Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's Cooking? My Temper Boiling Over

Since I spent the better part of today at the doctor's office I should be plowing through work right now but instead I had to share my continuing saga with all of you.

My doctor's appointment was for 9:15 am. The front desk swore it was the "earliest" appointment they could get me. I sat in about an hour of traffic (maybe a little longer) but got there on time (usually I'm early). I did not physically lay eyes on my doctor until 10:55 am. At around 10:20 am I went to the front desk (told there was 1 patient in front of me) - I of course got emotional pointing out to the receptionist (who knows my name by now even though they have hundreds of patients) that this happens EVERY TIME. Crying in the waiting room (again) and then eventually called. I HATE crying - especially in public. Strong women don't do that - we are firm and decisive and don't cry in front of other people. So why do I whenever I have to have difficult conversations?

While waiting to see Dr. Whatscooking they did my BP (fine) and weight (fine but I will say I hit a milestone that is pretty upsetting). I found out that after 32 weeks Dr. Whatscooking no longer does cervical checks - it is what it is. Seems odd but whatever, not like I know the protocol.

When Dr. Whatscooking came in with Resident Inappropriate Shoes (she is usually there and wears espadrilles and other non-doctor shoes) and asked "What's cooking" I told him that I have been seeing him for about 25 weeks now and I have to wait ON AVERAGE an hour or more to see him EVERY TIME. He acknowledged it was not appropriate and then proceeded to tell me the culprit was the front desk who over schedules his patients. For example, in a 1 hour period today he had 11 patients booked. Seriously, 11! He also claimed that he has spoken with them about it but they don't listen to him. I was actually pretty calm with Dr. Whatscooking (no crying). I got the name of the office manager.

In addition to my ridiculous wait what did suck was that he will not put me on disability until week 35 - and he thinks I'm 1 week less along than I do (based on my early ultrasound) - so I have to keep going to work until August 12th. You would think that after all the hassles he's put me through he'd be more accommodating - especially since just last week he said he'd do it "anytime". I should be happy how healthy this pregnancy has been (he's pleased with my blood sugar levels) but frankly I just want to stop working at this point. But, tykes, keep growing! Don't come out yet just because Mommy, Esq. is exhausted.

Armed with the name of the office manager I asked to speak with her. She and I went to a private room to discuss and I explained what I had been told. She of course claims it is Dr. Whatscooking's fault since he only sees patients 1 morning a week. Are you kidding me? What the heck is he doing the other 4.5 days? But even if that were true I told her that she cannot book 11 patients for 1 hour slot. I clearly explained that the system must be broken if I am waiting more than an hour each time and it must be fixed. I also pointed out that because of this wait I have to work longer which can't be healthy for my children. And in addition that I was complaining because I'm sure there are other women who just "take it" and I'm not one of them. I told her that I expected she would speak to Dr. Whatscooking and that when I'm back in on Tuesday of next week we could speak again so I could understand what progress had been made. I did cry some but I don't really care.

I know I'm giving birth in a few weeks but I care because of the hours of frustration I've endured and that other women will endure if no one speaks up. My time is just as important as his - more so since the only time I have any energy is in the AM and I'm busy gestating the next generation.

Obviously I should have switched doctors weeks ago. But frankly I feel like mentally it would be difficult to change after all this - and with me 33 (although in my mind 34) weeks along it seems to make sense to stick with who I have and try to shake them into some action.

I wonder if all my fuss means I won't be waiting long again? Who has the over/under? Yep, I'm not taking that bet either...


Anonymous said...

ugh, that sounds horrible, but if it's any consolation, I think you handled it really well & every other less-assertive pregnant lady should thank you. hope dr. WC and the office manager shape up.

I've always fantasized about sending a bill based on my hourly rate to every jerk who keeps me waiting -- cable guy, late doctors, etc. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mommy ESQ, I am a relative of Bostondish and I read your blog. I wanted to let you know that I work in Healthcare and according to AMA guidelines and NCQA guidelines a doctor should only have 4 appointments booked per hour. I applaud you for your gusto to let them know that your time is valuable as well. Hopefully they will take the recommendation but from the sounds of the arrogance in this office, it may need other action. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Anonymous said...

Ah well...citing the guidelines should fix everything. Sorry, but lets be real for a moment, eh?

Do you think the office manager or desk workers enjoy keeping people waiting? Or being yelled at by angry mothers to be?

Do you think the doctor enjoys cramming that many patients back to back? Don't you think doctors prefer to spend more time with patients and do a thorough job? Don't most doc's goto med school to help people?

