The Born Fiasco

February 10, 2013

I think that would be a good addition to the Jason Bourne series, don’t you? The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy, and ending with The Bourne Fiasco. (Please tell me you read those in your best movie-trailer voice. Or don’t tell me that you didn’t and go back and reread them that way. Makes me smile.)

My GP’s last name is Born.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before. I did something to my shoulder back in December. I don’t know what I did. It was fine, and then it wasn’t. I can’t raise my left arm above shoulder level. And it’s not getting better. So before I left for San Francisco, I decided that I should make an appointment to see my GP about it. I scheduled one for the morning after I was due to get back.

And then, Friday, when it was about 6am in San Francisco, my phone rang. I got all excited because I thought it might be the computer repair shop about my laptop. It wasn’t. It was the admin from my GP’s office. She was calling to cancel my appointment. You see, I haven’t been to my GP since 2008, so I’m not his patient anymore. I told her that this meant I didn’t have a GP. I could hear the shrug in her voice when she said she guessed I was right. I told her that their website says they’re accepting new patients. She told me that those were only for “specialty patients”. After we hung up, I called my mother. She agreed that this was unacceptable. Since I was three time zones away, she said she’d call the practice manager, who happens to be the doctor’s wife.

We still hadn’t heard back from her by the time I got back, so on Monday, I left her a message, too. I told her that it was very upsetting to be told that the person who’d been my doctor almost as long as he’d been in practice was no longer my doctor. I told her that it wasn’t right to drop young, healthy patients because they have the nerve to be too healthy to need to see the doctor regularly. I told her I was sure we could resolve this. And a few hours later she called me back. She said she was furious when she got my message. Neither she nor the doctor had been aware that the front office staff was dropping long-time patients simply because they were healthy. They’d been getting complaints from long-term patients (e.g. my parents) about how difficult it was to get an appointment with the doctor. They told the front staff to stop taking new patients so that they could better serve the long-time patients. The front staff, apparently, took this to mean that any patient who gets flagged by an insurance code as a “new patient” (meaning they haven’t had an appointment in more than three years), those patients are not to be accepted. She also told the admin that her nonchalant attitude had been unacceptable. And she made an appointment for me Tuesday afternoon. And now, of course, both she and the doctor are wondering how many long-time patients got dropped who didn’t fight back. They were both as upset as I was over the situation.

Anyway, my diagnosis is that my shoulder is impinged. (I had to Google that to find out exactly what that means. Apparently all the muscles in your shoulder can just seize up for no apparent reason. That explains why it was fine one day and not the next.) The treatment is physical therapy. Obviously no x-ray and no drugs because I’m pregnant. (And he apologized, too, for the fiasco. Yes, my GP is an awesome doctor. There’s a reason I didn’t want to find a new practice.) My first PT appointment was Friday. It’s going to be work, but I know it will get better.

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