Hi, everybody! It’s been a few days since I last posted – I just wasn’t really in the mood and I’ve still been having trouble sleeping lately, unfortunately
I think it has something to do with me not really having anything to do. My schedule has been weird because, now that my summer classes are over, I don’t really do anything most days besides read blogs, watch TV, make food, and do chores around the house. But the first day of Fall classes is September 5th, so I’m really looking forward to that! Hopefully that will throw me back into a good routine, especially since I’ll be in class five days a week this semester (I was only going twice a week in the Spring).
(Warning… the next part of this blog post is long, angry, and rant-y. But it’s sure to be entertaining! If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Just to be clear, this makes any negative comments automatically irrelevant, so you mind as well just shut the f*** up now. Also, this post is about an OBGYN doctor’s office, so if you don’t want to hear vague references to lady parts, I wouldn’t go any further either ).
I know this isn’t what I usually talk about, but I have a story to share with you guys about something kind of upsetting that happened to me recently, regarding a certain doctor’s office that I go to. Mostly I’m writing about this because I want to be able to share this story with anybody in RI who might go to this place, or is thinking about going to this place.
I’ve been going to the Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology (a.k.a. The Center for OBGYN) in Providence, RI for about three years now, and I really did love my experience there up until this incident. I had a great doctor named Kirsten who really took care of me. Then Kirsten left and I was given a new doctor, who I don’t even remember the name of because I only saw her once. This doctor seemed fine to me, and I don’t know if the problem I had was her fault or is the Center’s fault, so I’m not going to blame her specifically. [Edit: Apparently, there was some confusion with this. To be clear, I have seen this new doctor before. I'm her patient. I've actually seen her twice, not the once I originally said, and have been her patient for almost two years.]
Two weeks ago on August 10th (it was a Friday), I was at CVS to get my birth control prescription filled and I was told that I was out of refills. I remembered that, back in July, they said I was out, but they called my doctor to get more refills. I assumed that she’d renewed the prescription for at least another six months, or until I went in for my yearly appointment (which I hadn’t made yet, but had it down on my to-do list for that week). I was pretty mad at CVS that they didn’t tell me that this was a one-time renewal, because I had no idea that I didn’t have more refills when I went in to pick up my prescription. When I explained what happened to the pharmacist, he said that they would contact the doctor’s office again, but that I should also probably call them myself to figure out what the heck was going on.
I stepped away from the counter and called the Center right then, since I wanted to get it all squared away without having to go back to CVS later. I talked to somebody from reception, gave her my information, and told her that I needed a refill on my birth control. I explained the mix-up with CVS and told her that I wanted it to be a longer prescription, not just for one month this time. The lady told me that what I wanted was fine and that she was going to send over the information right now. I specifically asked her if she meant literally right that minute, because I was standing in the pharmacy and didn’t want to have to leave and come back. She assured me that it would go through in a matter of minutes, so I could stay there and wait. I hung up and waited a good five minutes to give it time to process before going back up to the counter. I told the pharmacist that the Center had sent over the information, but he couldn’t seem to find it. We waited a few more minutes, but it never came through. He explained that it was probably backed up on their answering machine and said that he would go check. Since I’d already been there about 15 minutes, I told him to just fill the prescription once he found the information, and I would be back after running some errands. I was planning on waiting, but he said that there was a half-hour wait for prescriptions to be filled, so I figured I mind as well leave and get something done in the meantime.
Let me now also remind you that I have a lot of trouble getting around because of my disability. While I’m not incapable of going to the store, it’s very difficult for me, especially since I now had to go back (which I obviously hadn’t planned on doing) and had other standing up/walking around errands on my list that needed to get done that day. I was annoyed at the inconvenience and frustrated with the pain I knew I was going to end up having because of this, but I was more worried about just being able to get my prescription filled to begin with, since I needed to start taking the new pills two days later, on Sunday.
Reluctantly, I left the store and headed out to do the rest of my errands. After driving in the car for about five minutes, I got a call from the Center on my cellphone. I was confused, but picked up. A lady from reception wanted me to make my annual appointment. “Oh, good!” I said, “I was just about to do this. I’d like to make it a couple of months from now.”
