Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh, you doctors

When we first got married and moved down to Kokomo, I dutifully brought along all of my medical information and then just globbed on to all of Ben's everything--doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. But, because I'm just this way, I kept my allergist and Ob/Gyn in Ft. Wayne and used these check-ups as excuses to take a day off of work and visit the fam back in Harlan...inconvenient, but okay by me. Part of this was necessitated by the basic and apparent lack of anything allergist in Kokomo. Seriously!! Could not find an allergist by word of mouth or word of doctor's mouth in this little burg closer than Carmel/Fishers--45 minutes away. But more on this later.

Ben's doctor, whom he literally has seen TWICE since we've been married (nearly 5 years now), is located in this (in my opinion) massive complex of medical-ness that is just plain confusing. I had a check-up wit this doctor once just so they could administer my allergy shots. Once was enough! Nice enough doctor but whoa...confusion. I grew up in a one-doctor town, and he had one nurse who used to be my softball coach and taught me how to inject my own allergy shots if I ever so desired to do so. Basically, my type of place. NO confusion! Now, I'm supposed to find my way around this multi-suited complex with something like 6 doctors/suite. Oy! And you don't pay/sign out where you make your appointments. And the walk-in clinic is not where the doctors are. And there are multiple hallways and signs seemingly pointing everywhere. I'm not a good navigator (this is why I drive when we go through Chicago).

I tried to get my shots at this place. But after about 2 months, I couldn't take this place anymore every 2-3 weeks. I *hated* it, if not only for the impersonal-ness that it exuded. So I ditched Ben's doctor and struck out on my own. I had someone tell me once when I was engaged, "You don't have to use the same toothpaste as your husband." I realized that I don't have to use the same doctor either! I settled upon a one-doctor office again, though the doctor himself gave me the heebie-jeebies. His biggest saving grace was that his nurse was fantastic, and she was the one that gave me my shots, so I didn't really have to come across him too much. (Really, the first time I'm there and waiting, he sees me reading Crime and Punishment, leaves me for a minute, and comes back with a proselytizing booklet about bringing Christ to prisoners, with the implication that I needed, what, to be saved?) After 2 years, I quit with the allergy shots, and since I can't even remember the last time that I had to go to the doctor because of actually being sick, I just never changed doctors. If I wasn't going to get allergy shots anymore, however, I didn't want to go to him anymore, but why change if I didn't need to?

And then Abby came along. I used her as an excuse to get in with a different family doctor who could see us both. But the one that Ben and I chose from the two that were recommended the aforementioned and hated medical complex. Sigh. And now, one year later, I'm ready to take off again and go somewhere else.

Calling in to ask a basic question is basically horrible. There's a huge phone menu which inevitably leads me to some department that I'm not even sure what it is...I get transferred A LOT. And then I get transferred to various nurses voice mail EVEN MORE, which is terrible. I never get a call back even with my most basic questions with any speed...2 days later, 3 days later isn't uncommon. Yes, I understand that it's a doctor's office conglomerate and it's a busy place, but still! Can I just talk with someone who can possibly help!?!

So herein lies my latest saga. I'm finally switching allergists to someone down here because a) my Ft. Wayne allergist retired 2 years ago and b) I found one listed in the phone book in a roundabout sort of way. Sounds like a winner, except 4 days and 4 phone calls later, I'm still no where. I need to get a prescription refilled and the dang allergist is forcing me to come in and get a check-up after I've ignored their "please call us because you're overdue" postcards for about 3 years now. BUT! I have to have a referral from my primary care doctor to get in with the allergist that I found in the phonebook (because they wouldn't accept a referral from my previous allergist who obviously does know about whether or not I need to be referred, right?). But I've never seen this guy about allergies because I've had it all taken care of well before I ever moved to Kokomo. AND, I just called in four days ago to try to postpone Abby's 1-year check-up a few days so that it wasn't going to be directly on her birthday and was promptly told that this doctor doesn't have any openings until AUGUST!!!!?!???! What?! I'm available to come in any day any time since it's going to be summer vacation. Nothing?!?! Herein lies my frustration with this doctor and his office. He swears to me any time I see him that he's always available to babies and will always fit them into his schedule. I've called his office twice when Abby has had a cold or whatever and have been put off each time. Where is the disconnect? Are you there for my kid anytime like you tell me? If so, then why don't the appointment makers recognize this? So I know that it would be a nightmare if I needed to get in with this doctor to get a stupid check-up so that I can be referred to an allergist. I just want my nose spray!

Seemingly with good news and fairly quick response, a voice mail on my phone after school today. The doctor's nurse returning my call about the referral for the allergist, we set up an appointment for you on X date at X time (why can't I set up my own appointment???) with X doctor. Great. This is not the doctor that I asked to be referred to. In fact, the allergist that I wanted is at a place that has 2 doctors, neither of whom are this guy that you are sending me to. I have issues with this.

What's up with doctors' offices!!?? You're on notice that we're at odds. Our time together may be brief.

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