If it were fiction, you’d scoff

By Mir
July 17, 2007

You know how people say that “truth is stranger than fiction?”

The thing about fiction is that you WANT it to seem like truth, so it can’t be TOO outlandish or people would say “No way, that would never happen.” Even though the things that happen in real life are FAR stranger and worse and weirder, because those are the things no one would believe if they weren’t true.

My life, for example. It would be terrible fiction. Who would believe it?

Okay, maybe not my WHOLE life. But today, for sure. Today started out great and then just kept sliding downhill at a gallop and now it’s all I can do to pull my face out of this box of cookies and tell you about it.

(Oh, these cookies? Tammy brought these to me today, possibly because she is the very most spectacular human to walk the face of the planet, and also a little bit because she read my WAH WAH WAH I HAVE NO FRIENDS post and correctly surmised that if she brought me chocolate chocolate-chip cookies from the good bakery that I would declare her to be my new best friend. The part where I was so moved that I actually petted her arm a little scared her a bit, I fear, and also my dorkocity level spiked up to 11 while I tried to explain that really, I think she might be one of My People but I don’t want to be all needy and pester her all the time while I’m busy being overwhelmed with life and such and she’s one of the few people I know here. But. Still. COOKIES!)


Remember how I set up doctor’s appointments for the kids? And how that was already not exactly without drama? But in the end I prevailed; the doctor was selected, the appointments were made, the HMO complied in assigning THAT doctor to the kids?

When I made the appointments, the nice young man on the phone told me where to go online to print out the registration forms. “If you can just have those filled out when you come,” he told me, “that will save a lot of time.”

Being the obedient sort that I am, I printed out the gazillion forms and spent over an hour filling them out this afternoon. (This becomes important later.)

Let us take a brief break from the Saga of the Doctor to discuss something else: The beloved GPS unit. Yesterday I had my first taste of betrayal from Audrey. You see, I told her where to take me, and she told me where to go and where to turn, and then suddenly she announced “Arriving at destination!” in her clipped British accent and GUESS WHAT? That’s right. I was not at my destination. I ended up driving in MANY MANY CIRCLES around the GENERAL VICINITY of my destination, because Audrey is not smart enough to know when an address corresponds to an especially long (hidden) driveway or a funny jog off the main road or whatever. This is not Audrey’s fault. But it still sucks mightily when I am driving around in circles thinking to myself “I AM CERTAIN I DROPPED THE KIDS OFF SOMEWHERE NEAR HERE AT SOME POINT.” I’m just sayin’. (Yes, I found them eventually.)

So, today I loaded up the kids and headed to the doctor’s appointment. I left us plenty of time to get there. And that was a good thing, because Audrey did it to me again.

We drove as she commanded and I was pulling up next to a gas station when she announced “Arriving at destination!” Well, I’m fairly certain I did not choose a Kwik-E-Mart employee as my children’s primary doctor, although YOU NEVER KNOW, I suppose. Thanks to yesterday’s confusion, however, I knew to look around for funny driveways or what have you, and I was able to figure out the problem pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, the location problem only got worse. The address was, say, 123 Main Street. The problem, of course, was that the office was ACTUALLY on Side Street, but a tiny sliver of the office is out on Main Street (hence the address). I was able to figure out the Side Street thing without a problem. No, the problem was that once I turned onto Side Street, I discovered an entire COMPLEX of offices stretching three blocks down Side Street. And ALL OF THEM are located at 123 Main Street! EVERY SINGLE ONE! Fabulous.

We parked. We walked. We found ourselves in a dentist’s office, where I politely asked for the suite in question. They asked who we were trying to find, and I told them, and they told us which building we wanted. I thanked them and we left and found the right building.

Phew. Okay. Right building, right office. Success! I signed the kids in on a clipboard at the front desk. Although there were two office workers right there in front, neither of them said hello or acknowledged us in any way.

We sat down.

We waited.

Long story only slightly shorter, we waited for OVER AN HOUR to be seen. During that time, three different drug reps came by with goodies to drop off and a request to meet with the doctor. NO PATIENTS came out of the office and none were taken in. Another family sat waiting across from us and eventually we made the sort of small talk you’d expect in such a situation; gee, this is taking a long time. Yes, I wonder what the hold up is. Gosh, I wonder if we’ll have to sleep here tonight! Haha!

