Sunday, March 15, 2009

~Random Conversations with Complete Strangers~

After Timeout for Women at Benaroya Hall, my friend, Julie, sister-in-law, DeeAnn, and I went down to the Market (that's Pike Place Market for you tourists) to get doughnuts.

Doughnut Guy (DG): Are you a librarian?

Me: No.

DG: What do you do?

Me: I'm a seamstress.

DG: What do you make?

Me: I do alterations and costumes.

DG: Cool.

And then he gave us extra doughnuts.

Friday, March 06, 2009

~Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run~

Who knew I would ever be able to quote Kenny Rogers in my blog?

But seriously, at which point should I have walked/ran out the door?

A few weeks ago I took MonaLisa in for her annual eye exam. The good news was that since she started doing the Computer Orthoptics program, she no longer has double vision. Which means she's no longer far-sighted and no longer needs glasses. The bad news was that she failed her glaucoma test, again. She went to a pediatric ophthalmologist (Dr. E) last year who did some tests and said she was fine.

So, this is where my frustration began. Dr. E had sent our optometrist (Dr. G) somebody else's chart notes. That's just my assumption, the notes did have MonaLisa's name on them, but the tests I was supposedly told to come back and get in a month were done at the only appointment I took her too. Granted, I wasn't impressed with Dr. E to begin with, but I never thought he'd send the wrong notes. I didn't want to go back to him, but his partner (Dr. H) and Dr. G's partner were old friends. So, I agreed to see Dr. H.

The next day Dr. H's office called (I could tell by caller ID) and asked for "Rebecca." I said there was no Rebecca there, but there was a Becky. And the receptionist said, "Oh, that must be the OTHER name she goes by." And I said, "No, my name is Becky." And she said, "Well, can I talk to her?" What part of MY name is Becky did she miss?

I set up an appointment with Dr. H. Although she totally discouraged that and was insisting that MonaLisa see Dr. E. After a few minutes of back and forth I convinced her to set up the appointment with Dr. H. Then I ask her to send me the paperwork so I can fill it out in advance. She gives me the website and tells me to do it online. Sounds good, right?

I fill out the paperwork online. It took me OVER AN HOUR!!! The program was horrible.

On the day of the appointment (March 2), I notice there is no suite number on the business card. So, I call the number and get the holiday recording saying when they were going to be out of the office over Christmas and New Years.

We arrive at the building. I can't find the office on the sign in the lobby. Then I notice there is a small typed paper beneath the sign saying they are on the fourth floor. We take the elevator to the fourth floor. We can't find a sign for their office ANYWHERE. Finally I go into a very empty looking office with a woman on the phone. I stand at the desk, not saying a word. She is obviously ON HOLD. She says to me, "Excuse me, but I'm on the phone. I'll help you in a few minutes." And I say, I don't even know if I'm in the right place. She says the name of the practice and I say okay and sit down.

There were eight people in the waiting room and four chairs. MonaLisa sat on my lap.

The lady gets off the phone. She calls me over. I tell her my daughter's name and who I'm there to see. Then I notice she is working out of a handwritten appointment book and that my daughter's name is on a little sticky note at the top of the page. It wasn't written in as an appointment.

She hands me a clipboard and tells me to fill out the forms. I tell her I did it online and it took me over an hour and I wasn't doing it again. She says I must not have sent it. I tell her received an e-mail confirmation and that she needs to find it.

She sends me to another waiting room. Oh, good. More chairs. Nope. It's an open area with boxes of toys and books scattered all over the floor and four more chairs. Eventually there are 13 of us in this waiting area.

At this point I call the Bear. I tell him I'm ready to walk out. He says I should at least meet the doctor and see if I like her. Okay.

50 minutes after MonaLisa's "appointment" time a guy in a lab coat approaches us and asks who we are there to see. I tell him Dr. H. and he takes us back to a room and says he'll go get the chart. He comes back with an EMPTY folder. He starts to treat us as if this were an annual eye exam. I tell him we're there because she failed the glaucoma test. So, completely on my word, he starts the process.

Sidenote: ever since MonaLisa had to have complete eye make-up done at her first dance studio--we're talking liquid eyeliner and full mascara on a three-year-old (yes, we were told, they're supposed to look like hookers)--she's freaked out when you come near her eyes. So, I already knew it would not be a good experience.

First eyedrops. Yeah, that was fun. Then he tries to put a hand held machine on her eyeball. Not gonna happen. Guess, he'll let the doctor do it. Isn't that why we were there?

Finally Dr. H comes in. She doesn't have the "chart." I tell her why we're there and what her assistant has done. Again, she takes my word. She can't get the machine near MonaLisa's eye. She decides to do it a different way. With a bigger machine and a bright light. Because that's better?

She decides she'll just dilate MonaLisa's eyes and look at her nerves and see if there's damage. After more eyedrops I ask her how accurate that is. Well, it's NOT AT ALL.

I start to have a talk with MonaLisa about how she really needs to relax and let her do the test and what can I do to help her get through it. Then Dr. H tells her she's too old too be acting like she is and she is wasting everyone's time. (At this point we're 90 minutes past the time of her appointment--yeah, we're wasting her time.)

After some deep breathing and calming conversation MonaLisa's ready for the test. By now we need new numbing drops. So, after more deep breathing and calming conversation the test is done. 20 is the highest it should be. 33 was her score at Dr. G's office. 9 was her score with Dr. H.
Dr. H leaves the room. She returns 20 minutes later. She looks at MonaLisa's optic nerves. We're told since there was such a discrepancy in the eye pressure tests we need to come back in 6 months. I tell Dr. H it's not going to happen. We'll find a more professional office. She's COMPLETELY surprised. She asks what happened. I tell her the gist. She tells me that it was their first day in that office, the furniture company went bankrupt and took all their money, and that their computers and fax machines weren't set up yet. Although putting a sign on their door would be a great idea.

I tell her that I have a job due in two hours and since I've been in her office for 2 hours and 20 minutes I won't have time to finish it. And she offers to WRITE ME A NOTE.

Um, yeah. The job I have is altering the clothes for a woman who is going to visit her daughter in a religious community and has a specific dress code. She's getting on a plane and a note WILL NOT help. (By this point in the story the Bear is almost in tears, he's laughing so hard. I'm not amused until he points out how funny it would be for Cheryl to hand the note to the person at the gate--at which point St. Peter pops into my head--and explain that it's a note from her seamstress's daughter's ophthalmologist about why she doesn't have the proper attire and after traveling 1500 miles, could she still see her daughter? Yes, I suppose that is pretty funny.)

As I leave the office, there were two women at the front desk and before the door closes I hear one of them say, "That's the bitch I was telling you about." (You all know I have no qualms about getting people fired for extraordinarily bad service, but I figured they were a perfect match.)

But, seriously, at what point should I have walked out?

And do any of you know a good pediatric ophthalmologist? I only have six months to find one.