How Not To Treat Your Patients And Acceptable Alternatives

Hello, hello!  Today’s post will be devoted to the cripple side of life, rather than writing or food (and it’s kind of a rant).  As many of you know, at best, I dislike doctors and, at worst, I despise them.  I don’t like people who touch/grab/pull at me without asking FIRST and listening when I explain my limitations (doctors are great at the grabbing, but not so much with the listening).  My anxiety levels are usually already maxed out before I even enter the building due to other fears mingling with the whole “it’s a doctor’s appointment” thing.  Still, if a doctor says they want to see me, I make an appointment.  I’ve never missed an appointment without a legitimate reason and, if something happens that I have to cancel, I do so as early as possible.  Even though I don’t particularly like doctors, I’m not difficult to get along with as long as space boundaries are respected and they make their wishes known.  Communication is key here.

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This applies even if I can’t physically throat punch you.  Rest assured, I am visualizing it.

 So, here are some things that I do NOT respond to well as a patient (for my pulmonologist, but any doctor really):

1. Threatening to take away one of my machines.  He didn’t threaten this directly, but he refuses to sign the paperwork okaying my second ventilator unless I come see him.  We (my dad and I) have received no phone calls or emails or anything in the last year and more than a half (since my last appointment) saying this doctor wanted me to come in for a check up or else we would have complied.  Instead, we got a call from the company supplying my vents that said they are going to take one away if the doctor won’t sign the paperwork.  Does he really think I’ve gotten better since my last appointment?  No.  That’s not how this disease works.

2. Being forced to make a rushed appointment when it’s not technically necessary.  Which is exactly what the above situation called for.  I’ve only seen this doctor twice before, but both times he was booked months out, so a quick appointment isn’t exactly easy.  Luckily, he had an opening for tomorrow (today? Wednesday, July 13th).

3. Being informed two days before my appointment that the hospital doesn’t accept my insurance.  So, my options become a) cancel the appointment and risk losing one of my vents or b) paying $570 out of pocket.  This is the ultimatum amidst a clusterfuck (pardon my language) of people trying to figure out if they can get my insurance to work with two days notice.  I’m just glad I have Dad to field the phone calls (sorry I’m a PITA, or at least the reason you have to deal with this crap).  It’s unnecessary stress that will most likely end up with us out $570.  We’ll find out tomorrow (today?).  If the appointment isn’t pushed back.  We won’t know what’s going on until some time in the morning (just hours before the appointment).  Yeah.  Great.

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Some acceptable alternatives to these things:

1. Call/email/text/send a carrier pigeon to schedule an appointment BEFORE you decide I don’t need a machine.  I, like many people, don’t even think about doctors unless I’m sick/in immense pain/dying.  And 90% of the time, I don’t even go then.  If you want to see me, tell me.  It’s that easy.

2. Give me plenty of notice.  Hell, I will gladly make (and keep) an appointment for a year out if you want to make it as I leave the appointment we just had.  If you don’t want to do that, see the first item of this list.  Preferably, give me a month or two notice in case we run across any issues like you not accepting my insurance, so we have time to work it out.

3. Take my insurance information earlier, so we can work out any wrinkles without the pressure of an impending appointment.  Follow the first two steps, and this one will be no problem.  It’ll also give us time to explore our other options (whether that be insurance or doctors or whatever).

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Because awkward Sheldon makes me smile.

 In other words, use common sense and common courtesy.  I don’t know why these things are called ‘common’ when they’re anything but.  Hopefully, my appointment tomorrow (today?) won’t be as much of a disaster as I’m imagining.  Many people involved in this debacle have been very nice and understanding.  Some have not.  Either way, Dad and I have been stressing about all of this, so someone (knowing Dad, probably a lot of someones) is going to get an earful.  If we go.  Like I said, still waiting on the green light.

Sorry for the rant!  I know my problems don’t compare to what’s happening in the rest of the world, but they bug me nonetheless.  Thanks for listening/reading.  Back to the regularly scheduled randomness next week.  Peace out.

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