Friday, November 4, 2011

Letter that I haven't sent to the orthopedic office. Yet.

I just received a phone call from your Satellite office, advising me that my appointment scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 0945 with Dr. Soandso needed to be changed to 1500. This appointment was originally scheduled on October 12th, 2011 after meeting with one of your PA's to discuss the results of the MRI which could have been given to me over the phone. Instead, I met with him for less than 15 minutes, and my insurance was charged $77 and change, and left with no clear plan of attack, other than "yep, you need to see an orthopedic surgeon."

I sustained this injury on JULY 28th. I went to the ER. I was told "it's just a sprain, and sprains can take 4-6 weeks to heal."
I waited a month to allow time for it to heal. After a month, I called my primary care physician to ask if it was normal. She then demanded I see her instead of answering the question “IS THIS NORMAL”, she ordered an xray, and told me it would take 2 weeks to get the results. I balked and said "No, it will not take 2 weeks, I've been dealing with it for a month and I'm not waiting that long for x-ray results." The results came back 2 days later as negative, so they started me on the orthopedic office route, which I was told the orthopedic office would set the appointment up. AFTER A WEEK OF WAITING to hear from your office to set up an appointment, I was told that it would be a month to get into the Seaside office, and that they had a Satellite office that would be closer. OK, fine. I said if they can get me in sooner than a month, fine. The soonest appointment they had would be 2 weeks. OK. Fine. It was only after I insisted on the appointment being made that I finally got one.

September 14th, I met with the PA, to discuss the situation.

Plan was to put a boot on and revisit in a couple of weeks to see if it had helped.
By the September 29th appointment the boot hadn't resolved the issue, and an MRI was scheduled, by your office for October 4th. With a followup appointment, scheduled by your office for October 12th.

At the time of the October 12th appointment, I requested the soonest appointment available. I was told that the soonest appointment with Dr. So-and-So was Thursday, November 10, 2011.
After expressing my frustration to the secretary and about ready to burst into tears about the situation, she looked at me and responded with "Well, what do you want me to do about it?"
I work in customer service. I have worked in medicine. Regardless of the situation, whether someone is having a bad day, month, year, life, hated her job, her co-workers, fill in the blank, that statement should NEVER EVER EVER be uttered to a client, patient, customer, or anyone else who you ever want back as a returning customer.
This kind of customer service is where the provider and office staff believe that regardless of the situation, patients will come limping, crutching, wheeling, hobbling or be pushed to them in droves, and their office will overfloweth. Apparently the staff at your office is forgetting that regardless of the number of years that a physician goes to school, has been practicing medicine, operations performed, or patients seen, the surgeon is a salesman. A very well educated, respected member of the community, but he is selling his opinion to patients. As a salesman, a customer has the opportunity to choose whom they see. Just because Satellite Office is the primary orthopedic service in the East-Gish No-where area does not mean that I am bound by anything to use your practice. I work in Smaller City, and travel regularly to Bigger City, and have no hesitations going elsewhere to seek orthopedic treatment.

I have spoken with you about this situation. I requested my name be placed on a waiting list for cancelled appointments, both at your Satellite location and at your Bigger City location. I was told “once you’re established at an office we don’t typically transfer you to another location.” I understand that, what with paperwork, liability, time, etc. When I requested to be put on a waiting list, you responded "Well, not many people cancel their appointments" to which I replied "Yeah, because you make them wait a month to see you!"

Now, I might be able to understand the delay if I was constantly seeking pain management, or completely making this up. NEVER ONCE have I requested pain management. Not when it happened, not in the ER, not from my primary physician, not from my osteopath, and not from your office. That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean that it is not uncomfortable. That doesn't mean that my back has not gone out as a result of walking lopsided for 2 months because of the boot, or limping for almost 3.5 months post injury.

I could understand if we were waiting for something to heal. We are not, or at least how I understand it.
From what I understand from the appointment with your PA on September 14th, this is a surgical consult, because at that appointment Tony said “well, unless you have something weird like a ding in the bone and we would have to go in and make it smooth.” I said “Welcome to weird. If it’s weird, it will happen to me.” Turns out, I was right.