Five minutes before we were taken in, the other family gave up and left. They stopped long enough to tell the secretary that they were leaving and she asked if they wanted to reschedule. To her credit, the mom didn’t use a single swear word, just snorted and said, “No, I don’t think we ever want to come back.”

During the space of our wait, my children found every single hidden picture in every single Highlights magazine published in the last year. Hooray!

We were finally taken back, and the kids were measured and weighed. We were then put in an exam room and the nurse started asking me history questions.

After about the fourth question, I interrupted to say, “You know, I filled out the entire history form. Do you not have that?”

“Oh, yes, of course I do,” she said. “But it’s just a lot faster to do it this way if you don’t mind.” I acquiesced, but you know, I spent a long time filling those forms out, and it would’ve been a lot faster for ME if I could’ve spent that time working or cooking dinner or sucking face with Otto. What a waste of an hour.

The children, by the way, don’t drink or smoke, nor have they ever had phlebitis, polio, scabies, stroke, pleurisy, or any STD. Yeah. Those were important questions.

When the doctor finally arrived and wanted to know why we were there, I explained wanting to meet him and establish care, and also that the schools want the kids’ immunization records on the proper Georgia forms. He told me they don’t do that.

Of course they don’t.

At that point my left eyelid began to twitch, and his nurse darted forward to volunteer that she’d “see what she could do” and then fled the room.

By now, Monkey was rolling around on the exam table and Chickadee was trying to dismantle the miniature model skeleton sitting on the windowsill. I half-heartedly tried to corral them a bit, but quite honestly, I had lost the will to live by that point.

They had their (cursory) exams. I asked for a referral for Chickadee and after some back and forth though I’d obtained what I needed, only to find out that while we were driving home the doctor called to say that we needed to do something else entirely.

When we got home I realized that we’d been gone from the house for close to three hours for our two 15-minute appointments. The kids ran off and I sank into my desk chair and commanded Otto to order pizza for dinner, because apparently I really wanted some cheesy breadsticks before I expired if at all possible.

The children ate as if they’d just returned from a long sojourn in the desert, which I guess in a way they had. I watched them eat and eat and eat and said a silent prayer that they NEVER get sick here.


  1. Kira

    What, EXACTLY is this scam about “Just print out the bazillion page intake form and fill it in – it will SAVE TIME.”?
    BASTARDS. I have run through seventeen reams of paper and twelve metric tons of ink cartriges in the past week alone. Bastards.

  2. Dawn

    Oh, Mir! “Kwik E Mart employee as physician” and “lost my will to live” makes my stomach hurt. And I’m really not sure if I will ever be able to think about this stranger than fiction story and not totally laugh out loud. I have sat here, and read and re-read this and just can not stop laughing. I’m laughing with you (from a far) and not at you. It’s just written so smart and truly hysterical.

  3. Em

    That is unbelievable. I assume you are going to find a new doctor? Maybe ask some schoolmates parents for recommendations when classes start? How about some of those wild children in the neighborhood? If they weren’t healthy, they wouldn’t have so much energy.

    I remember when I switched OB/GYN’s with my last pg, they wanted me to come in a half hour early to “fill out paperwork”. What I did for a half hour was write my name and birthday at the top of all the papers they would be filling out about me over the next nine months. Didn’t they used to have addressograph cards for that? Or even a label printer? At least I got to pay them for the privilege. I wonder how much it would have cost to take the trash out.

  4. Catherine

    So now you’ve found two GPs that don’t see kids? That’s too much, like an OB that doesn’t deliver babies. Or a gyn that doesn’t do breast exams. You get my point.

    I feel for you. I, however, am lucky. My kids have a pediatrician that does see & treat kids. Now, if only, the pesky insurance company hadn’t just randomly kicked us off my husband’s insurance.

    At least this took your mind of the feral children for a few hours.

