Squeaky Wheels

4 Apr

Almost three months ago, I called the local hospital looking for a new doctor, as I wanted to consolidate all of my care in one place. Technically not necessary with all the new computerized technology, but if I ever become ill, I want my doctors to talk to each other face to face.

The nurse navigator gave for four names and a brief bit of info about each doctor. The first two got scratched off the list when I was greeted with a recording asking me to “Please hold on. Your call is important to us.” every fifteen seconds – by the clock. After three minutes, I decided not to hang on, as my sanity was more important than they seemed to think.

So – ended up with a prompt answer on the third call, and a six week wait for an appointment, which I know is not unusual for new patients. No big deal.  Been in the medical world, from both sides of the fence, long enough to know this is SOP.

When I arrived, I told the staff three times that I do not like to be called by my first name. I am old enough to be called Mrs. Rice, thank you very much, especially when other, younger, patients were being addressed by their last names. OK, so I’m a crotchety old lady.

The doctor was lovely. She said that I had been off HRT for so long that it would be dangerous for me to go back on it. I told her I was too old to die young, and the amount of black cohash I was taking posed a very real threat to my liver, which worried me more than a possible heart attack. Very pleasant, and apologized, and explained why I couldn’t go back on HRT and offered me another medication, which serves two purposes, and will do as well.

So.

Her office didn’t have my pharmacy on their automatic list, which rather surprised me. It’s less than ten miles from my home – and my drugstore. However, I called them when I got home and gave them the phone number and waited. And waited. I stopped by the drugstore and the pharmacist said he had a question about the dosage, and had contacted the doctor’s office, but not heard back. This went on for an solid week.

The nurse navigator had sent me a card with her phone and email, so I sent her a message Thursday afternoon – a week after my appointment. When we got home from noon services yesterday, I had two phone calls from the hospital. One from the NN and one from a manager, who left me his direct phone number.

I didn’t expect much to happen late afternoon of Good Friday, but I fully expect the medicine to be ready for pickup on Monday. Totally unacceptable medical practice. Fortunately, this is not dreadfully important stuff, but what if this was cardiac or cancer care? I’ve been a medical receptionist for several practices, including Johns Hopkins cardiac unit, and this is simply beyond incompetent.

I really like this doctor, and I just hope my reporting her staff doesn’t mean she’ll drop me. We shall see.

And they’d better call me Mrs. Rice!

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