I have been patient. I have waited. I have worn the boot. I have been scanned, manipulated, x-rayed, magnetically imaged, and range-of-motion tested.

I have no doubt that if this situation turns into a surgical case, your office and staff will do backflips and jump through hoops to get this surgery scheduled as quickly as possible so you can have more money to increase your bottom line. Not because you want to help get me out of pain any quicker.
I'm not interested in financing any more toys, gadgets, gizmos, or housing amenities. I am not coming to you because you're my best bud...if that were the case, I'd schedule lunch, or have you over to dinner. I am paying you to take care of an injury. I am coming to your practice because I had success and I respected Dr. ThatIrespect's opinion, and I appreciated the way the case was handled.

I played by the rules. I went to the ER just after it happened, had it xrayed, was told it was a sprain, and sprains can take 4-6 weeks to heal. I said IN THE ER that this was the worst sprain I've ever had (and I've had my fair share). The ER doc looked at me and said "Well, do you think something else is wrong with it?" with the attitude that I know nothing and he was God and knew everything.
Every step of the way I have been patronized, ignored, delayed, and treated as though I know nothing. I have run out of patience, emotional reserve and restraint, and I am through waiting.

If I hear from your office about this appointment ONE MORE TIME for anything other than a confirmation phone call, and believe me, I know when this appointment is because I so incredibly frustrated, angry, hurt and irritated, and I have made this appointment a priority, I will not be back to see your practice.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding a New Doc.

Nope, not a new document.
Knowledged healer.
Experienced in patient care.

If you've perused this blog at all, or are blessed enough to know me personally, it won't take long for you to figure out I'm not graceful.
Never have been. Probably never will be.

I've experienced more than my fair share of health issues.
I've also spent a fair bit of time in the health field as a provider.

I was fortunate as a child to stay with a primary care provider for a number of years.
They knew me well enough to know that I was not the whiny-crybaby type, and if I made the appointment, it was for good cause.

I left that practice due to practicality. It was not practical for me to drive 40-45 miles one way when I didn't feel well.

I started seeing a physician recommended to me by a co-worker.
I have a sense of humor. So did he. Or so it appeared by his rantings and ravings online.

His personality, bedside manner, and general practice as a physician left much to be desired.

Fed up with my experience, and being told that I could not change physicians within the ORGANIZATION, I had heard some positive musings about the primary care physician I am currently choosing to see.

However, after several very negative encounters, I am now on the hunt for a new doctor.
I'm thinking about sending out letters to them to determine if they are an appropriate candidate.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Living on a fixed income

I have taken on a second job working in a call center for a major retailer in the area to score a few extra bucks around the holidays.
I got a call the other night from a woman looking to purchase a pair of slippers for her husband. Not to judge, but you could hear the years in her voice. In the normal progression of the call, I asked "And may I have the number of your next item?" She replied, "Oh no dear that will be all, we live on a fixed income". After having gone through Financial Peace University, I said "I can completely understand!" She probed a little further and said "Well, how old are you?" I said "In my early 30's"...she had no need to know that I am, indeed, not quite that old. Quite indignant, she replied "So how many kids do you have?" And I politely replied "2 of the 4-legged variety." She scoffed. "You don't know anything about living on a fixed income."
Like an infected splinter, this has bothered me.
No, I do not receive my paycheck from the government on a monthly basis.
Yes, right now I work 2 full time jobs, and my husband is salaried.
We have no credit cards.
We are paying back student loans.
So how is this not considered a "fixed" income? I work the same hours pretty much every week. And I am not allowed overtime.
There is a finite amount of money coming in, and yes, it currently pays the bills.
And just because I don't have kids, that doesn't mean I don't know what it is like to live on a "Fixed Income". We are on a budget. All of our money is spent on paper ON PURPOSE. EVERY MONTH.
So how can someone sit and say "WAH!" you don't know what it's like!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A note to the leeches of society

Let me preface this post by saying that I believe there are some people who need assistance to get by, and I believe in TEMPORARY assistance, but NOT permanent lifestyles that are made by this. This post does not apply to any one of my family members.

