Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Breaking up is easy to do...

...when your pediatrician's office is incompetent and surly.

I've long despised the front desk staff at our pediatrician's office. They are overly unfriendly, slow, inefficient, unsympathetic to your wailing sick child, etc., etc. The nursing staff has a few superstars, but isn't all lovely. The doctors are great, so I've stuck with them for 3.75 years now. We quickly zeroed in on one doctor with whom we really like and respect. The others whom we randomly see for sick visits have been equally competent and kind. So, I've ignored the surly staff as much as I can, though truthfully they kind of hold the power as to when and if you can get an appointment, how long you wait, and whether your child gets to watch their favorite Disney flick in the waiting room. My other complaints, since I'm on a roll, aren't entirely attributable to the front desk staff, but are noteworthy. They CONSTANTLY change their check-in and check-out policy which usually means I'm fumbling for my insurance card unnecessarily (because they've decided not to request to see it) or being asked to dig it up unexpectedly (because this week they need it); or I'm checking in for well-child visits in the middle of the hacking, snot-infested sick room, but then the next time the well-child room is open; or I'm told to help myself to stickers only to have my hand slapped by a snarly nurse because now those are highly coveted and only distributed by assigned staff.

This weekend I noticed that Graeme's toe was a bit red so I called to get him in for one of their weekend appointments (a feature I can not complain about). After waiting the customary 30 minutes to talk to a very uninterested staff member I was offered an appointment in the middle of the kids' nap times. There was no budging the time according to One-Who-Hates-My-Job so I opted to decline an appointment. By Monday G's toe practically needed amputation so I called FIRST-THING when their phone lines opened this morning. I waited 30 MINUTES and was told that the only appointment was at the EXACT SAME TIME as the one I was offered on Sat. WTF? How can they be completely booked by 7:30 AM? What about the kids that get sick at 8:00AM????? I tried to reason with I-HATE-MONDAYS-AND-MY-JOB but she wasn't budging. I hung up the phone, cried, and made a plan which included showing up 45 minutes early to see if I could trick them into seeing me at the time I wanted.

HA! They showed me and made me wait ONE HOUR. Finally, i saw the nurse and got the meds which she conveniently wired over to my preferred pharmacy using their three-week-old system that automatically orders prescriptions. "They'll be ready by the time you arrive," I was told. HA, again!

I took the kids to McDonalds because by now they were both hungry and tired. We headed across the parking lot to the Rite-Aid, only to find they had NO RECORD OF OUR PRESCRIPTIONS. I was onto meltdown number 3 for the day. The tech called the pediatrician and after waiting for about 20 minutes told me that maybe it would be quicker if I drove back over to their to get the prescription. OH MY F-----G WHATEVER. So, I loaded up the kids for about the 5th time and drove 10 minutes back to the office, parked the car, and unloaded the now totally exhausted and sick kids.

When I went to surly one's station and told her what had happened (calmly) she looked at me as though I had just reported that the restroom was out of paper towels. And, by now there was NO video playing because hitting the replay button on the machine more than once a day is not in front-desk job descriptions so after 12:00 you are SOL if you want to watch Disney. She returned 5 minutes later to tell me that Nurse was at lunch and would call in my prescription later. I lost it. I AM NOT LEAVING THIS OFFICE WITHOUT A PIECE OF PAPER AND WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER THE PHONE?????????? She's at lunch she told me with the same sense of urgency as my cat displays after an afternoon in the hot sun. I NEED A DOCTOR, NOW! (Yes, she probably sensed that I personally needed a doctor, and a drink, but it didn't seem to hurry her any more.) Ten minutes later the nurse came out with the orders. I politely thanked her and refrained from saying, no apology needed, and made an appointment with a highly regarded competitor.


Blogger Donna said...

I wish we were neighbors. I went thru a similar gripe with a ped and I am now thoroughly ambivalent about the new group. Every time we go I request a different doctor. I learned more in 4 minutes from the last doc than all the others combined... and I'm talking about 5 years' worth of hearsay/old wives' tales/American Pediatrics outdated wisdom. Most of the info I've had to dig up myself.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Stuart said...

Totally relate to this!

11:44 PM  
Blogger diana onorio funk said...

Ugh, what a nightmare, Kelly. I see myself headed down the same road with this practice after the birth of #2 this summer. I hear you on the appointment-only-during-naptime thing -- we went through it last week and the lack of nap totally RUINED our day. And OMG, the check-in thing!!! I thought it was just me! And that main henchwoman at the front desk scares the living shit out of me. Damn, and I really like our doctor. Let me know how it goes with the new practice. Hope G's toe is better!!

9:27 PM  

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