Sunday, May 17, 2009

No Reservations - A Rant

We've all had to reserve things in advance. Whether it's for someone else's event - a birthday party, restaurant dinner or wedding - or one we invite others to in our own home, we still have to go through the motions of selecting a date, a time, and a method of ensuring our presence there once we commit. It's a promise, and no matter who it's to, be it your best friend or a major restaurant franchise, it's expected that it will be kept. And so they should!

Case in point: doctor's appointments. We all know the drill - call, wait "on hold" for 15-20 minutes, finally get through and book a 15 minute slot that's 6 months away, show up 15 minutes early and sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes past your appointment time. Been there, done that. With specialists (and I'm sure most readers can empathize) it's worse. I had waited for a consultation - not even a real appointment - for 8 months (with two of those waiting for the referral to go through and actually book a time, and being bumped up the line after a cancellation!). This doctor is apparently more holy than God when it comes to internal medicine, so it's not really a surprise that trying to get a space in his queue is harder than a table at The French Laundry. So Mom and I made the hour-long drive to this tiny, barren hole of an office and showed up nice and early. As soon as the receptionist saw us, she sighed.
"He's running late. At least an hour. He started late, and there are two procedures before you."
At this point I KNEW we were screwed. Each of those was essentially a surgery, and those run easily 30 minutes apiece. Not to mention that I could see more than two people in the waiting room, meaning at least one of them hadn't been prepped. I asked when the next appointment slot was and got late August. I really didn't care about this appointment (at this point it's essentially lip service to the family, because "they worry", just apparently not about my happiness) so I said okay, but mother dearest cut me off and said no, we'll wait.

People, she made me wait TWO HOURS - and we still had one person ahead of us (unprepped). I laid out the ultimatum that either we re-book and go, or I would hitchhike / cab / bus back home myself and she could wait herself. Finally we got out of there... with a shiny new re-booking in September. One of the other prospective patients left right after us (also with a rebooking) and asked me what time my appointment was. We had the same time slot. No way should a doctor - let alone a specialist - double book themselves! And we wonder why we wait eons!

What really irks me is that as acting "God", doctors can afford to show up late, double book appointments and take their own sweet time - it's expected that you'll be waiting a good long time even with an appointment. As an employee, you show up late, you get the axe. Students skipping class get suspended. Why do we even bother booking appointments anymore? I mean, sure, it's nice to know that you're on their radar, but it's sad that we've come to expect being rudely treated by an institution that we rely on. It's abuse of power - even though we pay for their salaries (either direct or through taxes) - it's a sad fact that we do rely on the few healthcare professionals that are out there, and that they can get away with their behaviour because the talent is stretched thinner than phyllo. Classic supply and demand. Sure, there are some chefs that can get away with showing up late, if they have a crack sous team, but not many! And God forbid you run your service late - there are so many restaurants out there that you'd be out of customers, a job and a reputation.

Sigh. At least I convinced my family to stop forcing me into any more appointments if this one doesn't work out. I'm freaking 21, I shouldn't have to have these childish arguments over going to the doctor any more! I don't want to sound ungrateful, but trying to "get better" is costing me my happiness, sanity, and my ability to heal. I'm taking control of myself and my body for the first time in my life and I'm going to expoxy that control to my wall if I have to!

If you read all the way through this, thank you. I will post a few goodies for you all later tonight!

5 comments :

Steph said...

I totally agree with you!! I was so fed up with my specialist that I stopped seeing her. She wasn't listening to me anyway and just kept sticking to her plan. The worst are the doctors with horrible attitude. Honestly, reading your post made me so angry for you because I know exactly how you feel.

You know what's just as bad, the receptionists that act the same way.

asides said...

Exactly, I went to the doc a few weeks ago, waited one month for the appt. I complained I was having issues, they drew blood, yep, I am having issues. They referred me to a new doc, which I get to see in three months! How does this help?

DaviMack said...

I hope that you can make that desire stick. Truly, I do.

tanita davis said...

Dude: I feel ya. Been there and done that with the doctors, and whoa -- sometimes you've just got to do it for yourself, because it's draining and soul-destroying to keep going and going and going and going and going and they don't really know what's the problem but they're eager to say, "Well, if you'd lose a few pounds," or, in your case, gain a few, and "Well, we'll have a specialist look..." and you've spent 3/4 of your life there, next thing you know. Stop the madness, and do the best you can for yourself.

You give a good rant! I'm impressed!

Mrs. L said...

"I'm freaking 21, I shouldn't have to have these childish arguments over going to the doctor any more"

oh girl, this had me laughing out loud. Get used to it. As long as you are a daughter that will never change. I think once we hit puberty we should be given a manual that no matter how old we get, how many kids we have of our own, our mothers will always see us at about 12 years of age!