However, if you have adopted a cat, but don't work, get paid by the government to live in subsidized housing, and don't work, can "afford" to go to college, but don't work, have the internet, and don't work, do NOT get on Facebook or any other social media and start BRAGGING about all the stuff you are getting through state assistance. I WORK, I PAY MY BILLS, I pay my college loans, I have two dogs, I pay rent, and I work, and the federal and state governments take money FROM ME to pay for your sorry ass to sit at home and surf on Facebook! And Knit! And take care of your cat!
And don't try to sell me some sorry sob story. If you want to get out of the situation you are in, you can, you just have to work your butt off. It is not easy. Work is hard, otherwise it wouldn't be called work.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The tale of the Flat Tire in the East Jabumpuck No Where.

This is the letter I sent to the customer service representative in response to the inquiry about the customer service I received during my recent visit to the service department.  Again, be careful what you ask for :) 
 Dear Truck Customer Service,
Thank you for checking in about our recent service on our truck.
I assume you are referring to the tire repair that happened on Tuesday.
Yes, everything went fine as far as the service goes, the tire was repaired, and the spare tire was replaced to where the spare tire lives in a timely fashion. However, I must vent about the story that led me to require the service.
My husband and I were going camping on Lobster Lake, which is near Northeast Carry off of Moosehead Lake for the 4th of July weekend.  In order to get there, we had to travel on the Golden Road, which is known for its access to the Penobscot River corridor, and also for the logging in the North Maine Woods.  It is a dirt road that has pieces of shale on it that gobble up tires on a routine basis.  We went off, knowing we had a spare, and all the utensils to get said spare down.  Our intention was to get to the put in at Lobster Stream, paddle out to our campsite, and set up camp on Friday night.
About 2 miles after the Caribou Checkpoint (where you have to check in, pay your fees, and tell them where you're going and for how long), the "Check Right Rear Tire Pressure" alarm went off on the dashboard at about 515 pm.  My husband looks at me and goes, "Uh...what do you it just a warning (sometimes in the winter, the pressure gets low due to the fluxuation in air temperature)?"  I said "Pull over!  You have a flat!" (Having been on the Golden Road and experiencing this situation a few times, I had a strong suspicion that was the case).  He pulled over, and I opened the passenger door, and you could hear "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" and we then watched helplessly as the tire swiftly deflated.
We pulled the manual out to make sure we did everything we were supposed to, and pulled all the parts of the jack and wrenches.  After about 45 minutes of trying to get the long part of the jack handle to connect with the mechanism that is supposed to drop the tire, a very nice gentleman offered to take me back to the checkpoint to call for help (Keep in mind, middle of no where, no cell phone reception, and relying on the good graces of very nice people).  We figured, "Well, we have AAA, so one of those guys probably knows how to get the tire down".  After arguing with the dispatcher about where we were (He kept insisting that we MUST be in a town.  I tried to explain that the nearest town was Kokadjo, and we were about  15-20 miles from there, and he said, "well, I can't find it, I need an intersection...." to which I replied "The nearest intersection is The Greenville Road and the Golden Road.  If you tell the driver from Greenville or Millinocket where it is, they WILL know where it is."  He still couldn't find the intersection.) the dispatcher finally said "we will find someone".  The person they ended up dispatching was out of Medway, which was 63 miles and 2.5 hours away, and this information was relayed by a nice gentleman who was taking a message from the checkpoint.  By now it was after 8pm, and we were still unable to get the tire down.  We tried to put the jack under the tire as directed in the book and lift it up to release the secondary safety feature, but all we accomplished was lifting the back of the truck up.
Two very nice guys in similar trucks who professed having had the same experiences, offered to stop and give us a hand.
They ended up taking out the little PVC pipe that had somehow come unhooked from the locking mechanism, and within 20 minutes, we were on our way.  However, they still encountered difficulty.
We had to return to the check point to inform the AAA dispatcher that we were indeed, all set, and they could turn the driver around.
By now, it was about 945 pm (4.5 hours after this tire endeavor began) and much too late to start on our journey across the lake to our campsite.
My husband and I, and our 18 month old ChocolateLab, ended up sleeping in the cab of our truck.  We are 5'8 and 5'7, and 65 pounds, respectively, and I'm sure you know the dimensions of the cab of your truck. The only logical way we could figure was that one sleeps on the front seat, and one sleeps on the floor in the back  (I would have rolled off the seat in the back), and the dog sleeps in the back.
Our suggestions for future models as a result of this trip:
*  Make the front seats not have the hump in the middle
*  Make the floor in the back flat
*  Make it easier to get the spare tire down.  It was extremely frustrating to two highly educated people with mechanical experience to be completely unable to get the tire down.  I am sure the wildlife learned some new words that evening.   There were several people who stopped to check and make sure we were ok and when we explained what had happened, they echoed the frustration of being in similar situations with your products and having the same difficulty of getting the tire down. 
In a perfect world, in a factory with good lighting, on a hard, flat surface, with an empty truck and the engineers who designed the system, I'm sure the system works very well.  But being out in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, with a fully loaded truck, being attacked by bugs through bugspray, on a dirt road, at dusk, with people who have not used the system before, the system does not work so well.
After we got the spare on, the spare worked great.  We had no problems after, and the service department was great and we are thankful that they were able to repair the hole in the tire and replace the spare in its proper position.
Thanks for checking in,
Office Slave

