and am hoping you'll get good news.

11:19 PM  

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