I recently was in a doctors office reading the paperwork that doctors offices have you fill out when you’re either a new patient or you’re seeing the doctor for the first time in a calendar year.
There was an innocuous line that read “Emergency Contact” I thought oh that makes sense… then I noticed some fine print at the bottom of this “Emergency Contact” section of the form. The fine print said “We may contact this person if you fail to pay your bill, or we are unable to contact you and they will be held financially responsible if you are unable to provide payment for services rendered.”
So I left the contact blank. I’d rather end up alone and unconscious in a hospital somewhere than risk some BS accounting mistake (and they’ve happened to me) exposing my friends, or family to a collection agent.
The little front desk girl told me I had to fill out that box. I told her no. She told me that I couldn’t see the doctor if I didn’t fill it out. I told her fine and She’d be hearing from the American Medical Association, the newspapers, ACLU, and my Attorney and if she really wanted to push the issue. Yes yes I realize that none of those people would give a rats you know what about it. The obvious solution was to find another physician but I was in a mood… So what? She let me pass and guided me into an exam room… I suppose it helped that there was a waiting room full of patients and she really didn’t need the conflict.
So now I’m in an exam room and this nurse? Administrative person? comes in and takes my BP and starts asking me questions of any medications that I’m taking. Apparently she had some difficulty with one of the meds and in heavily accented English asks me something that sounded like “Jawotuwtpil” my translation system strained, couldn’t find a match and I said, “what? “
Now she’s exasperated and she says something like “ifutakcloruhavatakwtpil!”
In my head this is going on. Translation running….. Parsing….. possible meanings in this context based on drug interaction ….
“If you’re taking potassium you have to take a water pill” further, “water pill” in this instance is the term for diuretic and if often used by people that are uneducated (ie your grandmother) and/or can’t say the word diuretic.
To which I say no I’m not taking a diuretic except for the light dose contained in one of the other medications listed there on the paper that I filled out 10 minutes ago.
Then she calls me a liar because I must be taking something else.
Ok now I’m really getting annoyed. I tell her that my GP is down the hall in the same building on the same floor and she can go have a chat with him if she would like to alter my prescriptions. Then I asked her “And you’re Doctor who????” She snaps that she doesn’t have time to go talk to my doctor down the hall and storms out.
An hour and a half later….
I get up off the little exam table having become throughly bored and by this time fairly pissed off. I’m looking up the number to the insurance company and dialing it as I open the exam room door and walk smack into the Doctor that I was supposed to see. I tell him that we’re done, I don’t have time to have 3 hours of my day shot to hell because he’s too busy to keep his appointment schedule.
Then it occurs to me that the office staff may have been playing games and since I’m here and he’s here we should discuss what I was there to discuss anyway.
So we have a nice discussion and he seems competent and he recommends that I have another diagnostic screening that will answer the questions definitively. Then he orders the staff to set up the screening and they all snap to work.
He and I will be having a conversation about his staff the first visit.