Not Insured Against Bad Attitudes

, , , | Healthy | December 4, 2017

(I am currently working front desk at a private practice doctor’s office. I answer phones, schedule patients, do referrals, etc. This exchange occurs over the phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Doctor]’s office. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Patient: *with a snarky attitude* ”My name is [Patient] and I need to know if my medication has been approved by my insurance.”

(Sometimes certain medications need a prior authorization in order for the pharmacy to dispense the med. I tell the woman no problem and get her info so I can pull up her chart.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, it looks like it’s still being processed right now.”

Patient: *with even nastier attitude* “This is ridiculous. I need my medication.”

(I then look to see what medication she is talking about and it turns out it’s Zantac. This is an over-the-counter medicine that you can buy at any grocery or drug store.)

Me: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am, but PAs can take anywhere from one to six weeks. Sometimes medications that can be purchased over-the-counter take longer.”

Patient: *yelling* “I KNOW IT’S OVER THE COUNTER BUT I WILL NOT SPEND MONEY WHEN I CAN GET MY INSURANCE TO PAY FOR IT! I NEED MY MEDICATION NOW AND YOU BETTER DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.”

(I then forwarded the call to the doctor’s nurse who informed her that she would get to it as soon as possible, but since the patient’s medication was available over-the-counter, she has to work on the others that aren’t. She also gave her a list of stores and other medications that will help her problem if she needs it immediately. Seriously, just go to the store and get some.)

When Your Biggest Headache Is The Doctor

, , | Healthy | December 4, 2017

(I have chronic, crippling migraines. Sometimes I have to go the ER for a shot. On one such visit, the doctor came in, saw me in my floppy hat and sunglasses, and says:)

Doctor: “Don’t you think that’s a little ridiculous?”

(The migraine has my brain muddled. All I can say is:)

Me: “What?”

(He went into a rather long rant about the dark room, my hat, and my sunglasses. Then he left the room.)

Me: *to my husband* “What just happened?”

Husband: “I don’t know. He’s doing something at the desk now.”

(The doctor returned after about twenty minutes.)

Doctor: “I just checked your record. You’ve been here seventeen times in the last month.”

Me: “No. I haven’t been here for two months at least.”

Doctor: “Don’t lie. I saw the record. It’s obvious you just want the drugs.”

(He continued berating me for being a drug-seeker until I was crying hard. Then, he told me to get out. I had a physical therapy appointment two days later. After what the ER doctor had said to me, I was nervous about interacting with people, but finally got the courage to ask:)

Me: “When someone checks my record on the computer can they see what a visit was for?”

Therapist: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I was in the ER a couple of days ago. The doctor looked at my record and accused of making seventeen visits to the ER seeking drugs. The only thing at [Medical Complex] that I’ve used recently was my physical therapy. Doesn’t my record say what the visits were for?”

Therapist: *in shock* “Yes! It will definitely say if it was physical therapy, your doctor, or the ER.”

(Then, she showed me my record on the computer with physical therapy listed eighteen times, including that day’s visit. I didn’t tell her how bad the ER doc made me feel or how sick I was before the migraine went away on its own, but she decided to report him anyway. It must have been the final straw because when I had to go to the ER about four months later I discovered that doctor had been fired.)

Getting Hysterical-ectomy

, , | Healthy | December 4, 2017

(I am a lesbian, and I occasionally experience extremely severe symptoms when on my period, for up to 5 days, such as a complete inability to eat without vomiting, severe pain, and on a couple occasions, seizures. After talking it over with my wife, I decide to go in to speak to my gynecologist and ask her about how to go about getting a hysterectomy. The trouble starts right from when I attempt to book an appointment. After getting through hold and basic introductions.)

Me: “I would like to schedule a consultation with [Doctor] about having a hysterectomy.”

Receptionist: “Okay! Just so you know, if you have a hysterectomy, you won’t be able to have children afterwards!”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

(The receptionist then schedules the consultation without any more fuss. On the day of the appointment, I arrive with my wife so that we can both talk to the gynecologist.)

Doctor: “I don’t think that this is a bad idea given your symptoms, but you need to understand that if you go through with this you will never, ever be able to have babies. There is no way to undo it if you decide you want kids.”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

Doctor: “We could schedule it a year or two out so you could have one last baby before your surgery.”

Me: “I have never had children.”

Doctor: “So you want to wait—”

Me: “Shut up and listen to me. I am gay. The only penises that ever go inside me are made of plastic. I will not be having children either way. I don’t care. We can adopt. [Wife] could have artificial insemination. It doesn’t matter.”

Doctor: “If you say so…”

(My gynecologist continued to flare at me and mention children several times, and even tried to show me pictures of her own kids, while she was recommending surgeons to me and helping me schedule with one of them. With the surgeon, he also listed all the possible side effects, but a simple “I understand” was all it took to convince him, luckily.)

Discharging Hard Truths

, , , | Healthy | December 3, 2017

I was in an ER cubicle patiently waiting for a doctor to be free to treat my migraine, which is considered low-priority in triage. It was a very busy night, but amazingly quiet so my headache wasn’t exacerbated by sounds. And then, HE arrived in an ambulance.

We were able to hear that he had gotten drunk, climbed onto the bar’s roof, and fallen through a skylight.

Though he was at least 40 yards from me, his continual yells were overwhelming, causing me pain, confusion, and dizziness. Because of that, I couldn’t understand most of what he yelled, but did manage to hear him demanding more alcoholic drinks and trying to get out of bed, and that they had to restrain him.

By the time a doctor went to examine him, I was crying from pain and at the end of my ability to cope. The doctor began talking to the drunk: “And what’s going on with you tonight?”

I snapped and yelled, “HE’S DRUNK AND STUPID!”

The entire ward went silent and then we heard giggles. The doctor bustled into my cubicle, followed in minutes by a nurse with a syringe.

Within fifteen minutes of my outburst, I had been medicated and discharged.

Let’s Not Split Hairs About Who It Is For

, , , | Healthy | December 2, 2017

Because of family history, I need a specific medical test every five years. My husband always accompanies me to the pre-test appointments. The doctor is mostly bald and does not like jokes about it.

Please note that my husband has been balding for quite a few years. A few years before this appointment, I had made my husband a baseball hat, which said, “Wish you were hair.” I hadn’t realized he was wearing it.

The doctor took one look at the hat, got a sour face, and said, “Is that meant for me?”

At first we were too startled to say anything. Then my husband removed his hat to show his own balding head. He and I burst out laughing. After his own startled pause, the doctor joined in.

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