Thursday, March 17, 2011

New developments in the allergy serum war

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I give myself two allergy shots every three weeks. To do that, I naturally need two vials of serum from my ENT practice. My ENT's main office is more than half an hour from my house and completely out of all my normal driving routes. The ENT also maintains an office right on a road I drive to work. So, I like to pick up my serum there.

The problem is, for reasons I don't understand, the ENT seems determined to make that as difficult as possible. They want me to drive to the main office.

Screw that. Rather than cave to them, I continue to insist on picking it up at my local clinic. The result is that I am in a cold but active war with the firm and the allergy serum tester who works only occasionally at that clinic.

This past week, my new serum arrived. Tuesday afternoon, I returned the phone call I received. The woman who had called me said that I could pick up the serum Tuesday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 or Thursdays from noon to 1:00.

There were two small catches, however: the serum was actually available for only during one half hour of the Tuesday time and for only 15 minutes of the Thursday time. They also could not tell me in advance which of those slots it would be. I would have to come at the very start of each time and be prepared to wait until the very end.

I didn't get the call until Tuesday afternoon, so my option was Thursday. I was already booked with a client lunch that day.

No problem, I'd go the following week (this week). I don't need the serum until next week, so that's fine.

Tuesday morning, I had taken off work and so decided to wait until Thursday (today). When I called on Wednesday to confirm my pick-up today, the woman said,

"Oh, it's not available Thursday this week. Those were last week's hours. You could always go to [the other office]."

No way. I asked what this coming week's hours were. They were not set yet. I finally secured an appointment next week--for an hour slot, of which the tester will be available only 15 minutes.

This fight has become personal. (It's also very difficult to start over with another ENT, and this is the only local one that lets you self-administer the shots.) I will show up at the start of that hour next week, but I will also do something annoying, perhaps bring a boom-box or eat something particularly stinky while standing in front of the receptionist's window. If I'm going to suffer, they are, too.

My own irrationality on this topic surprises me, but I don't care; I will not lose this fight.


Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I, too, am in a helpless situation where someone else has control over more of my life than I'd like. Good luck in your battle. Some may say you're Don Quioxote tilting at windmills, but I understand your pain. It's hard not to fight even when they hold all the cards.


Michelle said...

Give them hell and don't back down. I am continually annoyed at the treatment that various medical professions give the public (although, certainly not all. There are some great caring offices out there). Not so much by the doctors, but the office staff. They know you need them, they know your choices are minimal, hence they have you by the balls. However, these are your balls. Give as good as you get. Bravo!

J. Griffin Barber said...

Do some yard work, run on the treadmill and then show up in yesterday's clothes. Eat lots of garlic and refired beans. Let them smell the wondrous vapors of your discontent.

(I sometimes crop-dust attorneys I don't like.)

Mark said...

I've used strategies like that before and will again.


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