Stay-Puff Marshmallow Woman

By: Jane

May 31 2011

Category: Injury/Illness

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Focal Length:3.85mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:iPhone 4

The saga continues:

Tuesday morning Jane arose, had a cup of coffee, and was chauffeured by her trusty sidekick, Steve, to school, so she could arrange lesson plans and materials for the substitute. Upon their return to the homestead, Jane tried numerous ways to contact and procure information from her insurance carrier. By phone, she answered yes and pressed one several times, only to reach a dead-end when the information she wanted wasn’t on the automated menu. “Ok”, she thought. “Let’s try going online.” Once she had typed in her insurance number, created her user name and password, confirmed her password and answered a few survey questions, she tried to find the doctor who was going to treat her on the eligibility list. There were several confusing ways to search, and none of them worked. Giving up in frustration, she called the doctor’s office to confirm her appointment. She was referred to the person who does the scheduling for the particular doctor she sought.

” Hello. This is Susie Scheduler. I am either on the phone or away from my desk, so please leave your name, date of birth and phone number, and I’ll get back to you.”

2 hours later, no one had called, but Jane had, at least, finally managed to get an appointment with her primary care provider, which was her preference anyway.

SO…’s where the cute story telling ends, and I just say it like it is. It’s taken 4 days to get me to this point, but I am now officially MAD. All of the automated answering technology and answering services have but one purpose: to get between the patient and the medical provider until such time as the provider decides whether or not they want to help. The third time I reached my doctor’s answering service and reiterated that the E.R. Doctor had told me to have my hand looked at within 48 hours, she responded,
” Well, that’s not going to happen.”
So I asked who was on call and she replied,
“She’s on call, but she’s not going to see you. She’s out of the office until Tuesday.”.
In exasperation I asked, “Then what do I do?”
She must have heard the frustration in my voice, because she said that she would have the doctor call me, and took my information for the third time. It was 12 hours before the doctor called.

When I saw the doctor today, I told her all of this. She apologized and said that her service had erred; she was not on call this weekend and they should have given me the name and number of the doctor who was. She did not get the message until much later than she should have.

I know from talking with my son, ( the only health care professional I’m not mad at right now), that there are reasons that boundaries between patients and health care providers need to be preserved. Doctors need a respite from work as much as any of us. Three or four doctors who decided to work together to make sure that one of them was always available and accessible would clean up. But I wonder how often they hear a complete story such as this one. It’s been one roadblock after another, and I managed to hold my frustration in check until today. But seriously, my hand looks as if I’m the Stay Puff Marshmallow Woman, it’s been very painful, and for all I knew I could have needed an amputation by this time. Look at the picture and take note of the difference in the size of the fingers.

Fortunately for me, we have a health care professional in the family who kept a watchful eye on me and kept me from panicking, but not everyone does. Thank you, Ray, for taking such good care of ol’ Mom.


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