Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Not-So-Funny Riddles of Life

So, what do horses and housework have in common?

They both require a huge block of uninterrupted time in order to complete a simple task.

For instance, if I want to ride a horse in my arena, I first have to clean up all the manure that is in the arena, then I have to halter a horse, groom it, and put on its tack.  Then I have to catch all the other horses that are in the arena and move them to a secure location.  Then I have to clean up all the fresh piles of manure they dropped while I was tacking up the horse I wanted to ride.  By this time at least an hour has passed and I'm usually too exhausted to ride.  But I do it anyway... after locating the mounting block and carrying it into the arena.  Then when I ride, I am usually being interrupted by other horses complaining because their water troughs are empty or low, or by my phone ringing, or by trespassers, or by dogs barking because they need to go outside to potty...  So, essentially after all that work I did, I never get to really ride or meet my training goals because I just can't get a big enough time slot without interruptions.

My example with housework is that in order to truly clean the house without canceling out all the work that came before it, I need several days of uninterrupted time.  The first steps are usually to dust and sweep, because if I vacuum first, then when I dust and sweep, I will move dirt onto the carpet that I just vacuumed.  Usually, I need to steam vac the carpet, but I can't to that without vacuuming first because the dog hair will clog the steam vac.  So, I have to dust and sweep, then vacuum, then steam vac.  Oh, and the steam vac doesn't work that great, so I have to hand-scrub the stains before I steam vac.  Anyway, what usually happens is I either get interrupted halfway through the process with the phone ringing or another, more urgent chore taking priority, or simply because I've run out of time and have to feed the animals, and then I am just too exhausted to finish the process.  In the meantime, people track in all kinds of crud and dust collects on everything so that when I get my energy back, I have to start all over from square one... just like when training horses.

Also, I'm sure this is just me, but I have noticed that every time I am in the middle of paying bills and doing math, the phone rings.  Every time.  My phone rarely rings, yet I can actually force it to ring just by paying the bills.  Isn't that amazing?  I've had to to train myself to ignore the phone when I'm doing math, because if I even so much as glance at the phone to see who is calling, I will either make a mistake in my calculations or forget where I am in the bill paying process and forget to pay a bill.  The other day I actually filled out a check wrong because I was distracted by the phone.  Now I just need to train myself to turn the phone off when I pay bills.

One of the people in this world I know who I have the highest respect for is my tax accountant.  This lady is brilliant and the most professional person I've ever met.  I hesitate to call her because I don't want to interrupt her while she is crunching numbers, but she is so good about multi-tasking that those kinds of interruptions don't affect her.  She's like Superwoman.  I could never be an accountant.  I'd have a nervous breakdown.

Which leads me to another story about setting up appointments.  I called my doctor's office the other day to set up an appointment after they refused to give me a refill for my prescription, and it took 25 minutes of my time to get that appointment set up because I would swear that the girl who answered the phone was a temp who didn't have a clue as to how to do her job.  Then I called my tax accountant, said my name once, said I needed to schedule an appointment, and within 5 seconds everything was set.  My accountant didn't ask me to repeat and spell my name, because despite having hundreds of clients, she remembered me and knew she had my records.  She didn't ask for my phone number.  She just gave me a time and date, I said okay, and we hung up.  Simple as that.

In stark contrast, when I tried to set up the appointment with my doctor, I was asked to repeat and spell my name multiple times.  Apparently, the lady gave up trying to listen and just asked for my birth date to look me up that way.  Once she accessed my birth date, she had to go down the whole list of people who share my birth date saying their names (which breeches confidentiality) because she couldn't remember my name.  I repeated my name to her again, and she put me on hold.

When she returned five minutes later, she asked for my address.  Huh?  I thought we already established who I was.  She needed to make sure I hadn't moved.  I verified my address, then my phone number, then my insurance information, and a few other things before she put me on hold again.

She returned five minutes later and asked why I was calling!!!  I thought she was putting me on hold to look for the next available appointment and was having problems with the computer.  I was calling the scheduling department.  These people don't even have customers coming to a window.  They are call center, meaning they sit at a computer and talk on the phone all day, and they take calls in the order they come.  Everyone who calls them needs an appointment.  So, I specified which doctor I wanted to see in which office, and she put me on hold again.

