Following Up

I spent a bit of time on the phone with the doctor’s office today.

I like to think I am a pretty easygoing person. People have bad days, I get it; god knows I have them, too. But the doctor who we saw on Friday took bad day from cranky to… I don’t want to say neglectful, because there are a lot of negative – and justifiably so – connotations with that word. But to say a certain basic quality of care was lacking would not be wrong.

A brief, cursory visit, especially on a busy day, is understandable. The office was full of kids, most of them there for start-of-school health checks. Getting people in and out in a timely manner is important. That said, taking ten seconds to look at the chart to find out tiny details like the patient’s name, the parent’s name, all that good stuff? Not a horrible thing.

Another not horrible thing: listening. Repeating yourself over and over gets old, especially when the person who is supposed to be paying attention looks – and acts – like he or she would rather be anywhere else but there. Telling the doctor about the previous CT scan three times in the space of five minutes wasn’t fun. Nor was being called by the wrong name, but that is my own personal whatever and an easy mistake. And having to repeat her medication allergy three times was a little annoying.

The odd combination of lack of listening and (seemingly) lack of caring triggered the biggest problem. Charlotte’s antibiotics were sent to the pharmacy. Now, I was told that the infection was incredibly serious, the sooner I could get her on medication the better, and all sorts of other things that would make anyone’s heart simultaneously drop to their toes and climb into their throat. Unfortunately, by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, the pharmacy was closed for lunch.

Damn.

As the doctor was going to be calling in the prescriptions, we headed home and had lunch and Charlotte went down for a nap. I called a few hours later to make sure they had received the information. They had, but needed clarification on both parts ordered. I wait, David came home, and around 5:30 I went to the pharmacy to pick them up.

Remember, our appointment was before lunch. I called well before I arrived to make sure they were there.

The pharmacy never received clarification. It was now after 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon. In addition, after talking to the pharmacist, I discovered just how far the doctor’s non-listening skills stretched: The antibiotic he prescribed? Yeah, it was the one that causes Charlotte to break out in nasty, welting hives. The one that I told him three times was her allergy.

It took some scrambling and several calls to the after-hours answering service but she was able to get the medications she needs. She seems to be doing much better – the infection is gone, from what my non-medically trained eyes can see – and things are back to the non-normal of normal that they are here on most days.

But I still spent a while on the phone with the doctor’s office. I don’t want to put Charlotte to be seen by someone who will pay so little attention to what is being said that her health could potentially be at risk. Especially in regards to something that may require surgery, by this doctor’s own words. She will be seen by the nurse practitioners instead. They have seen her before, they know her.

And they listen.

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