Friday, October 27, 2006

What a Difference the Color of a Room Can Make

Not the best at keeping up with the blog these days, mea culpa.  So a super-long post to appease the masses!
I do have a rather valid excuse for the absence hurt too much to blog.
So I am on cipro for the next...8.5 days now.  Urgh.  They'll know exactly how bad it is on Monday or Tuesday, but the immediate results were that I have some kind of kidney/bladder/tract infection.  FUN TIMES!
Yes, I did indeed venture forth to find a new doctor in these here Pacific North West lands, and find one I did! 
So now I guess I can tell my nightmare doctor story:
I would like to preface this with:  I DID NOT just open the telephone book and blindly choose a random doc with a female name.  I asked my pharmacist, whom I THOUGHT I was developing good rapport with, for a local doc who she'd heard good things about.  This was how I got the name.  AND I called the office WEEKS before the actual need for the appointment (for a yearly), and spoke at length with the receptionist and tried to get a feel for the doc.  I got good vibes from her though there were a few weird things I really should have considered before proceeding.
20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing, isn't it?
First: I couldn't just make a "meet and greet" appointment where she would get to know me and treat me for something minor, say checking on my skin condition and refilling my migraine medicine, etc., you know, an easy appointment, low stress, etc.  I was told the doctor made all new patients do a full "whole nine yards" physical as the first appointment.
Second:  I had to have $200 cash to pay/as the down payment (?!?) for the appointment, as physicals are uber expensive, and would have to be prepared to pay the balance due before I left the office.
So that would be the week we found out the car was DYING, yes?  Let's say it was not a stress free, well-rested night.  I woke up late, felt miserable, was not allowed to drink my morning tea, and, thanks to misunderstood directions, "No food or drink after 8PM, brushing your teeth is okay though,") I was really thirsty.  (Really though, when they say "brushing your teeth is okay though" doesn't that make it sound like NOTHING TO DRINK means water too, right?  Whatever, if I'm naive I'm naive.
So I get stuck in traffic and am going to arrive later than the "show up 10 minutes early to do paperwork" so I call them.  I'm told that if I don't show up in the next 5 minutes they will cancel the appointment and bill me. ?!?  I was about 2 minutes away and the appointment wasn't for another 8 that was weird...besides that, how exactly were they going to bill me if they hadn't taken anything more than my name and home telephone number? 
Right, so I was obviously in the best state of mind for the appointment. 
I run in and...wait.  There is a LINE of people in front of me.  They are all either 20+ years older, or 30+ years younger than I am. 
Then I get the paperwork -- all I am asked to fill out are two sections: who I am stuff, and who is going to pay for the appointment stuff.  NO MEDICAL HISTORY stuff.
Again, that 20/20 hindsight...
As soon as I sit down I'm whisked into the area and follow the nurse down this long skinny CROWDED hallway to the room where I drop my stuff and then follow her almost all the way back to get weighed and measured, then we go all the way back for my blood pressure reading.  Sure, have a patient RUN back and forth and find out how much she WEIGHS, then take her blood pressure.
I think their machine is broken...but the first reading was astronomical, something in the HIGH 140s over 100-something.  Shouldn't I be dead?  So she writes it down and I say I usually read high the first time, and added to that I'm super nervous, can she take it again later?  All she answers is that she'll have to ask the doctor, but such a high reading was a bad thing.

Really, do you tell someone with high blood pressure that it's a bad thing in such a situation?  I'm a bad first appointment patient, but this is ridiculous!  So she leaves me to get undressed and wait for the doc in THE ROOM.
It was a dark it needed a new paint job about 5 years ago.  Shiny near the ceiling.  But the walls were covered in paintings/pictures/clocks, etc.  It depressed me.  It did not calm me.  It reminded me of the puke colors my elementary school was covered in.  I hated my elementary school.
So in storms the doctor telling me (actually, pontificating at me would be a better description) about how my high blood pressure was extremely dangerous and who was treating me before her and etc., but not actually letting me answer any of the questions.  When I did try to say that no one was treating me as I did not have high blood pressure she gave me a "look" and said, that's obviously not true, and then continued to say things that did not apply to me because I DON'T HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE!!!
Whenever I tried to give her my 2 cents she would act affronted and tell me to stop interrupting her because she was trying to give me information that could save my life!  And then someone knocked on the door.  
The doctor finished whatever she was saying, I'd stopped listening and was planning my escape by she gets up and walks out, LEAVING THE DOOR WIDE OPEN.   I'm sitting there in that "gown" thing and she leaves the door open?  That was it.  I reached over and slammed it shut, jumped off the table and started to get dressed.  She came back in as I was pulling my pants on and was all, "What are you doing!"  So I told her this was not going to work, I wanted a doctor I could communicate with and not be treated like a child by.  Or words to that effect.  She responded with a fine(!) and tossed the file aside as she reached in and grabbed her instruments in such a way that I actually thought, 'she thinks I'm going to steal them...or vandalize the place, where the hell am I!?!?!?'
I was so proud of myself though, I didn't break down and start crying until she closed the door and I could sob and wipe my nose on the gown.  As I was leaving the nurse said I could pick up my "co-payment" and I was all, NO F-ING DUH!  (And that's another  Did she mis-speak?  Or was I going to have to plop down $200 in cash for every visit?  Not that I'll be finding this out or anything.)
Which brings me to:
The new doctor's office is very bright, and there's carpet in every room.  Oh, and the rooms?  They're pink.  I don't do pink, but it is amazing how much nicer it is than greasy turquoise.  Oh, and my blood pressure?  120/80 thankyouverymuch.  That would be WITH my kidney trying to kill me. 
I didn't get my yearly, the kidney bit would have probably thrown all the blood tests, so we'll do a "take three" later, instead I had a "get to know you"/make the kidney stop hurting appointment.  It was very calm and I was encouraged to knit on my scarf while I waited for doctors and nurses and/or my UA to be looked at, and etc.  I could put the whole appointment on my credit card and no one looked at me as if I was going to steal the instruments or said I was interrupting if I answered a question. 
It really is the little things that count.


keohinani said...

according to color psychology, pink is a tranquilizing color. blue? well, supposedly, it helps weightlifters perform better...but i have no idea what turquoise does for doctor's offices.

amanda said...

sorry you're not feeling well! you know my daughter has very frequent uti/bladder infections and her urologist had been keeping her on low dose antibiotic. not good (my opinion). something called D Mannose was recommended -- i googled, did some research and took her off the antibiotics, put her on the DM. NO FREAKIN" PROBLEMS NOW!

Bezzie said...

Yeah pink is what they paint the rooms of mental hospitals to calm the patients. Not that I would know.

I'm still baffled by that $200 payment thing? Ok even if you had no insurance, it wouldn't cost that much. That's insane. And the door open thing? What the???? I'm sorry that's a portion of your life you'll never get back, that sucks.

Beth said...

How strange! Good for you for getting up and leaving! I'm glad you found a good doctor and are on meds to correct your problem.

Sarah said...

That's TERRIBLE. So glad you had the guts to walk out, and that you found a doctor who actually wants to help you instead of just take your money.