Waiting For Cancer

, , , , | Healthy | July 16, 2018

The nearest clinic that takes my insurance is a pretty far drive for me, so I try to book multiple medical appointments for the same day, or at least get more than one thing scheduled each time I go in. On this particular day, I’ve booked two appointments: one consultation that should take about thirty minutes, and a prescription renewal for a psychiatric medication that should only be about fifteen minutes. The receptionist and I agree that it makes sense to put in some buffer time, just in case the consultation takes a little longer than expected, so my psychiatric appointment is scheduled to start fifteen minutes after my consultation should end.

I arrive at the clinic fifteen minutes early, check in for both my appointments, remind the receptionist of my schedule, and settle into the waiting room. It’s not unusual for appointments at this clinic to run a few minutes late, so I’m not surprised when we’re five minutes past my first appointment time and I haven’t been called back; I left the buffer time for a reason. However, by the time we approach the twenty-minute mark, I’m pretty concerned. I go to the desk and ask, and the receptionist promises someone will be with me soon. I remind him that I have the second appointment, and he tells me that the psychiatrist’s schedule isn’t jammed, so if I’m a few minutes late, that’s all right. I’m getting a little annoyed, but I try to let it go and go back to wait.

Another ten minutes pass before a nurse brings me back to take my vitals, at what was supposed to be the end of my appointment time. I ask him about the delays, and he tells me that it will be fine and the doctor will be right with me, and leaves me in the office, alone.

I wait in the office for another twenty minutes, now officially five minutes into my psychiatric appointment time, before I step back into the front office. The receptionist says that the consulting doctor’s schedule is completely backed up, so he sends me back to do my psychiatric appointment while I wait. The psychiatrist is very understanding when I explain the whole confusion, and we’re just starting to talk about my medication when another doctor throws the door open without knocking first. Apparently, this is my consulting doctor.

She’s very angry, and starts laying into the psychiatrist, yelling about how it was absolutely unprofessional for him to take me back before I’d met with her, how it was screwing up her whole schedule, and how my consultation today was already going to be difficult, going into details about why it would be. Finally, she turns to me and tells me that if I want to meet with her at all, I have to do it now, because her schedule is so tight today. The psychiatrist tells me to go ahead, and he’ll talk to the receptionist and make sure I can still see him today.

I really don’t want to deal with this woman, but the consultation is for a cancer screening, for a fast-acting type that runs in my family. I’m high risk for it, and if I have it, even the few weeks it might take to rebook a consultation with a less-PO’d doctor could seriously impact my treatment. She’s professional enough during my appointment, and can tell me that I am, in fact, cancer-free, but I’m still very uncomfortable with her.

Luckily, I am able to rebook the psychiatric consultation after just another twenty-minute wait, although I’m now here over an hour later than I’d planned to be. I’m ready to just run out as quickly as I can, but the psychiatrist asks me if I can stay and speak to a staff member about my experience today.

Turns out, the reason there was a twenty-minute wait was because he filed a report against the other doctor for barging into my appointment with him without even knocking first, and then for yelling at him, including information about my appointment in her rant that he had no reason to know, since it didn’t relate to his treatment of me. I’m not sure if what she did was technically a HIPPA violation, or if it just violated the clinic’s policy, but when I go to book another appointment six months later, and specify that I’d like to be seen by any doctor except her, I’m told that she’s no longer with the clinic.

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