Can you think of anyone who's happy in this situation? Its certainly not the patients.

Obviously there's something bigger broken with the system here. Supply and demand. It all comes down to econ 101. If there were more doctors this wouldn't be a problem. The market would take care of itself. If there were fewer mothers or sick people this wouldn't be a problem. But...people are going to have sex and they're going to get sick.

Grit your teeth and you'll get through it. This part is almost over, and you've got bigger things to be worrying about. Hang in there.

And feel free to keep yelling at the office manager and doctor. They're the ones getting paid while you yell. You're only wasting your own time.

Nancy said...

Geez. that totally sucks. I would have left. And no - it's not too late to change! What...are they going to make you wait when you go into labor because 11 other ladies are "in front" of you???

Go you for standing up for yourself.

Anonymous said...

good for you for actually speaking to them about the issue!

Stacey said...

I'm going to have to disagree with anonymous (#1) on this one. Complaining absolutely helps and it is important for us (particularly as women) to do so. My dad is a world reknowned surgeon and he would never accept more patients than is right for his practice. Is there pressure on doctors to take more patients and hence more money from the HMOs? Absolutely. But it is the quality doctors who hold firm. What scares me the most is that Dr. WC is obviously in a teaching hospital. Is that what you want him to be teaching the next group of doctors??

MommyESQ you need to do more than just talk to people. It's time to put pen to paper and write all the way up to the board. This is obviously a systemic problem. Having recently written my first complaint (USAirways is a monster!) I did end up receiving some compensation. While your compensation will not be monetary it will be in the satisfaction that you are addressing a problem that will affect dozens of other pregnant women.

T. said...

I also wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Anonymous #2, and agree with Stacey on taking it up the ladder. I am a huge proponent of complaint letters/emails. There is clearly something broken in this office and it needs to be fixed - it hurts the level of care that patients are receiving and causes stress for the patients (who, by the way, don't need more stress in their lives). And, as someone who hates doctors waiting rooms more than anything in the world, and hates having my schedule at the mercy of someone else, I totally feel for you having to re-arrange your day due to the dysfunction existing in this office. Mr. Anonymous, I think you're a little harsh.

H said...

Bullshit- you should've left him weeks ago. I'm totally coming with you next week, and I'm kicking ass and taking prisoners, 'cause I have nothing else to do!

Mommy, Esq. said...

Funny that theresa thinks Anonymous #2 is a man. I didn't! It is good to have contrary opinions but I will say that our health insurance pays this doctor quite a bit of money (and I work for these benefits at my job) so I do think this is a paid service that should be fixed.

T. said...

Of course I thought it was a man. Really don't know though, since he/she is anonymous :-)

I think Helen is going to kick some ass next week!! Yeah!

Anonymous said...

I have to completely disagree with anonymous #2 also. (And as an aside, I just LOOOOOOVE when people make obviously inflammatory posts but don't have the cojones to sign a name to them.)

I agree you need to take this higher up the chain to the hospital and the insurance company. You are a consumer-- a customer-- of healthcare and you deserve to be treated with respect. The doctor is ultimately working for, and being paid by, YOU. I know it's not your style, but frankly I would have fired this asshat and his office of assmonkeys months ago.

Helen, I fully approve of you marching on over there for the next appointment and shaking things up!!

SMNYC said...

I was going to avoid this one and let it pass, but I've had a glass of wine and I'm feeling bold.

I happen to think its interesting that people assume a man wrote "the post". I also think its interesting that the lone dissenting opinion is considered "inflammatory". And I think I really should know better than to open my mouth and disagree with a woman who's 3X weeks pregnant. Although the tone is rough, I tend to agree with Ms. Anonymous. (see what I did there?)

Husband knows me and I've met wife once or twice so if she takes offense, she can come kick my ass when she's good and ready. I think at the core, you're more angry at yourself than you are at the doctor. He's been treating you this way for 30 weeks and you expect him to change now?

What kind of advice are you people giving to your sister and friend??? Pregnant with twins, still working when she doesn't want to, worried about career path, going to be forced to drive a mini van and a husband who's counting the days until he can see Sigfried and Roy (or is it just Roy now...?)

Yes it sucks. It completely sucks. Suck sucks sucks. A whole lotta suck. But with everything swirling around in your head, maybe your time would be better spent focusing on the positive, and the issues that are truly within your power to change.

And if you want to fix the system, then wait until you have two healthy kids who are screaming and have dirty diapers Then, goto his waiting room, and spend the day there as your children scream their little heads off and stink up the joint. They mind me a little more inclined to figure out how to speed things up a bit.