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!