Last week I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for 9:15 AM. I got the boys on the bus and dropped Small at preschool and arrived a few minutes early for my appointment. When the receptionist checked me in, she gently reminded me that I had a balance on my account.
Hmm . . . that’s strange. I’ve only been here once before and we pay our bills on time. She explained: I had missed my previously scheduled appointment.
Indeed, I had missed my appointment. I called the office on the day of my appointment to notify them that I would not be able to make it. At this point I don’t even remember my reason, but I know it had something to do with preschool or child care or something. There was a damn good reason why I missed that appointment.
I was annoyed at having to pay a fee, which I figured would be about $25.
“But I called in,” I explained to the receptionist.
“Yes, but it’s hard for us to fill those early morning appointments. The doctor loses money, so she implemented a $75 no-show policy,” she retorted.
“$75??? I’m annoyed that I’m expected to pay this fee,” I explained, because I feel it is necessary to TELL people when I am annoyed, just in case they don’t pick up on my vibe. “Shit happens. Obviously it was not ideal for me to miss the appointment, but things come up. I had issues with child care!”
“I understand, but this is the doctor’s policy. People were missing appointments and she was losing money.” Again with the money. Then she went in for the kill . . . “You signed the form.”
Ah yes, the form . . . . the form that’s in the middle of the multi-page packet, where they ask you important questions like your husband’s social security number and the date of your last menstrual cycle and how often you participate in recreational drug use, and you’re supposed to fill it out accurately while corralling your offspring and preventing them from throwing dirt from the potted plants at the old, humorless couple who are giving you the stink eye from their perch in the corner. That one. Yep, I signed it all right. I would have signed anything at that point.
I certainly understand the need for rules and policies. I am sure patients have missed appointments because of their own negligence, and I know some people are habitually late. I am not one of those people. However, I have three children who need my assistance getting out the door in the morning, and sometimes their cooperation is less than stellar, which means I may be a little late, no matter how much extra time I build into the morning for events such as these. Or I may need to make a last-minute decision regarding my whereabouts.
“Forget it,” I said. “I’ll find a doctor who’s a little more accommodating.” I started for the door and then thought, “is she going to charge me $75 for THIS appointment?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, smugly. “She’ll have to review your case and then make her decision.”
I left, all indignant and full of self-righteousness.
Then I went to my Swagger Wagon and cried, because that’s what I do when I’m frustrated and angry.
I called Hubby and tearfully explained the situation, thinking he’d be all “hell yeah. You’re right. Screw them!”
“You need to go back,” he insisted. “You need to see a doctor and you don’t have time to wait another 3-6 months to wait for an appointment. Of course she’s going to charge you for this appointment . . . she knows you’re not coming back.” Dammit, I hate it when he’s right. Mommies don’t ever seem to have time to take care of themselves, and here I was, trying to do something for me, and the universe was punishing me!
So I went back in with my tail between my legs and asked if the doctor would see me.
The receptionist’s snarky reply? “She can see you at 11:30.” In two hours. Super.
I explained that I needed to pick that pesky preschooler up at 11:30 so I would need to leave by 11:00. Lo and behold, the doctor squeezed me in at 10:40. Guess what? My blood pressure was high. Weird.
Oh, and also? I’ve gained, um, some weight since I last saw the doctor 6 months ago. She ordered some blood work so she can check my thyroid.
“It’s not my thyroid,” I wailed. “It’s donuts!”
Donuts. Yummy, yummy, fried dough. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a donut after the rough morning I’ve had . . .