Yesterday Hannah woke up complaining of an earache. Since that is unusual for her (and a kid her age) I figured she might have an ear infection. But first, I decided to try irrigating her ears, knowing that not too long ago, Arlie also had an earache and it turned out to be earwax lodged deep in her ear. Since I had observed the process of irrigating her ears, I decided I could easily try this at home! No problem, I used a bulb syringe and things went ok - at least I got her ear unclogged. So, off she went to school, with a note saying if her ear still hurt she could come home. Well, sure enough, mid-morning I get a call at work saying she needs to come home and also to see a doctor because the school nurse thought she might have an ear infection.
Later that day, I took her to the doctor. Not our family doctor, but another doctor in an entirely different practice that is affiliated with our doctor's office. To give some background, this is the same office I rushed Hannah to "after hours" when she broke her arm in gymnastics several years ago (they said it wasn't broken and she continued doing gymnastics and everything else until ten days later when we found out it actually WAS broken!). Also the same doctor's office I took her to when she had another earache (gave us ear drops that clogged her ear and made it worse!). So, we went in with shaky confidence, but I thought, an ear infection, how hard can that be?
We were a few minutes late, but we waited in the waiting room anyway. The nurse came out to get us and commented on the way back "did you have trouble finding us?" meaning "why are you late? Don't you know we run a tight ship here, missy?" I hesitated "...ummm...." and then thought, what the hell? She's going to tell ME I'm late? I spend 45 minutes on average waiting for the doctor and she's going to give me lip about being late? So I just said "No!" in a cheerful voice, thereby reducing her options of chastising me for being tardy. She introduced herself as "Bobbie" which for some reason made both Hannah and I giggle.
Cue the doctor. Dr. Billet to be exact. He waltzes in and Hannah's eyes grew wide. Nearly six feet tall, he was wearing tan cordoruy pants, a striped button-down shirt tucked neatly into his wide-wale trousers, and (no kidding) a very large yellow, polka-dot bow-tie! Besides being so comical, he was a man of few words. He promptly irrigated her ear (just like I had!) and looked in it one more time, pronouncing no ear infection. This took about 30 seconds. Hannah looked at me quizzically (because, I later learned, his advanced medical technique offered no more relief than she had felt when she came in!). The doctor then sat down and proceeded to shuffle some papers, clear his throat and twist in his spinny chair. Hannah and I said nothing (after all, we were waiting for some sage medical advice). Clearly "killing time" now (supposedly to ensure he had spent all five minutes and 22 seconds of required time to bill the insurance?), I finally decided to put him out of his misery and said "ok" as I stood up with my purse to indicate that the visit was over. He feebly mumbled something about "call us if it's not better in a few days" and walked out. Hannah and I both looked at each other with a "that's it?" look and trailed after him. Just seconds later he passed by us in the hallway and looked right through us as though he'd never seen us before. No "have a good day now" or "hope you're feeling better." Nothing.
As we left I announced (perhaps a bit too loudly but that's just my way!) "Well, that was the biggest waste of a $15 co-pay I've ever seen!" Hannah said "HOW much was it?" and I said "$15, but that's just the co-pay. Wait till the bill comes. That will be a $100 doctor visit!" She was incredulous.
The moral? Next time I "do it myself" I won't bother to spend $100 of my insurance company's money having a bow-tied doctor repeat my procedure. What a crock!