When she returned five minutes after that, she informed me that my doctor no longer worked there.  Ahhhhhhhhh!  I did so much research to find that particular doctor, and overall, she was great.  Now I had to start my research all over again, but I was short on time, so I just told her to give me a female doctor and I'd see if it works out.  She gave a me choice between two women, but only gave their first names, which I thought was odd.  I picked the one that had the better time slot.

When it came time for my appointment, I discovered that I had not been given a doctor at all, but a nurse.  That's what was up with the first names.  I know it's common to see a PA or Physician's Assistant instead of a doctor, but these were RNs.  When I see a specialist, I expect to see a doctor.  Apparently, something bad went down at the doctor's office and all the doctors quit, so they were desperately trying to stay in business while looking for new doctors.  When I walked out of the examining room, the office was like a ghost town.  I couldn't find a single person to help me navigate the maze to find the door out of the place.  There wasn't even anyone at the billing desk, so I just left.

The nurse ended up doing something invasive to me (I'll spare you the details) that hurt me, and I'm still hurting because of it.  She complained that I have a physical defect that made her job hard, but I've been having that procedure done by doctors for years and no one has ever hurt me before.  I'm telling you, it is so hard to find good help nowadays.  Both the scheduling operator and the nurse sucked.

After I went through all that, I discovered that my old doctor was in the same building, just three floors down at a new medical office.  But of course the scheduler for the other medical office wasn't going to tell me that, because they didn't want to lose my business.  The nurse gave me orders for two more screening procedures, and I still have orders for other screening procedures sitting on my desk that I haven't had time to get to in the past six months.  As you get older, you fall into categories that require more and more routine medical screenings.  I spend so much time just trying to get the routine orders handled that I can't actually get my existing health problems taken care of.

After all that, and after me reminding the nurse TWICE that I needed another year's prescription of this medication, the nurse forgot to put in the order, which was the whole reason why I called to set up the appointment in the first place.  I kept waiting for my pharmacy to text me to say the the prescription was ready and they didn't.  Sometimes they don't text me if it is a new prescription, so I drove into town only to be told that they never received the order.

This doctors' office consistently screws up my prescription orders.  One time they made a mistake in ordering a pill that was supposed to ease the pain of a procedure, even though I was standing right in front of the nurse telling her what to order where.  I forgot all about the pill and went in for my procedure, and the pain was horrific.  I cried throughout the procedure and the surgeon had to abandon it.  All that just because of some incompetent nurse who hit the delete button instead of the submit button.  The state of medical care in today's society is just maddening.  Patients are treated like cattle.  Poke, poke, prod, prod, NEXT!

What really upsets me now is that I really, really, really wanted to make sure that they ordered a year's supply of this medication for me, because they keep ordering me a supply that only lasts 3 months, and then I have to waste time going through all this rigmarole trying to get a refill through the pharmacy only to have the pharmacy say that the doctor's office won't approve the refill.  So, I have to call the doctor's office and explain that they were supposed to give me a year's supply, but cut me short.  Then they give me a new prescription, but for even a smaller quantity, because in their minds it's a partial refill since a quarter of the year has already passed.  They are so dumb that they don't make the connection that I need three times the amount they previously gave me -- not less.

So, this time the nurse promised me she would give me more, and then she didn't give me anything at all.  I asked the pharmacy to contact the doctor's office for me, and the pharmacist requested a refill for the smallest quantity!  I found this out after reading the automated email that came through explaining why there was a delay.  I'm afraid to call the doctor's office to request 120 pills instead of the 30 the pharmacy ordered, because it seems that the harder I try to communicate with people the more mistakes they make.

It's weird, because I could see everyone jerking me around if these were addictive pain pills or a controlled substance, but this is a harmless pill with no side effects that allows me to live my life like a normal person.  I guess these people just don't want me to be normal.

Sorry for the rant.  I have to tell these stories online, because I know at some point someone who has some power in the medical industry will read them and hopefully improve on things for us patients.  People tell me it's the same everywhere.  If you have good medical care, consider yourself lucky.


ellie k said...

