Monday, April 20, 2009

I have been to a lot of doctor's offices in the past four months. And I mean a lot. I have signed a lot of paperwork. And filled out many, many forms. Recently I have noticed that at several doctor's offices you are required to sign a form that says if you are more than fifteen minutes late or you don't show up for an appointment then you will be billed. Fine. Sounds like a logical plan. I am not personally in the habit of showing up late or not showing up at all, but I am sure it happens. And I am sure this is just one way that the doctor's cover their time and their money. With all of that being said, I am curious about one thing. When the patient has to wait more than fifteen minutes to be seen do they automatically qualify for a reduced charge or even a free visit? Ha, ha. Not likely. Matter of fact, I know from personal experience that you can sit for over an hour before being seen and all you get is an apology, if that. 

Morgan Kate and I had two appointments today at two different doctor's offices. The first appointment was for me. I had to stop by my doctor's office to have some bloodwork done to check my thyroid level. My appointment was at 2:00. I arrived promptly, updated my info and within five or so minutes I was called back to be seen. Ten minutes later I was leaving. Perfect visit. In and out in a very timely manner. Great day so far.

Our second appointment was at 3:45. This appointment was for Morgan Kate. We arrived at 3:35, ten minutes early. We checked in, updated our info and began our wait. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. While we were waiting MK had a major blow out. I politely asked if there was a bathroom where I could take her to change her. I found out that there are plenty of bathrooms in this building, but not a single one has a changing table. That's right. We are in a building for CHILDREN, but there are no changing tables. None. And all of the patient rooms are currently filled. I contemplate going back to the car, but then worry that we might actually get called and miss it. Finally, at 4:35 we are called to go back. And at this time MK's diaper is beginning to leak. Yeah. Gross. Once back in the room I change her and again we begin to wait, and wait, and wait. At 5:10 the doctor finally comes in to see us. Now waiting for an hour and twenty minutes may not seem like a very long time, but when you are waiting with a baby it is an extremely long time. Don't get me wrong. Aside from the blow out, Morgan Kate did an awesome job. She was perfectly content and happy and smiling. But after so long anyone would begin to get tired and bored. So around 5ish or so MK had had enough. Once the doctor came in he only spent about ten minutes with us. Yep. I paid a $40 co-pay to wait for over an hour and see the doctor for ten minutes. When I finally went to check out everyone in the office was gone. So MK's chart is sitting on the desk and I am supposed to call back in the morning to schedule a follow-up appointment. Yep, I see that happening.

Sorry if I sound a little upset, but I am. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that patients are expected to wait that long. I realize that things come up and it's often times difficult to stay on an exact schedule. But waiting for almost an hour and a half is just ridiculous. I also realize that emergency situations arise in doctor offices everyday that alter their schedule. However, in that case patients should be notified of the wait time and given the option to reschedule. As a teacher I hold parent-teacher conferences. Can you imagine what would happen if I expected a parent to wait that long to see me? Ha!  

So it seems to me that basically by signing that form the doctor is telling me that his time is precious. However, by making me wait for over an hour to be seen the doctor is telling me that my time is not.

Not only did we have to wait for what seemed like an eternity, but then we didn't get such great news either. Since the end of February MK has grown two and a half inches (which is great), but only gained a pound. And in the past two weeks she hasn't gained any weight at all, despite the extra ounces she is taking each day. 

I'll try to explain. When MK was taking the Neocate we were mixing it so that it had more calories. Basic powder formula has 20 calories per ounce, but we were mixing it so that it had 27 per ounce. Most preemies need that. When we started the Gentlease we didn't mix it that way because we just wanted to see if she would take and how she would do on it. She is taking it and she's doing great with it, but now we have to start mixing it so that it is 27 calories. It's a very simple fix, but just frustrating because we have been busting our tails to get every ounce in and it hasn't even helped. So as of this hour our game plan is to try the new "mix" and come back in two months. I don't think so. No thank you. I will be calling our ped in the morning to come in for a weight check there. And if the scales reveal the same thing (no weight gain) then I will get her equation for increasing calories and go from there. 

Oh and I learned two valuable "mommy lessons" today. One, always carry a plastic bag with you. This bag will come in handy in case of an accident that creeps up your child's back. Secondly, always have an extra set of clothes on hand. I am really proud of myself because I didn't have the bag, but I did have the extra clothes. Yay for me! Oh, and I guess there were three. The third being, always, always, always have an extra bottle on hand just in case your "quick trip" turns into an all afternoon adventure. Today would have been an excellent day to be breastfeeding. Ha!


