Take a Stand Against the Man (in the Labcoat)
Editor’s Note: Since the dawn of Buntology, Jackie has been regaling us with her medical tails of woe (and triumph). Most recently, she let us in on her whacky visit to the optometrist. Now she’s back, only this time it’s with a vengeance. No longer will patients suffer at the hands of over-scheduled appointment books! No longer will we be forced to sit in a waiting room reading old issues of Cosmo secretly hoping nobody can see that we’re turned to the “Sex Tips” article, which is pretty freakin’ lame anyway! No longer will we wait in the freezing cold exam room with our Johnny gowns hanging lifelessly off our goosebump covered bodies! NO LONGER!
How many times have you gone to a doctor’s appointment or dentist appointment and were brought in within five minutes of your scheduled time? When I say “brought in” I mean: taken from the waiting room, entered the exam room and had the doctor come in right away. *Crickets chirp*
Thaaaat’s what I thought. It is on a rare occasion that you are taken care of at your scheduled time. The scheduled time that you either 1.) took off from work to be at 2.) cancelled plans to be at, or 3.) I don’t know, got off your ass and took time out of your life to be at. Heck, you may have even gotten their a few minutes early, because God forbid you show up late to an appointment. That means charges up the wazoo.
So today, my friends, I am taking a stand! I will call 10 minutes before my appointment to make sure they are running on schedule, because it’s not like the receptionist is going to call me to let me know if they’re running late – I’m sure she has better things to do. Oh wait, shouldn’t that fall under her duties?! From here on out, I’ll march right out of that office if I am not seen within 15 minutes of my scheduled appointment. This has been an ongoing problem for me. Whether I am seeing my tummy specialist, my regular primary or my dentist, I always have to take the time off work (where I am paid hourly, so I just lose money or use vacation time) and am essentially paying the co-pay, PLUS the money I am losing from not being at work.
The most annoying part is that my appointment will be at 4:00pm, so I leave work an hour early, but they don’t see me until almost 4:45 or 5:00pm. I could have stayed at work! All you get is a piss poor excuse like, “Oh we had an emergency,” or “It has been a busy day,” or “…” (nothing at all). No mention of the fact that they are speaking with you 45 minutes past the appointment time. At least leave me in the waiting room where the magazines are, instead of bringing me into another room where I will wait all alone with nothing to do but read the weird body charts on the walls. It is like they think we are idiots, and that placing us in another room will count as starting the appointment on time. Nope, ya’ just stuck me in another room where I will sit boiling away.
This is exactly what happened to me at the dentist office just a few days ago. It’s my final week at my current job, and I felt guilty for leaving an hour early with only a few days left at the company. But I really needed to get that cavity filled. I ducked out at 3:45pm to make it to my 4:00 appointment, and sat in the waiting room, stomach growling. I wanted to eat a snack before, but didn’t have time nor did I want food in my teeth. I figured I would get this Sour Patch Kid-induced decay drilled out, wait for the novocain to wear off, and be eating dinner by 7:00pm. Here’s what went down:
4:00pm: Sitting down in the waiting room.
4:18pm: I am brought into the room. Sit in the chair, get my bib thing put on. The assistant asks how I am: “Hungry.” She leaves the room.
4:25pm: I can hear my dentist talking with another patient in the room next door. She is talking about nerves and roots and whatnot. My dentist then comes into the room I am in, grabs some model of a tooth and says, “Hi,” and walks out, closing the door behind him.
4:33pm: Ok, at this point it’s like, over 30 minutes past my appointment. Should I be getting annoyed? I am super hungry and getting super pissed. This lady and my dentist are still chattin’ it up about her feelings and thoughts on root canals. C’MON!
4:42pm: I have now decided that I will walk out at 4:45pm, because let’s face it, this is a little insane. Also I am really hungry and do not want to wait until 10 o’clock to eat dinner. He could’ve at least come in and given me the novocaine to move this process along. But nope – Jackie doesn’t care, she is young, nice, laid back, she wont mind waiting [editor’s note: I don’t know if I’d classify you as “laid back,” and I don’t remember you being particularly nice, either]. Clearly they don’t know me very well, and clearly they don’t know how crazy I am with an empty stomach.
4:45pm: I grab my purse, rip off my bib and let the receptionist know that I have been waiting 45 minutes, am starving, and have not been seen yet. She apologizes and reschedules me, and my dentist comes over and tells me he is sorry and had an emergency. OK, sooo, why didn’t you call me and tell me! I wasted an hour of my life, and lost an hour of pay. Oh, and I still have that filling to look forward to, which of course I will take time off of work to be at. Lesson of this story? I should take better care of my teeth. Other lesson? Stop letting doctors rule your life. If you are not seen on time walk out! Well, reschedule first, then walk out. Hopefully if we all come together we can stop this craziness and doctor’s offices will stop scheduling 15 people at the same time. Hey, maybe they’ll even call you to let you know they’re running behind. Down with the man! OK, time to floss.