Friday, January 29, 2016

I Was Wrong To Give My Doctor A 2nd Chance

It was just 2 weeks ago when I wrote about how switching to a new primary care physician closer to home was off to a rough start and how I wanted to try to make things work. Well, turns out I made a horrible mistake. I gave them a 2nd chance and figured as soon as I got my meds, getting the refills wouldn't be a hassle.

I left my 2nd office appointment with a promise from the doctor that she would sort out the mistake that was made with my muscle relaxer. You see, the random person who answers the phone in her office decided all on her own to send in my prescription for a 30 day supply despite me explaining to her that because I get these in the mail it has to be for a 90 day supply. When the 30 day supply of pills arrived and I was being charged for a 90 day supply I called the pharmacy and explained that the office help made a mistake, the pharmacy reached out to the office to allow them a chance to correct the mistake and make things right.

The doctor never followed up on this matter and when the corrected pills didn't arrive I called the pharmacy again and requested that they reach out a second time to the office. I then called the doctor's office and left a very detailed message (because nobody ever picks up the phone) explaining the mistake and what needed to happen to correct the mistake. I even explained that if they didn't follow up on this I would be forced to pay for 2 months worth of pills I never received and asked that someone call me back so we could work this out.

Nobody ever called me back (of course) so I called them after about 4 days. This time I tried calling right away when they opened and I actually did reach a real person. So I explained that I was trying to resolve a mistake with one of my prescriptions. I was told everything was taken care of but when I pressed for more details I realized that they sent in a new prescription and didn't give me any refills. I asked why there were no refills when the doctor told me just the week prior that she would give me 3. I was told it was the office policy not to give any refills (lie!). I tried to explain why that doesn't make any sense and how that conflicts with what my doctor had told me.

This is when she cut me off - put me on hold, where I stayed for 10 minutes before being hung up on. Of course when I called back I got the voice mail again. The land where messages go unanswered indefinitely. I left a very angry message and demanded that I receive a call back. Nobody called back.

Not only do the idiots answering phones have the ability to make decisions about my health care but they also have complete control over me accessing help. Unacceptable and Scary!!!

Obviously, I need to find a new doctor. I am so pissed off by how I've been treated and even more pissed off at the lack of accountability and care.

I spent an entire morning searching online for a new PCP. I stumbled upon an article from a different hospital system in the area about how two of their doctors were branching out into their own private practice. When I called out to their office a perky and polite woman answered right away and was very helpful. Because they are new, I was able to get an appointment scheduled for next week. There is nothing that could happen with this new doctor that could be any worse than shit storm of careless imbeciles I've been dealing with for the past couple months.

I still believe, in general, it's good to try to make things work with a doctor even when things are not ideal. But in hindsight I should have taken the red flags I was seeing at the beginning of the month as evidence that this was a situation beyond reason. Last week, as I was writing the post about how much better my dog's vet is than my doctor, I realized just how bad it was - and just how wrong that is. I know I'll never find a doctor practice as good as the vet practice Gypsy goes to but I demand something better than what I've been dealing with.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday - Bland Man Sketch from SNL

SNL has done it again - a great spoof of The Bachelor. If you're a fan of The Bachelor (Bachelorette) shows on ABC you'll get a kick out of this one.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Carelessness Epidemic

Sometimes I feel like carelessness has become an epidemic. Every time I leave the house I encounter careless drivers focused on their cell phones, careless clerks so engaged in conversations with coworkers they can't be bothered to even acknowledge me, careless grocers who just don't do regular cleaning, careless medical assistants who are unconcerned with accuracy, careless craftsmen who cut corners or do sloppy work...

Are they self absorbed? Are they distracted? Are they just so miserable that they have given up on caring? 

I can't pretend to understand what all is causing this epidemic but I'm getting pretty sick of it. 

I keep trying to come up with a solution to help insulate myself from the effects of this carelessness but I'm beginning to think this is not possible. I can be vigilant on the road but I can't entirely prevent someone else from causing an accident. I can't make someone care about their job or adapt a positive attitude. Perhaps the only thing I can do is try to not let it bother me so much. 

I have not idea how to accomplish that but I believe if I can figure out how, I can cut back on the stress I feel when encountering carelessness. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I Wish My Doctor was as Good as my Dog's Vet

I wish my doctor was as good as the vet our dog Gypsy goes to.

The whole practice is fairly small with only 2 full-time vets and 1 part-time, plus several techs. As much as we try to be consistent and see the same vet every time, when an urgent need arises we see whoever is available. That has happened enough that all 3 vets have now treated her. To my amazement, it actually doesn't matter which vet we see because the service provided is always excellent, patient, gentle, thorough and professional.

And it's not like Gypsy is a dream patient. Quite the opposite. She screams and poops and must be muzzled before anyone else can safely touch her. Yet every single person in that office treats both of us with kindness and respect. They all know what they are doing and they all do it with a great attitude - every single time.

Lucky Dog!
Most of the time, when I go to any doctor's office the staff often seems stressed out and slightly annoyed that they have to deal with me at all. I've encountered a few offices over the years and through my travels with wonderful staff, but they are not common.

Whenever something small comes up and I just want to talk to the vet I can call the office and know that the vet will call me back that same day so we can discuss what's happening. She really takes the time to listen, think, sometimes do research and explain everything to me. Then she will give me advice and direct me to a solution. On top of all that, she will call back to follow up and see how things went after a few weeks. That's the vet calling back. All of this at no charge.

