Dammit, I'm not trying to con your doctors into prescribing me narcotics!

Hey, lady at the doctor’s office – yes you! I’m trying very hard to get into your head and see things from your point of view. I do try my utmost to understand things from the other side, but I’m having a difficult time accepting your behavior.
I suppose you get a constant stream of patients who tell you how to do your job. Likewise, you probably get plenty who do stupid things.
I wouldn’t really be surprised if you get several who are trying to pull a fast one on you.

Let’s get one thing straight:

I am not trying to con the doctor into prescribing me hard core narcotics!

Please don’t treat me as if I were.

I did my very best to explain the situation. Actually, I am usually a very calm individual. In fact, I can’t rant very well and this whole post will suffer because of it. Nevertheless, you may have noticed that I was speaking sharply to you this afternoon. Respectfully, but sharply.

Since you weren’t listening very carefully, I’ll lay it out here.

Many months ago, I managed to mess up my knees fairly well while running. After weeks of annoying pain and two women in my house nagging me to go to the doctor, I finally called your facility and was given an appointment with “Dr. Smith”

The good doctor yanked and twisted my legs this way and that, decided that nothing serious was wrong, and gave me a prescription for Celebrex, for the inflammation. That stuff was incredible! After having suffered weeks of dull pain, quick tiring knee joints, and so forth, the medicine had a profound effect overnight. I was back at the gym in a few days, and that should have been that.

Well, stupid me. It’s eight months later and I did it again. I could feel the exact same symptoms, caused by the exact same activity, and this morning, my right knee was in agony by the time I made it to my office (a few hundred yards from the parking lot). My thought: “Dr. Smith” and his bitchin’ pills!

I called up your fine place of business as soon as you opened and was immediately rewarded with the voice of a pleasant girl.

She listened attentively to my distress and gave me an appointment for next Wednesday – this is good, since I want to take care of this leg issue once and for all, but it’s a bit of a wait for the relief I wanted.

Pay attention now…

I kindly asked your morning receptionist if she might implore of the good doctor that he write me a prescription for Celebrex to get me going until I could see him on Wednesday. You see, I figured it thusly: It’s probably the same damned thing, those pills worked well, and if the doctor disagrees, he will simply say so and that will be that.

The nice girl said “Oh, what was that? Celebrex? We can give you some free samples we have in the office. Can you stop by some time this afternoon?”

I said “Great! I’ll be by right after work. I forgot the dosage I took, so could you please find out from the doctor?”

She said “Ok, they will be waiting at the front desk for you.”

I placed the phone in its cradle and smiled as I went onto my next task, calling my mechanic about the clutch master and slave cylinders he is replacing in my vehicle. To be honest, the girl was so nice and the thought of the freebie samples was so pleasant that I didn’t mind when the mechanic told me he had to use an OEM part that would be a hundred dollars more than the after market part he had been hoping to use.

In fact, I was tickled pink that I would stop by your place of business, say “Hello, I’m minor7flat5,” and one of you would hand me a little doggy bag and bid me good day.

I should have trusted my instincts. I always place follow up calls with any service provider who has promised me something since half of them do not fulfill, in general. Why didn’t I do this today? Because the girl was so darned perky and convincing.

You changed that.

I slipped out of work a half hour early so as to make the little side trip to your office. I strode up to your counter with a confident smile and stated my name, “My Celebrex should be here.”

There was a delay.

Something was wrong.

One woman asked me “Who did you speak to this morning?”

“I don’t know. I made an appointment, though. Check that.”

More delay.

People walking about the records shelves in deep thought.

Finally, a different girl appeared, telling me that there was no such mention in my record of this and that it could never happen since I haven’t seen the doctor in almost a year. “We don’t do that. Who said you could have samples?”

I could see the sneer forming on the faces of all four people clustered in the general area near me. As soon as I mentioned those free samples, everything else I said was ignored. You see, I was obviously trying to do something illicit.

After I expressed my disbelief a third time, I was asked again “Who did you talk to?”,

I said, somewhat sharply, “Doesn’t your scheduling software record the name of the person who enters an appointment?”
I saw an “Oh yes!” glint in her eyes. She then typed a few characters and looked at the initials next to my appointment.

She then mumbled these words: “She should know better…”


One of your employees mumbled, under her breath, that the perky girl from the morning “should know better”
You were WRONG. Someone in your office made a MISTAKE.

