Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I Hate My Allergist's Office

Oh, and there are many reasons.

I keep going because, despite the reasons I will soon name, the nurses and my primary doctor are very capable and I have improved under their care. But if that is ever not the case I will be out that door so fast...

Reason 1. It is a nice office. Like, they have all the new technologies, and they are used to having the best. And they're used to patients that can afford it. That is to say...they prescribe medicine that is expensive (unless you fight them), have many follow-ups (unless you fight them) and tests (unless you fight them). If I let them have their way, they'd see me at least once a month. And they'd give me an MRI and then sinus surgery. They assume, if I walk through the door, that I can afford it all.

I don't want to buy my doctor a boat.

The thing I hate? They don't get that not all of us have four brand new cars and a McMansion. They just don't understand.

Reason 2.
They won't comply when your pharmacy calls up for a refill of a prescription, unless you call them personally, schedule an appointment, and then go there and ask the doctor personally. Even then, it's about a 50/50 chance you leave with your prescription. This is because they want you to need them. And office visits mean bills. Which means a new villa in Spain.

Reason 3. One of the doctors likes to patronize me, because he thinks I don't know what my lungs are, how they work, what asthma is, and so forth. Case and point: I once jokingly asked if we could just surgically remove all the mucosa membranes from my nose and sinuses, so that I wouldn't get so congested. He thought I was being serious and explained how the body needed those membranes and they were useful because--and then I stopped him, told him I understood, and explained that I'd been joking. He looked doubtful.

Reason 4. That same doctor likes to quote research papers to make me feel stupid. He does this because it makes him feel important. Also, he likes to detail the worst case scenario again and again, usually resulting in me bursting into tears because he's A. calling me dumb and B. telling me I'm going to die and, more importantly, C. I'm paying him to do it.

Reason 5. If I decide I must have a refill and therefore must call, it goes like this: When I say, "I need a refill of drug X." They say, "Okay, sure." Then an hour passes, they call back. I say, "Hello." They say, "It wasn't actually okay, we haven't seen you since July." I say, "That was my yearly appointment. I get one a year, it says so on my insurance card." They say, "You cancelled two." I say, "Because I get one a year." They say, "But you cancelled two." I say, "Because my insurance wouldn't pay for an MRI and I don't need a follow-up after the MRI if I haven't gotten one." They say, "No prescription refills." I say, "I have no asthma medicine at all and if I have an attack, I will die. Thank you." They say, "Fine. Hold please."

I listen to an advertisement for services I am already sort-of receiving.

They say, "Fine, we'll give you a 30 day supply. But you need to come in." I say, "Would you like me to schedule?" They say, "We're giving you 30 days." I say, "But I still need to schedule." They say, "You'll have medicine for 30 days." I say, "I am fully aware of that. But I will live longer than 30 days and will therefore need more medicine. That means I must have an appointment, which I must schedule, as this is not a hair salon and you don't take walk-ins, even if the patient comes inside clutching their lungs which they have coughed out and hope you can put back where they came from."

No, I don't say that. I say, "When the 30 days run out, I'll have no medicine and you won't refill anything again, so I have to make an appointment." They say, "When?" I say, "When are you available." They say, "I need to know when you want your appointment, so that I can see what we have open."

This is when I sigh, wish I would just drop dead already so my family can sue this practice that can clearly afford to pay out a few million in damages, and then tell them to rattle off some dates and times so that I know what is open for me to choose from. Eventually, this leads to me saying, "I'll call back when I have my May schedule in front of me." Before I hang up, disgruntled. Still without an appointment.

Reason 6. They keep telling me they can make things better. But they don't make anything better at all. Why? Because I'm allergic to life and they don't make a pill for that. Also, they can't accurately test me, so I could be allergic to death too, we don't know. So allergy shots won't even help me.

The good news? Today I have asthma prescriptions. The bad news? I am doubting very much that I'll be able to leave their office without an MRI appointment. Which I will cancel. And then we'll be right here again.

But I'm doing one other thing when I go in this time. I'm checking the dates on prescriptions. Because if they have them become void at the end of 2010, causing me to need to have an appointment the second the new year begins, despite the fact that it hasn't been a year since my last appointment, I'm handing the scripts back so they can redo them.

And the next time I'm at my family doctor, I'm asking him to take control of this for me, so I don't have to screw around with this office again. It's tedious and stressful, and getting stressed makes life no fun.

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