Thursday, August 14, 2008

They're Daddy's Little Helper also

Man. I can understand how people get addicted to this stuff.

I have been suffering from back pain for a few months this time around. Long-time readers know that I have recurring back problems. It's been pretty bad this time. I saw my doctor a little more than a week before we went on vacation and got a shot. It was supposed to be a sacroiliac joint problem, but neither the shot nor the meds have helped. I attempted to schedule an appointment before I left for Oregon, but couldn't get in. So I made an appointment for shortly after I returned. That appointment was supposed to be on Tuesday.

Back pain is bad enough. Sciatica is just your body's natural sadism.

Tuesday came and I was relieved. So relieved. I mean, I know that I'm not going to get something fixed after one visit to the doctor, but they would give me better drugs (I was completely out and the pain and pressure was building) and we'd at least be one step closer to figuring out exactly what was wrong.

I signed the patient sign-in sheet. I sat down. I started reading the obligatory magazine. I got called to the front desk. I got told that the doctor would not see me today.

What? Excuse me?

The doctor, not my doctor, but the other clinic doctor, doesn't like to see her partner's patients. Also, she only sees one back patient a day and had already seen her back patient.

What? Excuse me?

So, you mean the appointment I made, the appointment where I asked if it would be OK to see the other doctor and was told, "Yes, that's fine," is invalid?

Yes, I'm sorry. I'll talk to your doctor's nurse and see what we can do.

OMFG I was pissed. In pain and pissed. Seriously. I was about to cry from frustration. The sharp jabs that shot down my leg were now shooting into my mind as well. If something didn't happen I was going to kill that receptionist. I had to get out of there.

But it got worse. After talking to the nurse, the receptionist came back and told me that after looking at my chart, they didn't think there was anything more they could do. They'd already done the most they could do and would have to refer me to a back specialist. I'm thinking, "WTF? I've only been here one time." I'm getting more pissed. I tell the receptionist that I'm in intense pain, out of drugs and could the nurse at least call in a refill for me? She does, at least, do that.

I get home. It takes an hour for me to drive to and from this clinic. I went there because a coworker I trust implicitly recommended it. I begin to question her judgment.

As soon as I get home I log on to my insurance’s Web site and begin to look up other orthopedic doctors that are considered primary providers. The specialist they would send me to is not on the list.

I really don’t like the last orthopedic doctor I saw. He spent little time speaking with me about anything. I saw him several times and I had seen this second ortho once. In that one time she spoke with me and listened to me much longer than my previous doctor had in all our visits combined. That’s why it pissed me off so much that I was considering leaving. That the receptionist and, it seemed, the nurse, had fucked things up so bad. The medical care was fantastic.

I swallowed a bitter pill and made an appointment with the old doctor’s office.

A few hours later I got a call from my doctor’s nurse. She says, “Mr. J, we’re really sorry and don’t know what happened. Dr. L would love to see you and she says she’s really sorry she didn’t get to see you today. Could you come in at 11:15 tomorrow?”

Although I was still very pissed about the day’s incidents, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, I would be there. I hated my old clinic so much.

Yesterday proved to be a very different experience than Tuesday. I got in on time. My wait in the examination room was lengthy, but I was there. Dr. L came in an apologized profusely. She even refunded my co-pay. She said, “I don’t know why they wouldn’t see you yesterday. It makes no sense. Of course (Dr. P) would have seen you.” I guess I probably got a receptionist fired, or bitched out at least.

Dr. L scheduled me for an MRI so we can see what’s going on in my back and gave me better drugs. Lyrica seems pretty cool. It helps with the sciatica. Percocet is always welcome.

You know I wouldn’t have been so upset on Tuesday if I’d had some kind of care. Even if they didn’t see me, but showed some compassion and wanted to help, that would have been something. It’s quite upsetting when the caregivers don’t.

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