Sorry you are having so many things go wrong. We have the most wonderful young dr. When my husband had lung cancer she called us in to tell us and then said go home, my office will take care of your appointments and call you. They did and we never had to do another thing but show up. She and her staff go on and above to take care of us. One of the drs is on call 24 hours a day and you can talk to them if a need arises. Hope you can find someone half as good and you will have a dr.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The prescription still was not filled with the pharmacy ordering it, so I called the doctors' office, was put on hold for 10 minutes, then someone picked up, and immediately hung up on me before I could say two words. I called back -- same thing happened. So, I left a message with the triage nurse, and he/she never bothered to call me back.

The frustrating thing is that if I go to a different medical office to get the prescription, they will have to examine me, and my insurance won't pay for two annual exams.

Katharine Swan said...

Can you ask your pharmacy to contact your doctor's office to refill the previous prescription (which should still be in the system)? Since it's a professional relationship they may have better luck with the doctor's office than you've been having.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - That was what i did when the pharmacy told me they never received the order, and the doctors' office ignored their request. I think that because they lost most of their staff, the remaining staff can't keep up with the patient needs.

Snipe said...

Argh, it's not just me. I hear ya, believe me I do. I went through some very unpleasant days a few months back when my local pharmacy neglected to refill my medication, which was on automatic renewal. Then, they realized they needed to order it Then, it was the generic, which turned out all right. Things were okay for a month or two, but now they have switched it with yet another generic. The medication is delivered via patch, and the newest incarnation is ridiculously large. I started with a patch the size of a quarter. The package for the newest one is the size of a postcard, and the patch itself seems massive. I won't know for sure until I go to change it, but I'm very concerned that such a large area of skin covered in adhesive will get irritated.

Plus, I will need it for the rest of my life, but I only get a month's supply at a time. Every month, I go back to the awful pharmacy and hope they will have it, and in a form that is usable.

I also have the three refills thing, and it drives me up the wall. I called to let them know my prescription needed to be renewed and the receptionist said I needed an appointment for an annual exam. I told her I had had one less than five months ago and was in need of the medication, not an exam. She stonewalled me, referring back to the stupid exam. One of them did something similar when I was trying to get my prescription transferred to another pharmacy. She refused to give me a time frame of when I could expect the transfer to be completed. I told her it was important, I had run out of medicine, but she was adamant. I never received notification, gave up, and went back to my first pharmacy.

It amazes me how cavalier they can be about people's health.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Snipe - Yikes! This whole annual exam thing makes me nuts, because they never get it right in their records. I can't tell you how many times my insurance refused to pay for some exam or some test because it was just a few weeks shy of one year when it was ordered and performed. Now when doctors give me orders for tests, I wait several months before going in just to be safe. We as patients are expected to memorize the dates of our last exams and tests. We have to memorize the dates of our pets' and children's exams and test too. When I ask them to go back in their records and tell me, they get annoyed and act like there is something wrong with me because I can't remember. I don't know of anyone who can remember the dates of all medical procedures for themselves, their family members, three dogs and four horses. That's why we have electronic databases.

I also think it should be against the law to refuse to give someone medication until they have had a wellness exam. The vet did that with my diabetic dog, refusing to give her insulin, which would have killed her. He just wanted his $150 for an unneeded exam. Plus, if I am feeling well, the last thing I want is to go into a doctors' office where I will pick up the latest virus or bacterial infection. I want to tell them to just keep giving me refills until I am sick, and then I will show up for an exam.

Cheryl Ann said...

I hear you, Nuzz. It's the same over here...sigh...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Hallelujah! I'm finally making progress in getting the prescription. I should have had it filled on March 9th, and now it is March 18th. I got a hold of a nurse instead of a recording, and she did some research and found that the nurse who did my exam never ordered the prescription, and two emails had been sent to her requesting that she do it, but she hadn't responded. The nurse I talked to today tracked her down, and made sure the order was put in with the pharmacy. Now she is just verifying that the quantity is enough to last me a year, so that I don't have to go in for another exam in less than a year and have my insurance refuse to pay for it.

Katharine Swan said...

Glad you're making progress! Hope it works!

achieve1dream said...

That is insane!! I hope you can switch back to your other doctor for the next visit. I hope you were able to get the full prescription too!