Well, then. The present girl went in to the depths of the office and found YOU. Yes YOU. I don’t know who you are. You might be a doctor, a nurse, the office manager, or even another one of the receptionists. I got the feeling that you were in charge of the receptionists.
No, you did not apologize. Rather, when I told you my brief tale, you simply told me how “We don’t do that”. As soon as your ears heard some key word, you were deaf to everything else.

You told me “We can’t do that unless the doctor prescribes it since you haven’t been here in over three months.”

No shit!

If your staff hadn’t screwed up this morning, they would have spoken with “Dr. Smith”, like I asked them to in the first place.
Get this clear in your mind:

I did not ask for free frigging samples of Celebrex. Your worker kindly offered them to me. I asked to have the doctor give me a prescription, and then only if it were appropriate.

I do thank you because you offered to have the evening shift on-call physician consider the case, and he did, in fact, call it in to my pharmacy. Clearly, you do have your priorities straight: the medication is in my hands now, so all that is left is the lingering memory of the utterly disrespectful way in which I was treated by you and your staff:

You see, I still feel as if you think that I did something wrong. Shady, perhaps. Four different people told me how wrong I was this afternoon, as if speaking to a child. When in the end your own worker effectively confirmed that this was your office’s mistake, you didn’t do the kind thing and simply apologize while fixing the problem. No. You lectured me, like the others. I cringed as I received a glare reserved for someone who is trying to connive the doctor into prescribing a month’s supply of serious painkillers.

Well, now that that’s out of my system, I hope this stuff works on my joints now like it did the last time!

Rush? Is that you?

sorry, I couldn’t resist.

[nitpick] Isn’t Celebrex an anti-inflammatory, not a narcotic?

Good stuff, though.

They have you by the short hairs and they act like it. One of those “institutions” in our society that know you got no choice.

The Doctors have (many of them) changed their styles, now they want to have personal conversations and relationships with you, but access, that is how they maintain the power.

Occasionally, sitting in a waiting room, when the receptionist calls me up to her counter several times so that I can do or say what she needs for her tasks, I wonder if this is how my dog feels when I say “Come Niki, come”

They frustrate me no end. I share your pain.

Those medical offices.

No, Niki is happy to come to her master. She loves you unconditionally.

My favorite line in the waiting room:
E72521: I’m here to see so-and-so.
receptionist: I need to collect your copay. Good morning.

I want to see a specialist. For my insurence to cover this cost to the maximum, my primary care physician must refer me, so I call the office to make an appointment to see my pcp. No, the worker who takes my call tells me, this can be handled over the phone. The phone person asks for my name, number, address, ect., all the information that they already have on file, and then asks me for the name of the specialist I wish to see.

What the hell? I have to refer myself? First of all, It would be nice to talk my possible problem over with a real doctor in addition to researching it on the Internet. And once upon a time, if you trusted your doctors, you could trust that they would have specialist colleagues whom they knew to be capable. There is no medical guidence anymore.

I could switch my pcp, but that requires researching local doctors and filling out paperwork…with no guarantee that my next doctor would be any better. I don’t have time for that–I need to find myself a specialist.

What makes this more ironic is that within my reach are 2 boxes of Celebrex 5 X 200mg obviously given to me by the doctor when I pinched a nerve in my neck. They have no dispensing label - the doctor has written in pen “1 tab daily X 6 days”. I only took one so I have 11 left.

That still seems a bit odd. AFAIK, Celebrex is not an addictive or controlled substance, it is merely a prescription medicine that likely will become over-the-counter in the future. Much like Orudis, or dozens of other products. You have taken it in the not too distant past without ill effects.

Oh well, procedural bullshit. Get the appointment. Get the drugs. Give receptionist a dirty look.

Eva Luna and Road Rash, Maybe I was too oblique in my allusion to this. Of course the stuff isn’t a narcotic – they sure treated me as if it were, though!

don’t ask, I still have some pills left from last year, and as I got aggravated, I told the woman “Forget about it. I have some from last year and I’ll take those.” She smiled and replied “Oh, you can certainly do that.”
This confirmed that the procedural BS (and not admitting a mistake) were in play here, not real concern for my health. Why didn’t she say “Oh, you really shouldn’t take those until you consult with the doctor” when I mentioned my leftovers?
sugaree, those phoned-in referrals are one place where I always make three followup calls. Without exception, a pleasant receptionist says “We’ll call in the referral this afternoon” and the specialist’s office claims to have never heard from them. It usually takes three times around before it really happens.

I must say, posting here is quite therapeutic. I think I’ll be able to keep a civil tongue in my mouth on Wednesday after all (but I will offer the dirty look).