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shift in paradigm, take 2

So after being put on academic probation, and scoping out the mounting student debt (after being told I would have to be knocked up and/or have a child in order to take out more student loans), credit card debt, and car debt that I had accumulated (hey, I needed a reliable ride. In 2004. That ride had 26k and now has more than 200000 on it. I'd say, pretty reliable!) I decided it was time to work. Time to pay the piper (student loan demon).

My job was working for another evil empire, but this one of a different sort.
This was the ambulance evil empire, one who did not care if you worked 40 hours of overtime, their shifts were filled, and their contractual obligations were fulfilled, and I was making 1.25/hr more than working at the OTHER evil Empire. Bonus.

It did not matter that I had a college education to them.
It did not matter that I could think on my feet.
The powers that be persistently put me with the castaways, the ones who were unpopular, the ones that would not jump anything that moved, the ones who couldn't identify a bar of soap and a stick of deodorant, and if they could, they had not seen said items for many, many days. The stench that emanated from them indicated as much. Or, the ones who had such a wretched attitude, they could make even the sweetest of grandmas crotchety at them. Or better yet, the ones who were dumber than posts. And usually, I'm not very mean, but some of these people could not find their way out of a paper bag with a map, flashlight, and painted directions on the bottom of the bag. The EMT class is essentially advanced first aid. Most people who go to all classes, pay attention, do the work, and genuinely WANT to be there will be successful in the class. But really...fueling a diesel engine with gasoline? You gotta be some kinda spaychel to mess that up.
Very rarely did I have a decent partner to work with who did not stink, could carry on a logical and intellectual conversation, and had a positive attitude.

I received nothing but disrespect for my intellect, teased for my accomplishments (living on a farm, graduating from college), nor praised for doing a good job. My self-esteem sunk to new lows. People teased me because I did not date. People teased me because I had short hair, was in shape, enjoyed riding a bike, and didn't have a boudoir that resembled a revolving door. Automatically, they assumed I preferred the female persuasion.

Eventually, I came up with a saying "Check your soul at the door, or they will take it from you."
People who knew me before, during, and after my employment with this evil empire said I was not the same person I was before I began working in their midst, nor was I the same person after. I had become a robot, even though I had taken an intermediate course, acquired licensure, and can give medications, intubate, and start IV's.

The job I have now, I have worked for over 3 years. I enjoy my job, though it entails no patient care. There is a TON of stuff to learn, and I learn new stuff every day. While I know that what I do is not directly related to prevention, I know that the data needs to be collected to determine where the information needs to be targeted.