If I was to call my doctor's office and say I wanted to just ask my doctor a question, I would be told to make an appointment. Even if I didn't need to be seen or examined I would never be allowed to talk to the doc without coming in and paying money. And even when I come in the doc never has the time to really sit down and listen to me or think about my specific situation. They certainly never explain anything, or do research, or follow up to see how things went.

I cherish the wonderful relationship we have with the entire vet practice Gypsy goes to. We all have a common goal (the health and wellness of Gypsy) and we have developed a great partnership to achieve that goal. All of us recognizing and respecting the role we each play. Isn't that what we should have with our doctors?

Whatever it should be, it certainly never measures up to the level of service and care my dog is getting at our vet's office. I'm actually jealous.

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Can't Even Believe It's This Hard to Find a Good Grocery Store

I hate grocery shopping. Basically, I've felt this way since leaving my hometown, where most things just made more sense. But I've never hated it more than I do since moving to the St. Louis area. This past summer I wrote about the trouble we were having finding a store that had nice produce and carried the other essentials we need. 

We thought we had discovered a store that was clean, had most of what we needed and was close to our house. Unfortunately, it appears we caught the store on a rare good week when we first visited. Since then we have learned that the produce isn't good, the shelves are usually understocked and, worst of all, the store reeks of either rotting fish or spoiled food almost all the time. It was especially bad this past week -  I could hardly stand to be in there. The other customers didn't seem to care -  I can't for the life of me figure out why.

At this point, I've given up completely on the stores in our area. We have found a nicer store in a ritzy part of town and have since learned that this is where the owner of the chain shops so we are quite optimistic we'll be able to get most of our needs addressed at this location. It's a good 20 minute drive from our house but the store is clean, so far the produce has been good, the lighting is good (for a grocery store), and I have yet to leave this location feeling angry and frustrated by the experience. I will travel for better food and a better experience, but I'm quite annoyed that I have to.

What I wouldn't give for the consistency, quality and customer service I became accustomed to back in good old Rochester, Minnesota. I can't even believe it's this hard to find a good grocery store around here. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

With SNL still on break I thought I would share a funny skit from this past fall.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trying to Make a Rocky Relationship With My New Doctor Work

This past May I started seeing a new PCP. The idea was to find someone with an office closer to our house and someone who didn't mind continuing on my current medication plan, on top of that I wanted a doc to turn to if something comes up outside of my usual chronic migraines, fibromyalgia and endometreosis.

So far the experience has been bumpy. She is one of only two physicians in the office but they are part of this massive medical/hospital network in the area. The women who work in the office don't seem to grasp the importance of accuracy and precision so my prescriptions are not being handled accurately. Between the mistakes being made by the doctor's support staff and the mistakes being made by Optum Rx, I'm again having to spend a bunch of time trying to correct these problems.

I tried to call the office a couple weeks ago and left a message on the voicemail system. It took them an entire week to return my call. A WEEK! I gave up on them after a couple days and was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to get my prescription. When I finally got a call back, the gal explained that it took so long because she was on vacation the previous week. So apparently there is no contingency plan for vacation and illness so the entire office just falls apart when someone isn't there. So fingers crossed that I don't need to get in touch with my doctor during another vacation or illness.

I expressed my frustration over these matters during my visit with her yesterday. She explained that the office has been understaffed for quite some time despite her pleas for help over the past year. Her only suggestion was that I sign up for the network's patient portal and use that as a means of contacting the office. I'm not entirely comfortable with this simply from a privacy standpoint. I guess I'm just not convinced they can keep my information safe and secure. Plus, I'm don't really see how this is would solve the problem of being understaffed. If they can't return phone calls they can't return online messages either, right?

As far as the mistakes being made by her staff she basically just said there isn't anything she can do about that.

Her responses to the big communication problems at her office lead me to believe she doesn't have any power. Her support staff are employees of the larger medical facility they all work for and do not work for her. She is also just an employee doing her thing. And clearly the larger facility doesn't really care.

I have some serious misgivings between her lack of power and the poor job her support staff is doing. Ideally, I could find a doctor who runs his or her own practice and is competent, compassionate, reasonable, respectful and who demands the same from the staff. Finding an ideal situation may not be realistic and certainly wouldn't be easy.

I don't want to spend the next 8 years doctor hopping but I do believe patients should be treated better than this. After reflecting on the situation and trying to look at the big picture I've decided that I want to try to make it work with this doctor because I believe it will prove to be less time consuming and less stressful.

Now, we were able to make a plan for my medications and will meet every 6 months to go over stuff. I think if we can get her name on all my regular meds and get them squared away then things should smooth out on that front, despite the support staff's lack of care. Beyond that, my needs are not significant because she will not be treating my migraines, fibromyalgia or endometreosis. Her only role will be looking at the big picture, taking blood and helping me if something new comes up. She does seem open to listening and she is fairly easy to talk to so I want to try to make this work for now.

Time will tell if I'm making the right decision.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

I had this song in my head this morning. The video feels pretty dated by now but I still love this song. Timeless and fun.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 4, 2016


I'm sick again! Terribly frustrating!

I don't know where it came from but I started to get a sore throat last night. Initially, I figured it was the result of too much dust being kicked up as I started packing away my Christmas decorations and dusting both the decorations and the surfaces they were on. It wasn't until about 4am that I realized I was actually getting sick - quickly and severely.

I feel like I've been hit by a truck. My whole body hurts, my throat is on fire and every swallow feels like shards of glass. I don't have a fever, yet, but I am starting to feel a bit chilled.

I think this is going to be a tough week. Maybe I should have gotten that flu shot...