I Broke Up with My Doctor

I have high blood pressure.

Apparently, it’s hereditary but I still had to get an ultrasound to make sure the arteries around my kidneys weren’t constricted.

I learned that last part from the internet because the conversation with my doctor went like this:

Dr. BadBedside (if ever there was an appropriate pseudonym): I’m going to order a renal ultrasound.
Me: Ok.
Me (to myself): Wait, an ultrasound? Renal? Of my kidneys? Why? I’ll ask when she looks up from her laptop.  I don’t want to interrupt her as she is typing furiously and -
Dr. BadBedside (not looking up from her laptop): Anything else?
Me: Nope.

Clearly, I wasn’t comfortable with her and I’d been meaning to find a new doctor but I only saw her once, perhaps twice, per year so it wasn’t top on my to-do eventually list.

As I checked out, the nice staff person behind the desk booked my ultrasound appointment.  I specifically remember her saying “Ok, let me call downstairs to schedule your ultrasound.  Are mornings good for you?”

And, so, my ultrasound was scheduled for 7:30AM on a Wednesday.

At 7:10 on that Wednesday, I arrived at the building and asked security where to go for my ultrasound.
2nd floor.  Ok.  That must be ‘downstairs.’
As it turns out, that was not the right place.  They had no record of me.

Back to security.  “Do they do ultrasounds anywhere else?”
4th floor across the street.  Ok.  That must be ‘downstairs.’
As it turns out, that was not the right place.  They had no record of me.

By then, it was 7:30 and I was late for my ultrasound.   Yikes.  I called the doctor’s office.  They don’t open until 8.  Crap!

I called again and got the answering service.

And, then, I did something I’m not proud of - maybe it was the hour of the morning, the stress of being early only to be late after running around to two different ultrasound places because I had no idea where I was supposed to be, not being able to get any answers from the office that booked the appointment because they don't open for another twenty minutes and/or a momentary lapse of judgment.

“Can you page my doctor?”

A few minutes later:

Dr. BadBedside: You had me paged?
She was very clearly annoyed.  I explained the situation.
Dr. BadBedside: I don’t know where you’re supposed to be.  That’s your responsibility.  You made the appointment.
Me:  I didn’t make the appointment. Your staff person did.
Dr. BadBedside:  No.  My staff does not make appointments for anyone.
Me:  Your staff person DID make the appointment.  She called DOWNSTAIRS and we marked the calendar together.

She hung up on me.

There I was, in the wrong ultrasound office, already ten minutes late for my ultrasound in the right office, wherever that was, and hearing a dial tone.

I decided to walk up to her office that didn’t open until 8 and wait.  As it turns out, the door was open and her staff people were hanging out.

The nice staff person behind the desk checked the computer and said “Oh yes, you’re across the hall.”

Me (to myself): Well, then what the hell is ‘downstairs’?!
Me (aloud):  Thank you.

I must have been wrong about hearing 'downstairs' (though I swear, I know what I heard! Could that be where scheduling is? Ok, I'll drop it)
But, she was wrong to insist that I made the appointment myself (I may hear things but I'm not completely delusional. Her staff person did make the appointment for me, proven by the fact that I actually, finally made it to the right place, albeit a little late).
Though, I was wrong to have her paged (see above: what I'm not proud of)
But, she was wrong to hang up on me (professionalism? decency?).

As you can see, we both made mistakes.  We certainly didn’t bring out the best in each other.

So, as with all unhealthy relationships, I realized I deserved better.  Why settle when there are other MD's in the sea (or office)?

I called the office later that day.

Me: Hi.  I’m a patient of Dr. BadBedside and we just don’t ... work well together.  Can I switch doctors?
Staff person: Sure.
Me: Listen ... I’m sure she’s a ... (ahem) fine person but we just ...
Staff person (I could hear the smile in her voice): Don’t worry about it.  You’re not the first.
Me (to myself): Ha!

In the spirit of Roses, today, I am grateful for ~
1/ validating Yelp reviews ~ yes, maybe I checked it a little too late in the relationship – like after three years and getting hung up on! - but oh what a relief it is to say “Ok, it’s not just me!”  Scathing is the only word for her less than 2 stars overall review.
2/ and kind staff people who also 'get it'
3/ but, most of all, my perfectly fine kidneys.   Fiascos will happen, replete with embarrassing phone calls in the waiting area of ultrasound centers and other awkward conversations, but none of it matters.  Health is wealth.


Thank you for reading Stop and Blog the Roses.  Follow me on Twitter @FernRonay and on Facebook here.
And, why not give yourself a gift this year? Check out Stop and Blog the Roses, the book/calendar/gratitude journal available on Amazon or here. Keep it on your nightstand and make 2013 a year of gratitude!

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