The relationship I am in is wonderfully positive, and I feel very blessed that I have him in my life. He makes me laugh, he hugs me when I am having a bad day, he loves me and not just in words. He tells me I'm special (and not short bus special) and he tells me I am smart. And that's just a start!

For pretty much the first time on a personal and professional level, I have been told "You're smart, You're intelligent. And I don't know who told you you weren't, but you need to not believe that. You need to have confidence in what you are doing because you DO know what you're doing and you're a valued member of this team!"

After almost thirty years of conflicting reports, the messages of inadequacy causing self-doubt that have been hammered home for so long, are starting to shift. The paradigm that "I am smart, I am worthy, I am capable" is starting to take hold.

And I kinda like it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A shift in paradigm. An enlightenment of sorts Part 1

All of my life I have received conflicting reports from my parents. "You're smart, you just WANT to fail." If you're smart, how can you want to fail? I suppose they were trying to use some weird, fucked up, twisted psychology on me, though I am not sure, because when I went to apply for colleges, the same parents that told me I was smart told me "You'll never succeed in nursing school. You don't have the math and science skills". So nursing school was fairly out of the question.

When I applied and got accepted to my alma mater, I was a "Liberal arts Undecided" candidate. Basically, the major meant I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew I had to go to college.

The weekend I started freshman orientation, my mother had a tragic accident involving a 40' extension ladder crushing her dominant hand, requiring multiple surgeries, years of rehab, and never regaining full use of the hand again. My parents were not by any means wealthy, and with my sister and I in college, I knew I had to get some sort of a job to pay for my gas to get back and forth to school, (I commuted from "home"), and I knew I had to pay my own way.

I applied for work and got hired, making a nickel over minimum wage, at the Evil Empire, the one that sells cheap plastic crap, and has invaded America as a "Way of Life". But, hey, it was a job. And it wasn't a whole lot less than what my mother had been making at her job. They were flexible with working hours, and routinely enlisted college students into their ranks so they knew that with each semester, a schedule change would be almost required.

Being talkative, intelligent, and an easy learner, over the years I have discovered it best to mind your own p's and q's, don't let on to people that you're smart, as you will be viewed as a threat, and thus be laughed at, made fun of, and constantly viewed as "different". Being smart has never been a good thing. Therefore, in school, I did what I had to do to get by. I didn't put a whole lot of effort in because if I did, I would be put into a 'different' group. My parents always said 'Your sister can do it, why can't you?' I hated my sister for that. And because of that, I tried even less. I purposely did not do my homework. I would intentionally fail tests. I just didn't care. To the point that I was put in Title 1 (which,'round here, is for the kids that ain't the shaahpest tools in the shed) for math, and English. Good grades were expected in our house, and I quite frankly, didn't give a shit about it, and one year, I walked into my math class, and the teacher looked at me and called me my sister's name. I stood straight up and said "I am NOT my sister, and DON'T EVER call me that again". I proceeded to fail math that quarter. I did what I had to so I wouldn't get into trouble. I paid attention in class, but I never read my books. I would do my homework on the bus the day it was due. If it wasn't perfect, oh well. Therefore, they couldn't be mad at me for failing, but I didn't get the glowing praise that the persistent straight A student got. Sure, I could have done better, but why bother, if you're in the middle, not getting in trouble for failing, but not getting the super-duper grades.

Moving on from the Evil Empire that sells cheap, plastic crap, I had a college sheepskin saying I was all graduated and all. While working full/part time, taking a full college load, working at a work study, living at home (and working on the farm), I managed to squeeze in an EMT class 40 miles away. So I decided to get a job working in EMS in the southern end of the state, where, I had secured a spot at another university taking classes to work towards my elusive second bachelors...a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. What I really wanted.
I discovered rapidly that working 60 hours a week and trying to take a 13 credit hour course load was a lot different than working 30 hours a week and taking a 15 credit hour course load. Needless to say, I had "proven" my parents right. My performance was HORRIBLE in school. be continued