Last year, my appointment was in August, but I had a couple of reasons for not wanting to do it in August again. First, I had just gone through a very traumatic doctor’s appointment only the week before this happened, I was kind of not ready to see any more doctors at the moment. Second, I’ve gone to a lot of doctor’s appointments this summer (seven in two months, to be specific). I wanted to be able to enjoy the last few weeks I had left before school started up again and actually have fun, instead of being bogged down my summer classes and eight thousand doctor’s appointments. Third, my annual GP check-up is in January and I really wanted to have all my annual appointments in the same month, so that it’d be easier to remember and more convenient. Fourth, at the time I thought that I’d be seeing an acupuncturist, a pain clinician, and getting heel inserts all during August (more on this later), so (a) there’s only so many medical appointments and treatments I can take at once, and (b) I was hoping that after all of those things I’d have a little bit less pain, which would make going to any appointments easier to handle.
Obviously I didn’t go into this much detail with the lady on the phone, but I explained that I was hoping to make my appointment for in a couple of months. She responded with, “Well, the doctor said that she wanted you to make an appointment in August. I don’t know if she’ll renew your prescription for this month if you don’t make an appointment for August.” Assuming she was just confused, I reminded her that I’d just gotten off the phone with her and she’d told me that she had already sent in the information for my prescription. She responded with, “No, I didn’t. I never sent it over.” Trying to keep my fuming temper under control, I told her that I didn’t understand. We were just on the phone, and she told me that she was sending the information. And then I specifically double-checked to make sure she was sending it right that second. Well, apparently that hadn’t been done, even though I had explained to her before that I was standing in the pharmacy as we spoke and needed my prescription right away. And then she waited at least fifteen minutes after we first got off the phone to call me and tell me this, after she already told me she’d sent it in!
I didn’t know what to do, so I told her again that I really wanted to make an appointment for in a couple of months, not August, but she was not interested. She told me that if I didn’t make appointment for in the next three weeks while I was on the phone with her, she wouldn’t send in my prescription to the pharmacy. THAT’S BLACKMAIL. I needed my prescription to take that weekend. And, mind you, it was Friday afternoon. She knew that there was no freaking way I’d be able to call up another doctor and get them to prescribe me something last-minute on a Friday. And I’d be compromising myself with a possible (if unlikely) pregnancy if I waited until the next week to get the prescription because, as I’d already told her, I needed to start taking the new package that weekend. I knew that there was literally nothing I could do, so I made an appointment for August 22nd and then she sent in my prescription.
I was furious. Are you kidding me? Resorting to blackmailing patients in order to get them to come in? It’s not like I am in drastic need of a procedure or am a high-risk patient. I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for two years and got a PAP smear at my last appointment. On that Monday, I even called my GP and asked if they could prescribe me my birth control from now on, which they agreed to. They asked when my last PAP smear was, and were perfectly fine with me waiting another few months for me to come in an have my annual appointment (I will now be getting gynecological care from my GP at my regular check-up).
Obviously, I’ve since cancelled that appointment (which would’ve been tomorrow) and will never go back there. I will also be telling anybody who will listen that this company is untrustworthy, unreliable, and provides questionable service at best.
Doctors are supposed to help their patients, care for their patients, and make them feel comfortable. The least they could’ve done was ask me my reasons for wanting to postpone the appointment. What if I had been going out of town for the rest of August and was leaving that weekend? They just would’ve screwed me on my birth control for an entire month without another thought?? They also could’ve apologized for outright lying to my (virtual) face about sending the prescription information and for making me stand around the store (on my handicapped feet) for 15 minutes for absolutely no reason. I also don’t understand why I wasn’t called and asked to make an appointment sooner. Surely if you’re going to go that far out of your way to make goddamn sure I had an appointment in August, you could’ve called me to ask me about it first, before forcing me to come crawling to you on my knees begging for an appointment just so that I’m allowed to receive another month’s worth of my extremely necessary birth control medication.
Well. I think I’ve gone off enough. I just hope that I’ve at least convinced one person that this is not the right OBGYN office for them and that whoever allowed this to happen (whether it be my doctor herself, somebody in reception, or the company as a whole) is reading and realizes that obviously something needs to change here.
Enough of my diatribe!! Sorry if reading all that was a waste of your time, but writing about this kind of stuff is really therapeutic for me. But I don’t always necessarily have a filter. So, sorry if that bothers you, but I think that information like this should be out there for people to read and relate to.
Any doctor’s office horror stories that you’ve had? Please share! We can commiserate together.