Yesterday I had an appointment scheduled which I nervously anticipated. After months of anxiety and worry, I was meeting with a doctor to develop a plan to treat the cancer. My mind has been spinning as I have been contemplating worst case scenarios. The impending appointment felt much like my day of reckoning, where I would learn my fate. The fact that my treating physician of 10 years left the practice, and that I was beginning a relationship with a new doctor, added to my uneasiness.
one week post-op from my major revision, getting to the appointment was
a Herculean effort. After helplessly watching my mom juggle Timmy, his
car seat and my scooter to the car, I crawled down the stairs to assume
my position in the passenger's seat. After the limb trauma from the day
before, my limb was quick to anger and began cramping and thumping
almost immediately. The leg pain, along with hearing my mom complain
about the difficulties of infant car seats, served as a welcome distraction from my growing panic.
wheeling my way into the hospital and up to the office, I proceeded to
the check-in desk while my Mom sat in the corner and tried to calm
Timmy. ( Poor little buddy was bright red and sweaty from voicing his
displeasure during the entire drive.) Soon after signing in the
receptionist called me to the desk. She looked at me with confusion and
said, "Mrs. Chenoweth, your appointment isn't until July 17th."
spoke with the office on Monday about my Thursday appointment, so I
knew that the receptionist was mistaken. I also explained that I had
received a confirmation call yesterday, reminding me of the appointment
and threatening to charge $25 if I failed to show. I explained this
information, and patiently waited for her to verify that she had made a mistake.
was insistent that I was not on the schedule. I asked about the
confirmation call I received, and she contended that the call should be
disregarded because they don't have room in the schedule to see me
today. I felt the tears begin to well as I struggled to maintain my
composure. I have been dreading this appointment, and the thought of
putting it off for a month was simply too much to comprehend.
took a deep breath and explained that I did have an appointment, and
that I needed to see the doctor today. I calmly stated that I needed to
know my test results because a cancer diagnosis without a plan is cruel
and unusual punishment. I continued my plea for them to honor my
appointment by explaining the difficulty I had making it to the office
because of my recent surgery. She remained stone faced and unmoved.
my attempts to employ logic, to provide proof of the facts and to
elicit sympathy for my plight, I was unsuccessful. After enduring an
emotional tornado as I prepared for the meeting, I left the office
lacking a direction and information. I felt completely deflated. I felt
invisible and broken.
After licking my wounds for the majority of
the afternoon, I finally managed to channel my despair into anger. I
can't believe the complete disregard for my health demonstrated by the
office staff. I just had a baby, have been battling a severe uterine
infection and was diagnosed with cervical cancer. None of these
significant health issues, all of which they have been treating, were
rated higher than their scheduling snafu. I was given an appointment for
July and sent out the door. After shedding a lot of tears, I came to
the conclusion that I need to seek more compassionate medical care.
reached out to trusted friends and was provided with a recommendation
for a new doctor. The doctor who had been treating me was no longer at
the practice, so I was already starting with somebody new. If I have to
start over, I am going to seek more compassionate, and competent, care.
In my opinion, the front staff personnel are a reflection of the values
of the practice. Obviously, patient care and compassion were not the
priorities of the previous facility. Today I will seek an appointment
with a new doctor, and hopefully he will be able to see me quickly.
Waiting for answers to these looming questions is torture, and I fear
dangerous. I need to move quickly.