Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Day (off of ) My Life in the Doctor's Office

I appreciate the fact that I have health insurance.

                   Let me say that again.

I appreciate the fact that I have health insurance.

The thing is . . . . . .

For YEARS, my health insurance was Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

GREAT health insurance company,
     and I don't believe I ever ran into any situation where people turned me down
or grimaced at the sound of those words coming out of my mouth.

Then, one day . . . . . .
     my ex-husband informed me that his company would be switching to
(Kaiser).   I say that with a whisper.

I had heard about (Kaiser), over the years.

People either seemed to LOVE them, or HATE them.

Fortunately, the plan that we were on,
     my kids were able to continue seeing the same pediatrician and allergist -
our two most frequented doctors, and they are both WONDERFUL.

     If I had to give them up, I think I would cry.

Yes.  They are that good.  

     My first lesson about (Kaiser) is that if there is a prescription to be filled,
          one must only go to the (Kaiser Building) to get the prescription filled.

     Should one DARE go to the local and convenient drugstore for prescriptions
           (as one is accustomed to doing),
     and should one DARE mutter the word (Kaiser)
          when asked what insurance company one has, one will get the "look".

And, don't even try to hand the insurance card to the person who gave you the look.

It's like trying to hand over poison.

One will get the "look", and then a second "look",
and sometimes even a "snicker",
then a flat out . . . . . .



My first experience with a (Kaiser doctor) in the (Kaiser building ) was not the most pleasant.

It was an eye appointment for my daughter, who needed new contacts and glasses.

Now, keep in mind, that when one calls to make an appointment for a (Kaiser doctor),
     the person on the other end of the phone is nowhere within reach
by an arm, 
a spitball, 
a slingshot . . . . . . 
 or even a human cannonball.

As I mentioned, my daughter needed an appointment for renewed contacts AND glasses.

Which, by the way, is what I told the "appointment person" over the phone.  

HOWEVER, apparently we were entered in the "system" as only needing new contacts.

They would not even LOOK at her as an "eyeglass patient".   

We would have to make a NEW and SEPARATE appointment for that. 

My next experience with Kaiser was even worse.

I called the "appointment person"  . . . . . . 

  . . . . . . and though he could not schedule me an appointment with my "assigned doctor",
     he had an opening with another doctor at 3:50.

My sinuses were pounding from what I was sure was a sinus infection, so I said,

     "I'll take it!"

I had never actually seen my "assigned doctor", anyways,
     so it did not really make any difference to me. 

I showed up at 3:40, and when I signed in,
     the receptionist informed me that the doctor was running about 30 minutes late.

This was not shocking news, having been an experienced "doctors office frequenter", over the years.

I found a good gossip magazine, and a comfortable place to sit.

After sometime, a nurse called me back to take my temperature, weight, and blood pressure,
     then sent me back to my magazine, in the waiting room.

There was no warmth, personality, or sense of humor in the process.

Like a factory worker, the nurse was pulling the patients in, and shoving them out.    

The good news was that I had lost two pounds!     


  By the time I had read my magazine front and back,
and was engrossed in a show on the Home & Garden Channel,
     another nurse called me back to a room, where I sat to wait for the doctor. 

I sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and sat.  

By the time I peeked my head out of the door, it was 5:13.

I had to be somewhere at 5:30, and could no longer wait.

When I walked out into the hallway, I could hear the muffled voices of a doctor with a patient
     nearby, but there were no nurses in sight.

Just an hour before, there were nurses and patients bustling around,

and now it was like a ghost town.

When I walked out into the waiting room,

     the light was turned off in the reception area,

and the receptionist was . . . . . . gone.

 A frail looking woman (the only patient remaining) said,

     "She left.  She's gone."
     "I have been waiting to see a doctor since 3:50," I told her.
     "I hope you have not been waiting that long."

There was no response.

As I walked away angry and frustrated,
     I felt like I had just been trapped in an episode of The Twilight Zone. 

The next day, I needed to make a routine cardiology appointment for my teenage son.

The pediatrician had given me a list of recommendations.

I dreaded making the calls to ask about insurance.  

I was prepared to go through the entire list,
     having to repeat the sound of the word (Kaiser) again and again,
only to be rejected . . . . . .  over and over.

BUT, it was my lucky day, apparently, because on the very first call. . . . . .

     "Do you take . . . . . . gulp . . . . . . (Kaiser) ?"  I asked.

"Yes we do!" the voice responded.


I felt like I had just won the jackpot.  



No comments:

Post a Comment