the first has been with my credit union, which i've been a member of for over 8 years, but which i'll be leaving this week after it took FOUR CALLS before they were able to restore my daily spending limit on my checking account to something above zero. ZERO DOLLARS ALLOWED PER DAY. on my debit card. not at all inconvenient, no!
the one that's really chapping my hide, though, is a new dermatologist office i went to recently. i've had SERIOUSLY terrible luck with dermatologists in this area. there was the one guy who refused to talk to me about anything but how i should start accutane immediately if i ever "wanted to be taken seriously" in a corporate environment. this was for a few bumps on my forehead, and he wanted me to immediately start popping a medication for severe cystic acne that can cause liver failure and severe birth defects as a first attempt at treatment. no thanks.
then there was the guy who i went to go see for a routine skin cancer screening. i'm high risk for skin cancer - very fair, have burned many times in my life, and have loads and loads of half-freckle/half-mole thingies that i've been advised to "keep an eye on." so i go to this guy, tell him what i'm there for, and among the many delightful comments he made were:
- that skin cancer screenings were a "sham," and my previous derm had only told me i needed them to get more money from me;
- that i should learn the ABCDs of skin cancer (which i obviously know already) and only come in if i was "sure" that i had something that looked cancerish;
- that it was impossible to burn one's scalp (funny, i do it every time i'm outside in the summer and don't wear a hat);
- that the spot that had just turned up on my cheek was nothing to worry about, it was just something i had to accept since i was "getting old." i was 27.
so when i went to this new guy last month, i was pleasantly surprised by how lovely & professional everything was. he checked me thoroughly, found 3 spots he was particularly concerned about - including the one on my face that i had expressly gone to the previous derm for, by the way - and took photos of them next to a ruler to document size. those went into my file, so that the next time i come in they can compare and see if they've grown or changed. but as he was reviewing the zoomed-in photo of a largeish freckle on my leg, he decided he didn't like the look of it so much that he wanted to remove it right then and there instead of waiting to see if it got more suspicious looking. so he gave me a quick numbing shot, sliced the sucker out, and sent it to the lab for biopsying. he told me not to be concerned about it, but i should call them back in 10 days to learn the results of the biopsy. i thanked him, and went on my merry way (albeit with a hole in my leg).
ten days later, i call his office. they tell me the results aren't in yet, but i should call back tomorrow.
i give them another day for leeway, and call back on day 12. the results aren't in yet.
me: ok, i thought i was told to call back 10 days after my appointment. what's going on?
receptionist: um, can i put you on hold? let me check.
(2 minutes later)
receptionist 1: ok, we DO have the results, the doctor is actually looking at them right this very moment! they just weren't in the system yet because he hadn't reviewed them yet. let me get your phone number and i'll call you in a little bit as soon as he's finished looking at them!
me: ok, my number is xxx. thanks.
...cut to 5 days later, when i still have not received a call. i call them on a tuesday, 3 weeks after my original appointment.
me: hi, i've been trying to get biopsy results for a while now, someone was supposed to call me back and never did.
receptionist 2: oh ok, what's your name? let me check. (pause) yeah.. your results aren't in the system yet. sorry.
me: uh, any reason why not....?
receptionist 2: oh, it's probably because the doctor has been out all week, and we can't put the results into the system until a doctor has looked at it.
me: oh, ok. i see. thanks. WAIT! NO. was he out all LAST WEEK as well? i called LAST WEEK and i was told the doctor had the results physically IN HAND, and someone was going to call me to tell me what he said.
receptionist 2: oh! gosh. ok. can i put you on hold? let me check into this.
(2 minutes later)
receptionist 2: ok, so the doctors are both gone for the day, and i'm not really sure what happened... but let me get your phone number and i'm going to call you back first thing tomorrow morning once they're back in and i can figure out what's going on.
me: (sigh) ok. my number is xxx.
...cut to 3 days after THAT. no call.
me: YES HELLO I AM TRYING TO GET BIOPSY RESULTS AND NO ONE EVER CALLS ME BACK OMFG.
receptionist 3: hmm... yes, it looks like your results aren't in the system.
me: YES. SO I KEEP BEING TOLD. ALSO THE DOCTOR SUPPOSEDLY KEEPS "REVIEWING" THEM BUT THEN NO ONE CALLS ME BACK WITH THE RESULTS. OR PUTS THEM INTO THE SYSTEM. MAYBE YOU COULD FIGURE OUT WHERE THEY ARE AND GET THEM TO ME?
receptionist 3: oh... can i put you on hold for a minute? let me look into this.
(2 minutes later)
receptionist 3: ok, i don't really know what happened, but your results *weren't* here. i just called the lab and they're re-faxing your results directly to me right now, though. the doctor will get in at 10:30, and i'll have her review them first thing as soon as she gets here and call you immediately, ok?
me: WILL YOU? BECAUSE YOU'RE THE THIRD PERSON TO TELL ME THIS AND I HAVE RECEIVED ZERO CALLS SO FAR.
receptionist 3: no, i really will call you.
me: ok. that would be nice. thank you.
cut to 2 hours later, when - trumpets please - she called back! praise be! it only took 45 calls from me to get my own lab results!
...which were that the cells looks "atypical" and they want me to come back in to excise everything else in the area, just in case.
so, look. this isn't the end of the world or anything, and it's likely just a precautionary measure anyway, but i'm more than a little ticked off that it took THAT MUCH proactive effort from me before they got around to informing me i might have skin cancer developing in my leg, you know? the whole time i was involved in the no-results no-call-back charade, i assumed the test would be negative, because who would lose / forget to call when the results were "NEEDS ADDITIONAL PARTS OF LEG REMOVED SO IT DOESN'T BECOME CANCER," you know?
so i'm a bit torn, at this point. because clearly the DOCTORING part of this place is the best treatment i've received by far - it should be noted that this same mole also existed, and was ignored, by mr "skin cancer screenings are a sham" - but my faith in their ability to notify me of when doctoring is needed is a little shaky.