  5. Chewie

    My old doc was much the same way…it was MADDENING…then suddenly (right after I gave birth to a BABY that my doc couldn’t FIND IN MY GUT for months) he got really nice and we were given great service. *grin*

    We now go to a new doc and I luuuuurve her so much. She even gets it when I say “don’t even SUGGEST that one MAY experience a symptom or she WILL” She laughed and said, “that is SO my second one…got it.” I made out with her and sadly parted ways that day…but no fear…they’ve been sick plenty since we established.

    Oh…and try making INTERNATIONAL shot records into something acceptable for life in general…it’s a regular scream.


  6. Ruth

    Cheesy breadsticks as a last meal – not a bad idea! We should eat them frequently seeing that we never exactly know when the end will come.

    I have many similar stories about doctors. Generally speaking, I believe that doctors are pagans or Mormons at heart. Evidently all that education makes them into powerful demi-gods who are above respecting the dignity of the rest of us.

  7. Chris

    Thank God you DO have a sense of humor or I fear you would do yourself in. What a misadventure. It really will get better, I promise. Finding your people, the doctor thing, unruly children….I swear it really will get better.

  8. Karen@FamilyBriefs

    Help me get up off the floor – I’m rolling tonight! This sounds like my life, but I can’t put it as . . . ummm . . . eloquently as you, my dear. Welcome to the south :) I’m telling you, my GREAT pediatrician is just a hop, skip, and a jump from there (and they do the blue forms :)

  9. Bri

    Maybe this will help? In the back of the August issue of Lucky magazine are some recommended shops in your new neck of the woods. It even said that the website would provide maps to help you find them, so Audrey can take the day off.

  10. susan

    I have to say, your writing is the best even if I hate that you were treated that way; they could have least let you have some of that pharmaceutical swag!
    Ditch that doctor and get a recommendation from one of your PEOPLE, when you can.

  11. Cele

    1) I will never move to Georgia
    2) I will never go look for a new doctor
    3) I will never get a GPS
    4) I never look a cookie horse in the mouth…I just smile, fall all over said cookie horse with humble thanks, and smile between crumbs.

    Ugh my brother and sister in law just this week are moving to Augusta, should I warn them?

  12. Sheryl

    Sheesh, I thought I had a bad day. You win.

  13. Judy.

    Truly, Georgia’s not all that bad… I promise :-) We’re still glad you’re here and things WILL get better. Promise! Pinky swear.

  14. MomCat

    Yikes! I can relate. I pack for an expedition when we go to a doctor, certain ones in particular. It’s taken me years to find a few good ones. The moving horror stories were frightening, now the settling-in stories are giving me panic attacks. And we closed on our place yesterday. Must….take….deep…..breaths!

  15. Mia

    It’s because you have an HMO. They are evil, and only employ stupid doctors. If you can, switch to regular insurance.

  16. Ann

    Mir, you having a day like that and being able to write about it as sadly funny as you did makes me think you are soooooo pretty!

    How much would you charge to write me a freelance fiction story about my medical ventures? I could use a good laugh…and some cheese sticks. Because yes, I am getting well after months of physical therapy which ISN’T the treatment I needed for a problem which was MINOR and IRRELEVANT and certainly not the underlying cause for why I suddenly couldn’t walk. Ah, yes…doctors.

    But there are some really great ones out there, and I hope you find one.

  17. mimi/pz5wjj

    OF course the doctors give out those freakin’ forms! They have to sign them!

    I love my pediatrician and if you lived near me, I’d give you his name and number. That’s rediculous! I’ve never had to wait more than 20 minutes for my doc and that is usually for the last minute OMG my kid has a 105 degree temp, can you see him NOW apts!

  18. Vee

    We wait over an hour every time I bring my son to his pediatrician. He is 12 now and I’m really thinking about switching him to my GP because I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes to see him.

    I often wonder why we have to wait so long to see my son’s doctor. Do they double schedule? Is it because they have to fit in walk ins? I’d love to know.

  19. Megan

    Oh! Oh! And what about the fact that they not only don’t provide free (and fast) wireless internet in the waiting room they don’t even want you to use your laptop? Or is that just my horrible HMO?

