New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Friday, June 24, 2005

Oh No You Dont!

I had to wake up extra early today so I could be at St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital for an 8:15 a.m. appointment. I was having a pain in my left ear and thought I might have an ear infection, so I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician. (I used email to schedule it, which to my mind is the best way to communicate with your doctor, other than face-to-face.)

I would have been satisfied with something next week, but he emailed back that we'd better take a look at it sooner, in case it got worse over the weekend. So Friday morning, 8:15 was it. I left the house in the wee hours and, after two subways and a walk to West 51st Street, I was there, right on time.

I approached the receptionist, waited for her to recognize me (she was writing something down), and, all smiles, greeted her with a chirpy "good morning."

She finally looked up and asked what I wanted. I told her I had an 8:15 appointment with Dr. L.

This was her response: "No you don't."

Me: "I do, I scheduled it yesterday."

Her: "Oh no you don't." (Stress on the "oh.")

She was being a jerk, but instead of being a jerk back (I figured I could just blog about it later) I pressed my case, explaining that I scheduled an appointment with him yesterday for an ear ache, and we did it via email, and the emailer's initials were [redacted] (his assistant). I think his assistant checks his email but he basically dictates what to email back.

I made a note of the name on the receptionist's nametag. It was a nice name for such a jerky woman.

"I don't know anything about this," she said. "Dr. Lisn't here. He doesn't work on Fridays. You're going to have to wait to talk to the nurse."

Silently, I took a seat and picked up Nicole's book to pass the time.

Taking her sweet time, she finished up her paperwork. I might note that I was the only patient in the reception area. Then she went over to find a nurse to tell her that (and I'm paraphrasing here) some idiot was here claiming to have an appointment with Dr. L.

The nurse reiterated that he doesn't work on Fridays, so I reiterated that we had corresponded via email, and he said I should come in today, Friday, at 8:15 a.m. I volunteered to show them the email if they would let me use a computer. My suggestion was greeted with more snottiness. They'll just have to call him to set things straight.

A quick phone call to the good doctor cleared things up: I was right! I did so have an appointment. Only Dr. Leither forgot about it or decided to let another doctor handle it.

I'm not going to fault him. He's a good doctor and I like him a lot. So I was instructed to wait for another doctor to see me.

In a few minutes I saw another doctor, an Indian guy in his late thirties or early forties. He was also a good guy. He checked me out and declared me ear-infection free. "There is nothing physiologically wrong with you," he said, suggesting that my ear ache was stress related. (He may well be right.)

So that was my adventure. I'm out an hour's sleep and a ten-dollar copay. I'm glad I kept my mouth shut, but I still think that receptionist could have heard me out instead of declaring me an idiot from the start. I might be stressed and perhaps hypochondriacal, but I know when my doctor's appointments are.

Well, the other good news is that since I'm not on antibiotics I can fully enjoy the good Belgian beers at Spuyten Duyvil tonight for the grand Solstice fest. If my ear ache really is stress-related, then a relaxing evening is just what the doctor ordered.

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