Back at Square One

February 4, 2009

All this crap with my toe is STRESSING ME OUT.  I feel on the verge of tears all the time, which only happens when I’m pms-ing, incredibly sick, pregnant, or super stressed.  I’m guessing the stress one this time.

I made it to the doctor yesterday, though.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting, even though the wait was pretty awful and I got to enjoy numerous glares in the waiting room.  (Our doctor is wonderful, but her clientele is almost exclusively low-income.  Super blonde and blue-eyed Scooter and I don’t fit in.)  Scooter was a dream, though, staying happy and giggly long past his usual naptime.

I’d expected the doctor to come in, check my toe, and send me back for x-rays.  She’d look at them and decide just how severe the treatment should be.  I honestly think based on how it felt yesterday and still feels today that it’s just the nastiest bruise you can ever get but that it’s not broken.  Based on that suspicion, I expected her to tell me to keep doing what I was doing–rest, elevation, and ibuprofen for pain.  I didn’t expect her to even tape it, much less hand over crutches or a boot or anything.

All of this was based on the assumption that she had an x-ray machine in the office like every other doctor I’ve ever been to before.  She doesn’t.

Instead, she wrote me orders to have it x-rayed at a nearby hospital.  It would have been another fifteen-minute drive, minimum, smack dab in the middle of Scooter’s naptime.  I didn’t head over there right away for it as the nurse suggested because I was afraid I was already pushing my luck with Scooter’s mood.  I called the number she gave me instead.

I went through the incredibly long process of giving her all my personal information.  Name? Blood type?  Your first locker combination?  Pin number?  The name you would have had if you were a boy?  Finally she agreed to schedule me for an appointment–not tell me whether there was a wait as I’d asked.  I gave up and scheduled one for this afternoon.  Then she rattled off the list of restrictions, or lack of, for an x-ray.  Regular medication and eating schedule, etc.  Oh, and no children under the age of 12 allowed in the testing room or unattended in the waiting room.

Um, excuse me?  I have a one-year old who goes with me everywhere.  I have no other choices for his care.  I don’t know that I could find another solution ever, much less on such short notice.  I know my voice cracked as I attempted to explain this to the lady on the phone, but at least I held the tears back right then.  Her reaction was less than sympathetic.  Sorry, but those are the rules.  Call and cancel if you can’t make it.

I don’t know what I would have done if it had still been an emergency, if I was still positive the toe was broken.  Fortunately that’s not the case.  I think it would be a waste of yet another co-pay to get the x-ray and then another waste to go into the doctor again to have her tell me it’s not broken.  Besides, by then the last trace of bruising will even be gone.  I called and canceled a little while ago.

Here’s what frustrates me about all of this:

1. What if it had been a bigger deal than it was?  It took me a day to get in to the doctor, another day to get an x-ray scheduled, and it would have been yet another day minimum to get back into the doctor to get it treated.  What do I do if I have a non-emergency emergency, something that’s not enough to brave the emergency room but more urgent than the three-day treatment I get at my doctor’s office?

2. How can the testing facilities be so callous about the childcare thing?  Is it not more important that people get their medical problems addressed than keep children away from their precious testing machines?

3. Why does the doctor’s office not know this about the testing facilities they direct all their patients to?  Why would I be instructed to take my sore toe and my baby to the x-ray place right away if they would turn me away because of the baby?

Anyway, I’m obviously annoyed by the whole thing.  I’m just glad that my toe is getting better on its own.  And M and I are discussing changing doctors.  This is just one frustrating incident of many in our short time at this office.