horrible customer service

To Doc with Love

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware of my tonsil issue, which the media has dubbed Tonsilgate.

If you are not a regular reader, you can catch up by clicking here and here. The short and simple version is this: my tonsils were going to be removed by a tap-dancing koala bear on a Venezuelan children’s show.

Actually that would have been preferable.

The real thing is worse. My pre-operative surgery consultation was this: “Drink vanilla milkshakes. Here’s some drugs. Bye!” When I attempted to get an appointment with the surgeon, I was treated as if I asked to father Mitt Romney’s baby. “How dare you, sir! The utter gall to ask about your surgery with the surgeon! Pish-posh, you, crawl back to your hovel and leave our majesty be!”

I was finally able to turn my post-operative appointment into a pre-operative consultation with the doctor, but then I thought Do I really want to see a doctor who saw no trouble leaving my pre-surgery consultation in the hands of the first person he saw walking down the street?

The answer was: Fuck no.

So I’m now with a new ENT. My first appointment was with the nurse practitioner. She actually described the surgery to me.

In case you did not know, they do not use this:

The nurse knew how long it would take. She told me what to do to help recover. She didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. “It’s going to be miserable. It’s going to feel like the worst sore throat you ever had.”

She did not mention vanilla milkshakes.

She actually looked inside my mouth. The other nurse didn’t bother with that part although she did listen to my heart and lungs. In all fairness to her, she likely thought my tonsils were located in my chest cavity.

It turned out, I was sick again. She said I would not be able to have the surgery if I was sick because it increases the chances of bleeding during and post operation. She gave me super amoxicillin. She said my next appointment would be with the doctor because he did not like to feel like a ghost surgeon and actually wanted to meet the people he operated on.

I refrained from enveloping her in a giant bear hug and left.

But I feel like I owe something to that former ENT’s office to say “Hey, thanks for all the weirdness and incompetence because now I’m at a real doctor’s office and it’s really awesome.”

Maybe something like this:

This will be the note attached: “This is the only guy you should operate on.”

Or how about a giant vase of notes, one for each day of the year?

The notes will all say the same thing.

Or maybe since the nurse has such a hard time talking to such a difficult patient, this will make things easier next time:

Or maybe just this will suffice:

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the seventeenth post. She appreciates any and all suggestions unless you recommend she recrap Fifty Shades of Grey. She did that already. And she is stupider for it. 

Mission Not Accomplished

Friday was supposed to be the day my tonsils were liberated from my body.

But alas it is not to be.

My pre-operative experience has been…troubling? Is that the right word?

No,  I think I meant to write “giant clusterfuck.”

If you had read this earlier post, you would know that I had a pre-op consultation last Friday that was about as helpful as a duck fart. The nurse practitioner could not tell me anything about the surgical procedure I was about to undergo and decided the whole-fasting-before-anethesia was not something I needed to know upfront.

This past Monday, I called the doctor’s office first thing to try to schedule an appointment with the doctor.

“But you had a consultation with the nurse practitioner.”

Yup. But I have questions about the actual surgery that she wasn’t able to answer.

“Did you review the paperwork she gave you?”

Didn’t give me any.

“Well let me put you on with the nurse.”

Oh joy.

When she got on the phone, I said straight off that I was really only calling to schedule an appointment with the doctor so I could get the answers to questions she didn’t know.

“Well I don’t know what you mean Speaker. I spent 45 minutes with you answering all your questions and concerns.”

Uh, what now? The appointment lasted 15 minutes. I should know because it was at 4, I was back in my car at 4:15 and had ample time to slam my head repeatedly into the dining room table, which prompted my husband to call the doctor’s office at 4:30 to try to schedule a new consultation. Office hours being until 5, they of course were already closed for the day so my husband ending up talking to the emergency phone service.

But I guess I was getting my lengthy consult and didn’t realize it.

“You know you were so anxious that I guess you weren’t listening to me.”

This is when I began to wonder if I was on some kind of hidden camera show, like at any moment my doctor and Ashton Kutcher would pop out and yell “We got you! Ha! Okay, here’s how the surgery’s going to go…”

But didn’t happen. I explained that I knew exactly what she said, which was why I was trying to get another consultation. I said: I had to ask you about fasting before anesthesia. I had to ask that! You didn’t even tell me that part. 

“Well I was just trying to help the doctor. And I felt I needed to spend the majority of the time getting you to calm down.”

Okay at this point I’m wondering if she was mixing me up another patient? It’s not like I was swatting at imaginary bees, defecating freely from my bowels and howling like a banshee at the appointment. I might have had a confused look on my face, but that’s because I realized I could be getting better information from a Snapple bottle cap.

I felt I needed to get this train, which was currently heading full-speed to Crazy Town, to make a stop at Saneville. I figured I would be showing my face at this office again and didn’t want her to “accidentally” stab me with her stethoscope. I asked her if she could answer my questions, which she did–poorly–and thanked her. She wished me luck and said she would have the doctor call me.

Still waiting.

I call on Tuesday. When I identify myself, the secretary takes on a tone where I know I have been labeled that difficult, deranged, annoying, lunatic patient. I can almost hear her eyeballs rolling around in her head. I request an appointment with the doctor.

“He’s booked.”

Okay. Well my surgery is in three days and I need to talk to him before I have it.

“I know the nurse talked to the doctor and they said you could cancel.”

Well that’s nice of them to decide that for me. However, I want my tonsils out. I’ve already requested the time off from work, got a substitute in place, met with my sub to go over plans.

“…”  — This is to signify dead air.

I just want 10 minutes. I don’t even need to actually see his face. A phone call. A simple phone call that explains the procedure.

“He can’t give you 10 minutes.”

Alright. Can I ask you a question? Do you think I’m being unreasonable for wanting to talk to the doctor who is going to perform my surgery? It is my body, my health, I’m being put under. Is this so unreasonable?

I sense a whiff of understanding.

“I see you have a post-op scheduled for Oct. 26. Do you want me to schedule a consultation with the doctor?”

Yes. Yes!

“What time?”

Anytime. I will clear my schedule for this appointment.

An hour later, I checked my voicemail on the cell phone I never use and there was a message from the nurse practitioner.

“Hi Speaker, I talked at length with the doctor and told him how anxious you were and he said you didn’t have to go through with it. It’s not a necessary surgery to have and you can continue to live with the condition. Let me know.”

There’s about a .003% chance this doctor will be performing the surgery, but boy do I want to meet with him.