Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I can't even tell you how furious I've been all morning.

Say you call the office of your doctor - a well-regarded practice - on Monday and say, "I need some advice. I think I have the same thing I had in January and I'm not sure what to do about it."

You explain that you were given a prescription with two extra antibiotics when you came in for that appointment in January, in case you'd need to start another course. But no refill. So being a responsible antibiotic taker, concerned about your health, you don't want to start a course of antibiotics without talking to someone.

And they take down all your information and they say they'll call you back. And they don't.

So you call Tuesday morning. And they apologize for not calling you back, and take down all your information one more time. And tell you to start the antibiotics you have, and that they'll call in the rest.

And then you call again at 4 pm to say you've not heard from anyone. You're not angry, you're not upset (yet). You just want your information. The information you've called in about twice.

At which point they say that they can't find your chart. But they will, and they'll call in the prescription to your pharmacy. At which point you give them all your details one more time.

And nothing happens.

This means you start your Wednesday morning with a call into their office. You remain on hold for half an hour, because, when they offer to call you back, you say that you don't intend it rudely, but you don't actually trust that they will return your call.

They spend 30 minutes trying to find your chart. And then say that actually, nobody called you back because they aren't willing to prescribe antibiotics without seeing you. They want you to come in. Which means rearranging your morning and canceling meetings to go to the doctor.

At that point, even though it takes you a long time to get angry? At that point you might actually be beyond angry. You might be livid.

And you will say, "I wasn't upset when I called the first time. I wasn't upset when I called the second time. I wasn't even upset when I called the third time. I would have been happy to come in any of those times - I just needed to know what to do. And now, now I'm really upset."

And it is very clear that you are not exaggerating.

They give you an immediate appointment that morning.

And then, you are sitting in their waiting room, waiting and waiting for your appointment, which you finally get called for one hour late. And if you are waiting with the worst waiting room magazines on the planet, and you get a call from their other office, saying they've called in a prescription for you?

It is all you can do to politely explain that you are currently in the waiting room of the other office. You further explain why this makes you really angry. It really is all you can do not to lose your shit.

I've gotta say, the doctor I saw handled my displeasure perfectly. My inclination, when I get upset, is to be very clearly upset. And that gets you nowhere.

So I'd thought through what I wanted to say 37 times in my head. It's hard for me to be angry with people - I was raised to not voice anger. I think people respond much better to men's anger than to women's, honestly. Men get far better results by being angry than women do.

So I have really worked up to letting out anger in a constructive way that actually gets you positive results. Obviously, it doesn't always. But far better than just getting really upset but not provoking the response you need.

I was outwardly really calm, and laid out my reasons for being angry very carefully and logically. She listened, she apologized for confusion, and she was completely constructive. I liked her and I trusted her. I'd see her again.

Except that I will never see her again.

I am flat out done with that practice. I don't actually trust that they're particularly organized or remotely concerned about my health or well-being, except when I'm sitting right there in front of them, in a never-on-schedule appointment.

OK. Rant over. Thanks.


  1. my blood pressure rose just reading your post. how frustrating!!!!! hoping you find a doctor with a more organized practice!

  2. You handled it 100 times better than I could have.

  3. I have an amazing referral for you. The Doctor and staff are both outstanding...and they prescribe Valium like it's baby aspirin.

  4. That sounded horrible, what a waste of your time. I admire your persistence when it comes to taking care of your health. I may have given up at the 2nd call.

  5. Very frustrating..
    Hope you feel better:)

  6. Is your doctor's office in Michigan?

    I love my doctor (who is also my daughter's doctor) but I am beyond having had enough with the practice.

    I need to bite the bullet and find someone new . . . grrr.

    I hope you feel better.

  7. Infuriating. I think my head would have exploded, God.

    I'm *exactly* the same in regard to being angry and actually needing to show that Hey! I'm ANGRY! which, like you said, isn't very effective for women.

    And also? this post reminded me that I need to get me some health insurance.

  8. Man. That was hard to read. And now I'm all irritable.

  9. MrsMac - Ugh - sorry to do that to you. I thought my BP would be through the roof but shockingly, it was OK when they checked it.

    Arjewtino - Thank you. I don't know that that's true, but I appreciate it.

    Kerrie - I emailed you. I would LOVE a rec.

    Mary - I wish I'd voiced my frustration and pushed for results earlier. It's stupid to take four calls to get to that point.

    Italian Bird - Thank you! :)

    Suniverse - Downtown DC, convenient, hard to give up. But infuriating. It is so hard to change docs, isn't it?

    Nicole - It's taken me a long, long time to be able to present my anger in any kind of constructive way. I felt pretty proud of myself for this one. And please please get health insurance! I am going to email you on that one as well.

    Rich - Sorry to put that on you. I was soooo mad, even when I wrote it.


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