Friday, June 18, 2010

8 minutes

I have lost hope in the medical industry. Sure, there are wonderful doctors, nurses, receptionists, etc. But unfortunately I can only name a handful and have begun to wonder why doctors can get away with so much.

Lets start with the support staff: i.e. the receptionists, assistants and such. I don't know what makes their life so difficult. I know we have our own stories--but if I went off that principle alone, every person in the doctor's office would have had a horrible life and I simply, don't buy that. After my doctor's appointment I was advised to get some blood work done at the upstairs lab. I walked up the stairs and signed in. The desk was empty..not a single sole to be found. I sat, flipped through a magazine and waited. waited. and waited some more. 10 minutes later a woman came huffing and puffing in slopped herself in her chair and apparently looked like she was loving her job (note sarcasm). She then proceeded to pick up the sign in sheet, roll her eyes and call out, "WHOEVER, signed their name on this sheet for labs did it wrong. You need to sign on that sheet, and they are out to lunch."

First of all, I have a name, which was clearly printed on the form (as it instructed me to do so).

Second, the "lab" clip board was placed so inconspicuously I couldn't even see it until she flapped her arm and pointed her finger to the location it was sitting at.

I gracefully walked up to the counter and said, "I am 'whoever' and I apologize for the mix up." You can't tell the humor in that comment by merely reading it--but I was trying to lighten her mood--but I quickly realized she had no sense of humor.

I resigned my name on the "lab" sign in sheet while she very obviously held the other sign in sheet high enough for me to see her feverishly scratch it out with indelible ink. I. was. scared. Think of a toddler quickly grabbing something that they don't want anyone else to have. Sad that I compare a 20 something adult to a toddler. I honestly think Deacon has better manners.

The rest of the appointment was quite enjoyable. The phlebotimist was very kind, laughed at my jokes and even cracked one herself. At least one person in that building liked their job!

So lets rewind, pre-lab incident. I had to go to the doctor because I have been having strange "kidney-stone-type" pain in my back. I wanted to be sure I was healthy.

The receptionist was nice, but you could tell she was incapable of handling two jobs at once--her fluttering reminded me of a bumble bee or fly--not a straight pattern but a sept-jointed way of moving about. After she checked in me, I sat in the waiting room with an outdated magazine in hand, but was called back shortly after I got to the "hundred things for under 100 dollars" section.

The nurse assistant who called me back escorted me gracefully through the labryinth of halls until we reached the scale. I forget her name, but I'll tell you that she was a very nice woman. She gave me a high-5 once she realized I had lost 3 pounds since last visit!

After that, we landed in the patient room and she smiled, wished me a good weekend and told me the doctor would be in shortly.

It was a typical wait time: not surprising quick, but not dreadedily long either. The doctor walks in, a stand in for my normal doctor. He was polite with the how do you do's and handshake but I wasn't impressed with his evaluation.

His bedside manner was nice, but he lacked empathy, compassion and he most certainly did not treat me like a person. To him I was 8 minutes, I was a co-pay, his paycheck, another patient. That is discomforting. My name is Anne Wolking and I have my very own history separate from any one else in that building--yet we are all treated the same--depressing actually. I game him all my symptoms and he had me lie on the table, did some poking, prodding and even futzed with my ankle--not even telling me why he is doing that exam. He lifted me up and said, "it's not kidney stones, its muscle."

Apparently he was not listening to me. I said this was unlike any pain I have ever felt--and playing soccer and being a runner--I KNOW muscle pain. I asked him, if it is muscle-related why am I nauseas, why do I feel sick after I eat and why don't the pain meds work? He looked at me confused as if I have never said those symptoms before and said, "you're fine, but if you want I'll send you upstairs for some lab work..." To which I replied, "Well I think getting bloodwork done would be a good direction to take to rule out anything major..."

I hate to complain on this site, but I felt the need to communicate my story. I am a patient with her own history who is only asking for empathy and proper care. I don't need the mystery of my symptoms solved I just want to hear, "Wow it sounds like that really bothers you and hopefully we'll be able to find an answer to your issues."

Is it too much to ask?

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