The other, lesser problem with health care.

22 Jul

So today I had my annual check-up with the gynecologist, and it was, as usual, awkward. Not, mind you, because of the type of doctor I was visiting (I actually have no problem going to the Gyno; I figure, hey, I know why I walked in the door, it’s not going to be shocking or surprising when they pull out the speculum or start prodding my bits.) It didn’t even have anything to do with the fact that now I am at an age when I go to a Gyno and everyone else there is hugely pregnant instead of just waiting for the nice campus health center nurse to give them free condoms. Hell, what made my visit so awkward didn’t even have anything to do with what happens in an exam room.

Nope. The thing that made my visit weird, and which makes any visit to any health-care provider something akin to a Mr. Bean episode, is that I NEVER KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. Does anyone else find this? Every time it’s like a long, confusing scavenger hunt of forms and pee cups and billing and shame. I’ll elaborate.

You walk in the door, fill out the little slip (if you can remember the name of the doctor, since they too all seem to be on frequent maternity leaves), then sit down with your magazine in the waiting room. And then they call your name, and you think ‘oh, it must be time for the antechamber weigh-in’, but no, it’s just some forms. Then, they make you pee in the cup, which they almost never tell you where to put. So you have to look around for other similar cups, whilst still holding the plastic jar of what is clearly your own urine, until you figure it out. Then, back to the magazine. Then, they call your name, and you think ‘antechamber weigh-in!’, but no, you have to go to billing, where you stand blankly, not understanding if you’re supposed to give them something, or they’re supposed to give you something, or if you just misunderstood. Then, once that’s resolved, they give you paperwork, which you’re not sure if you have to take back to the lady at the front desk, or keep.

Then, after more magazine, it’s actually antechamber weigh-in time! Then you are told to go to ANOTHER waiting room further in, then finally put in the exam room, where you get the actual exam. And at least that all makes sense, and they do tell you which way the gown is supposed to open, bless them (this is KEY information.)

On the way out, you stop in billing, only to have someone ask if they can help you, to which you say “Um… I don’t know. Can I leave?” Which, in this case is yes, but often is no, as most doctors do the billing after. But at this point you are finally sent out blinking into the sun, half convined that someone is going to run out and tackle you because you missed a step.

It’s a complete mystery, every every time. And I must look just as lost and confused as I feel, clutching my Time Out New York and my insurance card as if they will point the way. I always wish they’ll hand me a little order, like a program. But then again, the front desk ladies and nurses wouldn’t have the amusement of watching me walk back and forth fourteen times like a chicken with my head cut off, now would they? And I’m beginning to think that’s the intention all along.

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