Brenna (twistdfateangel) wrote in bad_service,

This is absurd...

So, back in May, my ACA health care finally kicked in. Which is great. I come from a long line of frequent flyers in doctors' offices and I knew I needed some help with medical stuff. In addition to depression, insomnia and GAD, I have weird pain and joint trouble, and a skin complaint that looks worse than it is.

The first doctor I found who took my insurance was a straight-up MD, one who looked promising at first. Good reviews on the websites I checked, been in business for a while, surely, this would work out well. Right?

Upon arrival, my first clue that this was going to end badly was that they had no idea how my insurance worked. At first, I assumed it was because it was ACA insurance, but they gave me some really ugly looks every time they said, "Obamacare". Whatever, I figured they just didn't like the new system.

When I got in to see the doctor, there was a great to-do about how there was a new database I could go to and see my test results at. Not that they ever sent me the email about how to get this info. Was I just supposed to pray to the gods of the internet and scream my password into a USB port? I have no idea. But they seemed so damned proud of themselves.

The doctor finally came into the examination room to see me, and we got down to business. I gave her the abridged list of my concerns and she promptly told me that I had to pick two issues to focus on, that was all they had time for. That was a new one on me (I used to go to a charity clinic that served multiple rural counties, where there was always a crowd and this was nothing I'd dealt with there). Okay, fine, I picked the skin and the insomnia.

After some discussion and some poking and prodding, she began to take my vitals while asking about my spiritual life. I was feeling comfortable, but not completely relaxed, so I told her I was Unitarian Universalist, which is only half-true. She pressed and I got a bit more tense, saying it was the best compromise in my marriage (Husband is Pagan, I'm Episcopalian). I didn't think anything of it at the time. Surely, she's just making conversation and, from the makeup of her waiting room, she's used to dealing with Christians of a certain age and level of respectability. I had hoped that the hints about our spiritual choices would close the topic. Then, she starts asking if I went to church and had I prayed about my depression.

Uh... What? First, you agree that we're not dealing with a topic, because we don't have the time, then, you not only dive into that topic, but you try to give spiritual advice. I told her, truthfully, that prayer hadn't done me much good. Then, once she'd left the room, I broke down in tears. I don't deal well with people shoving religion down my gullet and she just kept pushing and pushing about prayer and the Bible.

This all happened on a bad week, one which steadily got worse. The next thing I knew I was in an ER. To make a long side-story short, I'm fine, but I nearly wasn't and the ER recommended I see a psychiatrist. I called around and the only one who would work with me on such short notice was very short and rude on the phone. My first instinct was to refuse to make an appointment with him. But, my family pushed me to make the appointment and try elsewhere, only canceling if I found something better.

When I arrived at his office, I got it into my head that he was "my kind of people". His office was next door to a head shop and down the block from the only two Goth clubs in town. Inside, everything was brightly colored, and sunny yellow was the main theme. The doctor himself was dressed like the kind of burnt-out hippy that raised me. But, that was where the warm feelings ended.

The first form he handed me was nothing but billing stuff. Okay, fine, the guy has to eat. The questionnaire section was impersonal and very harsh. I was only allowed to answer "yes" or "no" and I was not permitted to clarify any answers I had. He gave me a short and ludicrously easy memory test (seriously, at my most distracted, I could have passed). At one point, I mentioned that I had recently been tested for autism and, according to an expert on the subject in the family, the test was badly done and I was still unsure. His reply, after speaking to me for all of 5 minutes: "Oh, you're NOT autistic."

Then, he laid down the law, I guess. I would be prescribed a new medication, whether I made a standing appointment or not (fair, my old one had ceased working). I was not allowed to look it up or ask about side effects or interactions (?!?). If I refused, or didn't go on birth control immediately, he would not give me the Rx and would make me attend group therapy, rather than the individualized that I was promised on the phone. He gave me a strict list of what I could and couldn't do in sessions. Then, he informed me that I had to pay up. When I told him I only had a card, he blew up at me, insisting I had been told on the phone to bring cash or a check. He may very well have, but by then I was so shaken, I just wanted to leave. So I ran across the street to the nearest ATM and paid him just to escape.

EDIT: I just remembered this, which pissed me right the hell off. I was informed that even if group therapy was cancelled, I still had to pay the $25 co-pay. Every week. After I had told him that part of my issue was being stressed about financial problems, I was still going to be handing him $100 in cash a month.

I am happy to say, I got in with a better facility after that, one that is overworked, but at least doesn't treat me like I'm evil or a robot to be programmed.

TL;DR--First Doctor tells me I need Jesus, the next one treats me like I need boot camp. I think I need doctors with compassion and political correction.
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