Four O’clock – The time my Dr’s appt was scheduled with my Orthopedic Surgeon. I was 5 minutes early, paid my co-payment, and sat waiting patiently in a chair close to the door I went through last time I visited. Four fifteen. I finally decided to play on my cell phone for a bit, though the battery was running low. What is taking so long? I couldn’t help but think to myself. I watched other patients walk into the office, pay their dues, sit and wait for their turn. One patient was called. And another… and another… and another. Four thirty. What the hell? The woman at the front desk who had checked me in glances over the desk every two minutes or so, and quickly looks away when I make eye contact. I know she can tell I am irritated.
I listen to the chatty receptionist go on and on about movies they have seen. “OH! Hitch is my fav!” “I love the Notebook!” “OH MY GOSH! ME, TOO!” I can’t help but roll my eyes at their non stop hen’s nest behavior. I refer back to my cell phone, shifting my sore body every few minutes. I have been sitting in this chair for forty five minutes now, and my entire body has begun to ache. The nausea I was feeling earlier prevented me from taking any of my pain medication, and I wasn’t sure if it would affect anything they wanted to do today. I can feel myself starting to drift off, as my body often does towards this time of day, and I have to force myself to stay awake. I want to lay down! I want to rest my tired bones and recover from the long day I have already had. Instead it is now four forty five, and I am STILL waiting to even be called into the exam room.
Just about that time, I notice that the woman who checked me in took a clipboard and set it down on the shelf that she had set all the others of patients who had come in. My physical therapist walked over from the hall, and picked it up. She leaned in and asked the receptionist a few questions, made an awkward face, and disappeared behind the walls. I shifted my body, and went to look at my cell phone again. Dead. It had died. What a frustrating last hour it had been! Within a minute the same nurse opened the door and called my name. I glace over at the receptionist, as she lowered her gaze to her desk. She forgot to put my chart out! We both knew this was true. It was now four fifty. What a waste.
I waited another ten minutes for my Dr, and once he entered the room, the exam was quite fast. He moved my legs around until it hurt. This way and that. Does this hurt? Does that hurt? Let’s see what it takes to cause grinding. Oh, more grinding this way. More that way. No pain here. SEVERE pain there. OK! He let me know that we need to send off to the insurance company and get approval for an MRI. It will require another $50 co-pay, and then a return to the office for a follow up. Another $50. The hours they are open are the same as I work. It seems the minimum hours I am going to miss from work is going to be 3. This means not only my hourly wage lost, but also $150 in co-pays. As a single mother who no longer gets any child support, this is almost impossible. I think of what past due bills I have. What food I have in my house. How I will pay my daycare bills. Is it worth it? Can I just leave it alone and live with the pain?
As I walk out to my car, after being told by the SAME receptionist that it was NOW too late to speak with the insurance company today, and it may be a few more days before they can actually get approval, I tried to ignore the pain that shot through my legs. It now hurts with every step, and sends tingles from my hips to my feet. I can’t help but feel a burning inside my chest and the pain shoots down my body. I feel my eyes start to swell with tears, and the hurtful anger start to well up. This is SO unfair! I get into my car, push down on the clutch and turn the key. This sends an aching through my foot, and up my leg. Press the brake, and shift. More pain. This is SOOOO unfair!!! As I drive home, I hold back the angry tears, and try to convince myself that it is all going to be fine. You can do this! YOU CAN DO THIS! You CAN do this!!! I begin to repeat to myself. I just have to convince myself of this, and I will be fine. Right? Ugh.. this is not right.
This is so unfair.