Hollie Heming said...

WOW! You made it through your first mommy ordeal on your own! Welcome to the club...hahaha

First one down, and we probably have about 1 million to go :).
Love you!

Melissa and Sam said...

Wow! Yeah, wonder what would happen if we refuse to sign those forms?!!
I had a friend that waited at a doctor's office for a while and she eventually got fed up- she went straight to the window and said that her time was just as important as his and said she'd call to reschedule- too funny you two!
Can't wait to hear about the weigh in tomorrow.


Kerri Roberts said...

So stinkin true! You should start a revolution for us parents, but then I wonder if the good doctors wold hold that against us???

Denise said...

It makes me mad when that happens too, thankfully it's only been once, but still, that's crazy.

And just so ya know, I am ok with Parker needing PT, I guess it just hit me hard!

Elizabeth Graham said...

Oh wow. I seriously hear you on this one. It is ridiculous to expect a parent of a baby to wait this long. Its ridiculous for anyone to have to wait this long. We should be given the option to reschedule if they are running late first thing. We actually take the kids to the pediatric clinic in Orangeburg and end up saving time, even with the drive. We never have to wait. But we have also taken the kids to other doctors where we have had to wait hours as well. I always bring 3 bottles with me with water in them whenever I go somewhere. I put warm water in one for an immediate bottle, and then hot water in the next two, so it will be warm later on. You can get a little keychain thing from walmart with plastic bags in it for dirty diapers... but they actually work very well for soiled clothing as well! We've been there. Sorry you guys didnt have the best day... heres to better days!!

Heather said...

Wow. What an eventful day. Congrats on making it home without any major incidents.

I, too, do not feel like we should have to wait to be seen. I do understand that emergencies arise and everything, but keep your other patients informed. Especially those with small children. Our pedi really doesn't like it when tiny babies (or preemies) are weighed on other scales because different brands of scales may be off. I like the idea of taking her to your pedi and checking her weight there. I hope she has gained some.

The Fricks said...

I feel your pain on this one. One time we took Josie (in her leg braces) to the orthopedist at 2 weeks old and waited for 3 hours. By the time you invest in an hour or so, and they tell you it'll only be a while longer, you keep waiting. There was no place to feed her. I went back to the car several times (cause I was breastfeeding and we didn't really have a schedule down yet). It was horrible. Now every time we go to our ped its an hour wait and I usually have both of them. Doctors do value their time, but mommy's time...not so much. I'm glad you made it through your first "outing ordeal" ok. You live and you learn. I think that's what this mommy thing is all about.

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather,
I have been tempted to ask for my wages for the wait time. Wonder what kind of response I would get? I value them and arrive early to do would be nice if they did the same. Had a same day procedure done a couple weeks ago and was told they only did these during the morning hours. So, being as I could not work that day (anesthesia) I scheduled it for the day I have an afternoon off and put in for 1/2 sick day....I sat and sat and finally was taken back at 12:45! I took a 1/2 sick day for nothing...could have worked until 12:00 as usual. Think I should send him a bill for 4 hrs? HaHa Love you, Phala

sherry adkins said...

Wow sure sounds like a welcome to Mommy frustrations yesterday!!!

Sure sounds like you handled it great though.

I am always amazed at the doctors attitudes.

I once had someone tell me that having children is one of the greatest patience builders we can have. it sure is as a grandparent too. I'm not so sure it ever ends!!!

Good luck with the formua change.

Jenny Garris said...

Tell that dr. that MK lost all that weight while she was starving in the waiting room for so long!!! ;)
Seriously, you are SO right in being frustrated! I think I'll refuse to sign that paper next time!

Allison Babb said...

Obviously you do not see the same thyroid doctor that I see. I have never been to that office when the wait has been less than and hour and he never sees me for more than 10 minutes. I keep saying after the pregnancy I am going to find a new one! I can't imagine doing this with a baby. My next appointment is in June so I guess I will be posting a very similar wait all day story with a newborn then.... I hate doctors offices!

Stephanie said...

I'm right with you on this! Obviously when it comes to doctors their time is more valuable than ours..or to them at least it is.

I can't believe you were in a childrens doctor office and they didn't have a changing table. That's INSANE!

We almost always wait at least an hour when we go to our doctor. It's always stressful when you have babies with you...I dread taking four kids to the doctors office and having to wait so long so I definitely feel your pain!