Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spitting nails

Those of you who know me, know I am normally a low-key person who tries to be patient and not raise my voice when I'm on the phone or requesting a service.

Well, I just sent a scathing fax to my doctor's office. The fact that it's entirely out of character for me to breathe flame on them should be, I hope, sufficient for them to sit up and take note.

I have been trying to get my migraine script refilled since FRIDAY. It's now TUESDAY. I called them at 4:40 PM to follow up on the TWO (2) faxes I've sent this week, since my pharmacy had no record of the refill being called in.

The moment the phone rang, I got, "Please hold" and put on hold. For fifteen minutes. Finally I called back at 4:55, only to discover that their "the office is closed" recording was ALREADY turned on! It's not an answering machine -- it just recites office hours and hangs up.

OK, now I have steam coming out my ears. Steam. I opened up the fax app on my iPhone, which allows for one free fax page per day, and wrote:

WHY did you put me on hole from 4:40 PM until 4:55 PM, then when I redialed, you already had the answering machine on five minutes early? IF your office is open till 5, do not shut off the phones WHILE YOU HAVE A CALL ON HOLD.

I have been trying to get my MIGRAINE MEDS refilled SINCE FRIDAY. It is now Tuesday and it's still not done. WHY? I asked repeatedly for this to e done as a rush order. I have been faxing since July 6 so there should be multiple hard copies on hand.

I am leaving for a trip at 6:30 Thursday morning. I deliberately asked six entire days in advance to avoid this problem and have meds in my possession while traveling.

Please refill my Imitrex on Wednesday, 7/11.

Please refill my Imitrex on Wednesday, 7/11.

Please refill my Imitrex on Wednesday, 7/11.

Please refill my Imitrex on Wednesday, 7/11.

[name]
[date of birth]
[pharmacy contact info]

Of course, as they are CLOSED on Wednesdays, I realize that my hope of having them even see this message, let alone act on it, before my trip is somewhere between slim and none. Closer to NONE. But I sent it anyway.

I thought that having a long talk with my doctor, at my last appointment in May, would have really clued him in to the fact that it takes multiple attempts to get a prescription refilled. It's precisely why I have taken to faxing in the first place. They deliberately tie up the phones so people can't get through, by leaving people on hold infinitely, and then if it's near the end of the day they do what they just did to me: block the phones with MY call that was on hold, and then let my on-hold call just die of old age without picking it back up.

I like my DOCTOR. I do. Seriously. But I hate, hate, hate dealing with the office staff on the phone. It's not like I expect a refill to be in the pharmacy's hands within thirty seconds after I place a call; that would be ridiculous. But I don't think it's unreasonable for requests I made on FRIDAY and MONDAY to have been called in by TUESDAY. Doubly so when I asked in both faxes for them to rush this refill as I really do need it.

So, having vented my spleen via fax, I decided to go forward with a plan B. I called the pharmacy myself, explained my situation, and asked if they had an emergency ration that they could provide, in the absence of a refill. No, they can't do that with Imitrex. But they CAN *page* the doctor.

"Good. Please do that. Page the doctor."

So I might get my refill in time for that trip. I hope.

It's funny. When I had that long talk with the doc in May, he was describing how it's hard for an independent family doctor to thrive financially, compared to the doctors who are affiliated with a hospital in some way. But when an independent doc's office staff repeatedly drops the ball on important messages, no flipping wonder patients become willing to migrate to new treatment providers. I really don't want to do that in this case, because I honestly LIKE my DOCTOR. It's the red tape I can't stand. And if you go through this blog, you'll see this by FAR not the first time I've vented about these issues here. Look at May 7 and May 8 from this very year for the previous iteration of "why can't I get my meds on time". It's just the first time I ever vented TO THE OFFICE STAFF.

UPDATE: Well, somebody sure said something. That was fast. I got a call from the office staff, so they either saw the steam emanating from their fax machine as a result of my note, or else the pharmacy paging the doctor made HIM talk to them on the spot. They just called in my refill.

Thank God. At least I can go on my trip and not worry that my head is going to feel like there's an axe imbedded in it. And if you've never had a migraine, then give thanks that you have no clue what I'm talking about. Trust me on that one.

And it still looks like I'll be having yet another word with the doctor during my next appointment, a few months from now. Something's gotta give. I can't keep going through these battles every time I need a refill of something.

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