Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Me vs. the allergy clinic--again

The ENT firm I use is the only one that would let me give myself the allergy shots when I started taking them. I knew I'd never keep up the shots if I had to invest 90 minutes each time to take them (30 minutes drive each way, 10 minutes waiting in the office, 20 minutes you have to wait after receiving the shots), so self-administering the shots was vital. Now, I've been with this firm for eight years, and they have all my records, etc. I'm locked in.

I'd like to think that's why they treat me with such a cavalierly incompetent attitude, but sadly the real answer is probably more simple: they abuse patients because they can, and because they're incompetent at customer service.

Today, for example, was my annual allergy check-up. This piece of health-care ripoffery involves the same ritual each year:

I arrive a few minutes late, hoping not to have to wait.

I wait a few minutes, frustrated as always with the utter lack of bandwidth or free wifi in the office.

A nurse deposits me in a small room, takes my pulse and blood pressure, and leaves.

I wait a few minutes more and begin to wonder if I could employ my otherwise useless iPhone as an edged weapon to kill the first enemy who walks through the door.

The doctor enters, shakes my hand, asks if everything is all right (it always is), and looks quickly in my ears, nose, and throat. (Wow, actual ENT-age.) Yes, indeed: all is well! One new prescription for an Epi-Pen, and one for more allergy shot needles, and I'm good to go.

Transaction time with the doctor: under four minutes.

Bill: over a hundred bucks. Yeah, sure, my insurance covers it, but, really?
On the way out, I ask the receptionist if there is anything else I need to do.

She says, no.

When I get home, I find a voicemail message on my home office phone--the number I have asked them for 7.5 years to stop calling--telling me I can pick up my allergy serum at the same damn place I had been this morning.

The timestamp on the voicemail is 11:15 a.m.

I was in the examination room at that exact time, and the woman who called was the receptionist who handled my paperwork and told me I didn't need to do anything else.

Now, I have to make another trip and face my Chinese nemesis mano-a-mano in allergy test fu.

My only solace is the faint possibility that he's behind the whole thing and I truly am facing a master torturer in a boss fight of wills.

A guy's gotta have hope.


Michelle said...

Wait, no stinky body odor or bad breath this time around for defense? Not even nasty work out clothes to give you that pungent aroma? Or do you save those little tricks for the serum testing? You are slipping!

J. Griffin Barber said...

I think we need to start an Asshat of the Year award. That receptionist is leading the pack, closely followed by your asian nemesis.

Mark said...

Michelle, I save those tactics for my nemesis.

Mark said...

Griffin, I would enjoy being on that award jury.

J. Griffin Barber said...

First we need an artist to design the award!

Mark said...

I don't want to think too hard about what it would look like.

J. Griffin Barber said...

Yet another reason to hire an artist.

Ticia said...

Hamsters and Nemesis.... I see an award-winning standup routine...

Mark said...

He may yet appear in a routine.


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