Today was a cluster f**k of confusion with all things medical.
First of all, this morning Hannah told me she needed a refill on her medicine. She looked at the bottle and realized she had been taking 70 mg of a medicine she's supposed to be taking 50 mg of! The reason? One bottle, with 40 mg capsules says "take one daily" while the other bottle with 10 mg capsules in it says "take THREE daily". Which she did. For WEEKS. Because that's what the directions say. Now, I'm not sure who screwed up - the doctor in writing the prescription, or the pharmacy in printing the label, but that's a pretty dangerous mix-up. Lucky for her, she wasn't at the maximum dose or anything, but she may have been having side effects (like difficulty sleeping!) that she didn't even realize because the dose was wrong. So, I called to get it fixed. And had to leave a message. Which was relayed to the nurse. Who called me back and left a message.
I also left a message about some test results that my husband had not received in the mail. Normally we always get a copy of our lab results in the mail, but not this time. It was important to have, because we needed to check them against later lab results from another doctor's office. THAT doctor's office sent us test results yesterday, but they listed Jeff as a "female" and the notes accompanying them had such poor grammar, I'm not even sure an adult could have written them. Words were misspelled and one sentence made no sense at all. I'm sorry, but I have no tolerance for poor grammar in medical records. Where is the professionalism?
Then, Arlie ran out of a medication and needed a refill. Only trouble is, she's due for a check-up before they will refill it. So, I called to make her an appointment. They had an opening at 3:30. She and her two siblings had orthodontist appointments at 3:45. Obviously that was too tight, but the agent at the doctor's office said we could make it work since her siblings could go first at the ortho (right down the street) and it was "only a 15 minute appointment." I, stupidly, believed her and booked the appointment. We arrived just before 3:30, and the first thing I asked was if the doctor was running on time. I was assured that she was. At 3:50 I asked the front desk how much longer it was going to be. At 3:55 a nurse came out to tell me that the doctor couldn't see us for "at least" another 30 minutes! That's nearly an hour after our appointment time! Of course, we had to leave, since we had already scheduled the ortho appointment. But first I had to get a refund on my co-pay and let them know how unhappy I was. Then, the nurse (who had the biggest, nastiest cold sore on her lip - seriously? You work in a doctor's office - get it treated or don't come to work - who wants to see THAT in a doctor's office?) tried to take me aside and called me "ma'am". She got on my last nerve when she said "let's go tuck away somewhere and talk about it because you are being kind of loud." Oh, sista, you don't KNOW loud. (By the way, there was NO ONE ELSE in the waiting room, so I was not causing a scene that would embarrass anyone but the office staff, and, frankly, I thought they SHOULD be embarrassed for their inefficient organization). I told them they could have the doctor call me ASAP at which time Cold Sore said "She won't be calling you until probably 7 p.m. because she is SEEING OTHER PATIENTS." No shit, my daughter being one of those patients she was supposed to see. As I type this it is 7:15 p.m. and I have yet to hear from her. We have had issues with waiting over an hour to see the doctor in the past, and ALWAYS wait at least 30-45 minutes. My husband has been complaining about it for years and wants to change doctors. But I have always been the holdout because we've been seeing those doctors since my kids were born - they KNOW us, and our medical history, and I actually like the doctor we see. But lately, not so much. At my annual exam, she asked me to change into a gown. So, there I sat, naked in a thin cotton gown, expecting her to pop back in after five minutes of courtesy changing time. Nope. 45 minutes later (I shit you not) she came back in and said "you don't have young kids at home any more so I don't mind keeping you waiting as much". What the f**k? My time is not valuable? Thanks for pointing that out.
So, we headed back to the orthodontist's office in time for Arlie to make her appointment. THAT experience is, and always had been, totally pleasant. Super nice staff, great ortho, always on time. After that we headed to the pharmacy to (hopefully) get Hannah's prescription mistake fixed, get a refill for me, and beg for Arlie's meds (since now we were SOL because she wasn't able to get her "meds check" - such a waste of a co-pay!). The pharmacist found out that Arlie already had a prescription called in from several weeks back (HUH? The doctor told us she could not have a refill without a check up), Hannah was screwed because the dr office had to "call them back" and my med was out of refills! Just my luck!
At this point all I wanted to do was grab a bottle of whatever alcoholic and head home. I refrained, but I did have a strong desire to kick something. I am so fed up with medical bullshit. The waiting - I expect to wait at the doctor's office, but not an hour! And certainly not over an hour. I actually have to block out two hours' time every time I take someone to the doctor, because I'm never sure if we will be out on time. Then there is the co-pay which we have to pay every time, even if we are following up on something - you know when they say to check back in 4-6 weeks? No wonder most people don't. Who wants to pay a co-pay so you can tell the doctor face-to-face what could be accomplished over email for free? And I'm SO thankful we have insurance because we have had huge medical bills the past couple of years. But we still owe a portion of that on every bill and sometimes they all come at once. I currently owe the hospital about $1400 for a tonsillectomy (Hayley) and a trip to the ER (Harrison) for a bloody nose. All they did for him was tape two tongue depressors together and pinch them on his nose for a half hour. Seriously. That is ALL they did. And they charged us $900 for it. Insane.
So, when medical care bleeds my wallet dry, I at least expect the courtesy of them respecting my time. I know we are all busy, but let's meet in the middle somewhere! I think a half-hour grace period is acceptable. But don't tell me we can get in and out for a "15 minute" appointment when you know good and well that your clinic averages an hour wait per visit. The last time we had a long wait issue, I spoke to an office manager who was working on improving the clinic policies and wait times. She assured me that it was "unacceptable" to wait that long and that they appreciated input because it helped them make changes. Well, they didn't. But I guess we will. Time to find a new doctor and clinic. I'm not happy because it will take hours of my time to research doctors and find the right place for us. But I will be happy to find someone who values my time as much as I value theirs.