Warning: This might be a rant.
Recently, I’ve noticed that more and more medical clinics are giving into the demand for a paperless society, adopting the use of tablets for patients to use in place of those pesky forms they never seem to have an endless supply of. And I’m all for the tablets, honestly. I’ve been to a couple different clinics that handle different medical needs who utilize them. You’d think certain clinics would get them before others… you would think.
Understandably, new patients are going to have a lot more forms to fill out. Most of the time, they’re mailed to us long before the appointment, and we bring them with us. This gives us time to fill them out at our leisure. But after getting rejected by the first two referrals my doctor tried to send out to Rheumatologists who weren’t accepting any new patients within the foreseeable future – I finally landed a last-minute appointment with the 3rd referral, and despite it being in a whole other city, I jumped on it, because it came down to “Either take it now, or suck it up for another 2 months”.
This didn’t give them any time to mail me those lovely new patient forms, since the appointment was for the very next morning. So, I crept along with the congested traffic inching its way past the massive construction of new on-ramps and overpasses stretching all along both sides of the biggest and busiest joint military base in our state to get to the clinic right on time – only to find out I was almost an hour early. The lady who set the appointment figured I would need all of that extra time – and I soon learned why, when instead of a convenient, merciful, compassionate tablet – I was handed a 2-inch thick stack of forms to fill out.
I stared at the woman handing them to me, wondering how she couldn’t see that my knuckles were swollen to the size of baby crab apples.
She didn’t notice. I took the clipboard, found a corner chair and started filling out all of the information they literally have the technology to get within a matter of seconds from my primary doctor via email/fax/exclusive doctor-to-doctor medical portal online, etc.
At this point, my fingers are so inflamed and my skin so tight, it feels like my skin’s going to pop open like a can of Pillsbury Grands as I force them to wrap around the pen to write….quite illegibly. I have to stop, flatten my hands back out and just breathe through the pain partway down the page, and then another partway, and another. Most of the 3rd page asked for all the same information I already gave on the 1st page. I’m irritated. I finally finish the 4th page and relax my hands, breathe and try to hold the pen again, but I can’t. They’re done. I took the clipboard back up to the counter and handed it to the oblivious receptionist.
“I can’t fill any more of these out, it really hurts,” I stated and showed her my hands. “Do you have a tablet or something?”
“Oh, no sorry we don’t have those.”
We is a funny word when you’re in a room within a larger building, and for some reason I took it to mean the entire hospital, not just their little special corner of it. I mean, why wouldn’t the Rheumatology clinic be at the top of the budgeting list for tablets? She didn’t make me complete anymore of the forms – not that I would have, anyway, but she was nice about it and I’m not one to cause a scene. I’m an introverted writer – I blog and then I find interesting ways to off people in books.
I had to spend extra time with the nurse, as she asked all the questions I didn’t answer in the forms. Then I did my time with the doctor, who requested labs. He was going to request x-rays, until I told him I’d just had x-rays done by my Orthopedist a couple months ago – the same one who showed me said x-rays and proudly exclaimed: “Look, no sign of arthritis anywhere!”
Bite me, Dr. Hottie. I don’t care how blue your eyes are, we are no longer friends.
After getting the lab forms from my new, not-as-hot doctor, I was sent across the hall – in the same building – of the same established hospital with its same budget I had the decency to take into account – to have my blood drawn. I open the door and there’s the reception desk to my right and the door to the room of horrors directly across, but what do my eyes immediately latch onto?
The mounted tablets complete with card readers/scanners under the large signs declaring “Express Check In.”
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
♥ So, that was my Thursday morning, how was yours?