Heads Up

Grammy took The Boy to a doctor’s appointment today. She does that for me in the summer so I don’t have to take time off work. And I don’t really need to be there unless I know something big (like shots) are happening. If all we’re doing is weighing and measuring and asking if everything is going well, Grammy can handle that.

Except when they don’t tell you in advance that shots are necessary.

doctor-medical-medicine-health-42273Three shots, to be precise. When Grammy texted me, I thought, “Maybe he can be coaxed into it, but my guess will be no.” I was right. She took him to lunch, and I called to reschedule.

It’s the preventable stuff that just kills me. Because it doesn’t have to be this way. I get that your office is busy. I know medical receptionists have a lot to do. But is it possible, just maybe, that with your patients on the spectrum, you could give them a heads up, so we don’t have to waste all this time and unnecessary anxiety?

I know what I ask seems outrageous, but in this day and age of “patient portals” (ours currently doesn’t work), and texts to remind us of appointments, maybe it’s an overlooked possibility. I’m just sayin’…

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No Need to be Nasty

Waiting Room by Melissa Venable

Waiting Room by Melissa Venable

The camp that I’d like to send The Boy to this summer, in lieu of ESY has an 11 page application, part of which must be filled out by his physician. We were just at his doctor’s office last week, getting his booster, but when I approached the desk to ask about getting this filled out, no one seemed interested in helping me, and rather than stand there like an idiot, I decided to leave and call about it later. I called today, and politely explained to the woman on the other end of the phone that I needed to get this paperwork filled out by May 10. She responded that the doctors in the practice didn’t “just do that”, meaning fill out paperwork for camps and such, and that we would have to have a physical. I expected this, and when she asked when his last physical was, I told her August, and she then replied that he would have to wait until a year after that physical, and went to disconnect the phone! I raised my voice slightly, explaining that we were moving in June, so waiting until August was an impossibility, and that I had spoken to someone in her office who had said that it depended on our insurance when another physical could be done. I assured her that we were in the clear according to our insurance, and could we schedule a later appointment for this, due to my son having autism, and hating to miss school? She grudgingly offered up a 3:30 appointment in May, and I asked if there was anything later in the day, as The Boy is still in school at that time. She responded that that was the latest appointment she had before our deadline, adding that the late appointments fill up fast because everyone wants them after school.

I shouldn’t have to fight for an appointment! I shouldn’t have to raise my voice to get the service that I need! If you would like my son to be having a meltdown when he comes for his physical, than by all means, continue to be flippant with me about how everyone wants late appointments!

This is not the first time I have had issue with the office staff in this practice. Two summers ago, I was running a summer camp, and couldn’t leave until the last camper had been picked up. Of course, I had The Boy with me because we had an appointment scheduled about 30 minutes after camp was over. Unfortunately, the parent of this camper was extremely late. I called the office after he had finally been picked up, and explained that I would be 10 or 15 minutes late, knowing that usually one waits at least 45 minutes to see an actual doctor. The staff member proceeded to lecture me about being late, and that they would have to cancel my appointment. I pressed the issue, saying that we would be right there, and couldn’t we just keep our appointment time, and she lectured me again about being responsible about keeping appointment times, refusing to see us. I swore I wouldn’t go back, but when you have a child with special needs, finding a doctor who understands your child’s background is essential, and you often have to make compromises.

I can remember loving the dentist I had as a child, and hating his office staff and his dental hygienists with a passion. And we actually did leave the practice of The Boy’s first dentist because they couldn’t be flexible with appointment times.

Don’t these people understand that they drive people away when they treat them this way? They create anxiety in the patient, and they create mistrust with the patient’s caregiver, namely me! And in these days and times of social media, consumers have no compunction about telling all and sundry about their experiences with your business, especially if they were negative. I just don’t understand how they get away with it, and I’m glad I won’t have to be dealing with this particular office staff again!

Doctor Visit

After our less-than-successful dentist visit last week, The Boy and I both had anxiety over today’s doctor appointment.  The obsession with being done by a certain time popped up again, and I had to explain in detail three times that we would likely not be done by 3:46PM, as there was a lot of waiting involved with a doctor appointment.  Each time, he seemed even more anxious. I was expecting to be there for at least an hour and a half, maybe longer, and I was envisioning another meltdown.

We went a bit early because we missed our appointment last summer.  I called to tell them I would be 10 maybe 15 minutes late, and whoever I spoke to on the phone was pretty pedantic with me, repeatedly telling me how important it was to be on time, and that they would have to reschedule our appointment.  I was furious.  Today, I was not going to take the chance of being a minute late, so we arrived about 20 minutes early.

Ideally, you shouldn’t do this, as this is more time for anxiety to fester, but I kept him busy with games of slappy, a new app on my phone, and plenty of cuddles (which must look pretty weird to others, this tall, lanky boy on my lap, but I really don’t give a flying fig – whatever it takes to dispel my son’s anxiety is what I will do).

Wonder of wonders, they were on time.  Took us right in, and the nurse who did the prelim stuff was a PRO.  She made a game out of everything, and The Boy was having fun.  At the doctor’s.

The doctor came in, and she was quick and efficient, answering my questions, and allaying his fears all at once.  And when she was done, The Boy said anxiously, “What time is it?”  I looked at my phone, and it was 3:34PM!  We zipped out of there, sucker in hand, and were home by 3:44PM.

We even discussed how our next two visits would include “pokes”, his biggest fear when going to the doctor.  By the end of the conversation, he was telling me the reasons why “getting pokes” was important, and how brave he would be.

They were such pros.  HE was such a pro. And I am very, very happy.

(Photo attribution: By Bart Everson (Flickr: Doctor’s Office) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)