Patient. Until I’m Not.

I got a unique look at myself from the outside the other day. It happened like this: I had a full-blown meltdown in public.

From the inside, it made perfect sense, because it had been building and building and building for hours. So the transition, for me, didn’t seem very abrupt. It was simply the last freakin’ straw.

But from the outside, I must have looked like I was completely and utterly unhinged. “What’s her problem? She was fine a second ago…”

I think most people would say I’m a patient, tolerant person. I take pride in those qualities. But every once in a while, you’ll go too far, and the Kraken gets unleashed.

I had a cold. A bad cold. And I had been struggling with it for three, count ‘em, three weeks. I couldn’t take it anymore. But my doctor had retried. And the new one I want to start seeing wasn’t taking new patients until February. I didn’t want to start up with a third, only to switch a month later. What a hassle. So I decided to go to an urgent care clinic. There’d be no loyalties to break there, right? They live for walk ins.

Indeed they must, because the waiting room was filled to overflowing with what looked like the walking dead. I was informed there would be an hour and a half wait. Sigh.

But what the heck. I just needed someone to prescribe me a z-pack and some cough medication, so when I finally got in, it should only take about 5 minutes. Worth it.

They gave me some “please don’t try to sue us” forms to fill out. Which I did. But even in my oversick, addled brain, I sensed that something was weird. Oh. They didn’t have me fill out anything about my medical history. Uh, don’t they care? They ought to care.

But I was so sick. I asked at the desk. They said to each other, “Oh, she’s urgent care.” The way they said “urgent” led me to believe that we, the urgent ones, actually were their lowest priorities. I was told they’d take care of that when I was called in.

So I settled back in my chair, between the man who was shouting that the birth date on his birth certificate wasn’t really when he was born, and the defeated looking woman with the five kids with green snot running out of their noses. And I think I dozed off out of sheer self-preservation.

Two hours later, I was called in. The usual stuff. Weight. Temperature. Blood pressure. Then the lady sits in front of a computer and starts asking me medical history questions. My answers never quite seemed to fit anything in her drop down menu. So she’d click “other” and have to type things in. Which was just dandy, because she couldn’t spell. I had to spell everything for her, and she kept stopping me in the middle and making me repeat it over, because she was throwing in random letters that I hadn’t said. I wanted to snatch the keyboard from her and do it my danged self. Heaven only knows what their file now says about me.

Thirty minutes later, she tells me the nurse practitioner will be in in a moment. I fell asleep again. When she finally comes in, the nurse practitioner confirms that I am, indeed, very sick. And she prescribes, as predicted, a z-pack and some cough medicine.

She also says she’ll write a doctor’s note so I can miss two days of work, which makes me want to kiss her on the lips. (In Florida, a right to work state, you practically have to be bleeding out of two of the five major orifices before a doctor will even consider writing such a note. God, I love the left coast!)

She says someone will come in and get my pharmacy info and give me the note. And then I can go. Yay!

Indeed, the same illiterate woman comes in, asks me my pharmacy info, and leaves without saying a word, and without giving me the note. I fall back asleep.

I wake up with a snort, look at my phone, and realize I’ve been in the clinic for 3 ½ hours. Seriously? I mean, what the actual F is the hold up? I open the door. I try flagging several staff people as they walk by, not meeting my eyes. I finally get someone I haven’t seen before, and I burst into tears and say, “Look, I’m supposed to have two prescriptions and a doctor’s note, and I’ve been here for 3 ½ hours, and I just want to go home!”

Much scrambling around. Turns out the prescriptions had been called in ages ago. But no one can find the note. They track down the NP, and she confirms that she wrote the note ages ago. Why had nobody printed it out and sent me off? Good freakin’ question.

The note was stuck in the printing queue. The staff had somehow forgotten I was there, and apparently, even though the place was overcrowded, they didn’t find it at all odd that some random woman was snoring in one of their exam rooms.

Finally, the note is printed out and handed to me, but in my sick fog, I can’t find the exit. The woman offers to show me out. Tears are running down my face. She stops. Says I look hungry and thirsty. Offers me a bottle of water and a granola bar.

I look at her. I screech, “I. Just. Want. To go. HOME!!!!!!!!”

All activity around me stops. I’m shown the door.

And I realize that from the inside, what appeared like a well-deserved, slow-building, epic last stand, from the outside probably looked like an abrupt and unexpected temper tantrum. Because I really am a patient person. Until I’m not.

When I got home, I finally read the note, and it only gives me one day off work instead of the promised two. Sigh. Whatever.

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Hey! Look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

6 thoughts on “Patient. Until I’m Not.

  1. Carole Lewis

    I once sat with My then 93 yr young Mother for 5 1/2 hrs. on hard plastic chairs only to find out the DR. wasn’t even in the building. “he is a Surgeon, you know.” She continued with him until she passed at 97+, because he was “Such a nice man” that told her, “Just keep on doing what you’re doing. Actual visit with DR. never over 12 min.

  2. lyn sutton

    Glad you’re better in spite of incompetent medical care. Having been through many similar experiences that span multiple aspects of medical care, what you’ve experienced has become the norm and not the exception. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been misdiagnosed and prescribed harmful medications (causing permanent damage) and when I finally complain I’m told I should reduce my stress. The only stress I have is dealing with the medical world. Even when you get a great doctor you have to deal with all the adjunct medical personnel. So do everything you can to stay healthy because accessing health care is a gamble. And if you do get this sick again, bring someone with you who can advocate for you when you’re so vulnerable.

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