  20. Amy


    Judy is right, Georgia isn’t that bad, I mean you could have wound up in Alabama. Some of the hospitals near where you are may have a referral line. That’s how I found all my doctors in my town.

    Hope life in the south gets better!!!

  21. Terri

    Maybe you’d have had better success trying the Kwik E Mart after all. Perhaps Audrey knew what she was doing…

    I told you to move to where I am — I lovelovelove our pediatrician and am dreading the day he retires, which will inevitably be well before we’re through with pediatricians. Their practice has 8 doctors and some nurse practitioners, and usually short waits. Not that I’ve never waited, but it’s rare. And, since my kids have had all their shots there, I just call and they fax the form to me.

    I love my ob/gyn, too, if you want to drive an hour. ;)

  22. Randi

    I see – I see – A new doctor in your future…

  23. Hula Doula

    OY OY OY! I think I would have twitched, screamed, fallen over and started into convultions. May be then they would have seen you. Probably not though because you weren’t the children.

  24. tori

    My life is usually so strange (like yours) that I don’t write about half of what happens because I KNOW people would think I was making it up or being dramatic or something.

    I know a bunch of excellent doctors by me (Illinois) but I suppose that would be a little too far for you.

  25. Aimee

    Mother of pearl — what a scam! I do think, though, that cheesy bread sticks and cookies can go a long way toward curing frustration.

  26. Heather S.

    OMG I would have said could you just stab me in the eye it would be quicker and less painful thanks…..hope things get better and SOON!!!!

  27. Liza

    If you are remotely near Decatur, we love our pediatric practice. It has 6 or 8 doctors, all women, all lovely. I want them to be my best friends. I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes, even during school vacation time. Here’s their web site: http://www.dekalbpediatrics.com/

  28. Daisy

    I wish you luck. Lots of luck. And in the meantime, enjoy the cookies. Maybe I’ll order pizza for dinner tonight; nah, I haven’t had anywhere near the day you have.

  29. Dana

    The thing with the forms pisses me off. That’s bull. I hate our doctor’s office too, simply because the waiting time is horrendous. And with a toddler, I start to lose if we’ve waited longer than 15 minutes for our appt!

  30. Wendy

    You are far too nice. I can tell you there is a file dedicated to my tanturms at any and all doctor’s offices we have visited. It was so bad until a wee little storm, Katrina, sank the city and most of the doctors floated away.

    I was lucky to have found our ped, but in a different office with different staff. Staff that thought it was their mission to make me jump from the roof. Finally, after a long wait (You dont make me wait when I show up on time for my appt)and having to deal with a cranky infant and in training detective of a 4 yr old daughter I exploded. I demanded to see the doctor and told the lady at the desk, in no uncertain terms, that I will draw and quarter her if she made me fill out one more form or wait one more minute. Since then no problems, although I often wonder why they run when they see me coming.

  31. Susan

    I admire your restraint. I would have been EGGING THE CHILDREN ON in their destruction of the examining room.


  32. David

    You know, that could have been a whole lot more interesting (not to mention gratifying)if you’d brought the feral neighbor kids along too and then left them there. ::evil grin::

  33. Jenifer

    You poor thing….

    I’d have given up with the other family!!

  34. Angel

    I only slightly like drug reps because my doc will give me samples and save me a copay in case the med doesn’t work.

    But UGH I hate it when doctors make you wait for a child’s appointment. My son’s former ophthalmologist had at least a 2 hr wait @@

    I hope it gets better–or that you get a new doc!

  35. Mama Bear

    The beloved GPS Unit: Oh yes, this same beloved unit is what we rented on our vacation in Southern California. It came in a horrid rental van that was filthy, and it too managed to have us driving in circles many times, because apparently it had not been updated in the last year or so. Circles, circles, Hubby yelling at it, Mr. 17 yelling that it’s not the computers fault the roads have changed, etc. We are still trying to decide whether we had a love or hate relationship with the GPS. We do know we had a hate relationship with the traffic in CA! What a mess!
    As for the Dr.’s appointments, most of ours run along that same vein, I feel for you. In fact, I’ll be feeling it in about another 3 hours as I take Miss 14 in for her physical/heart exam for the year. I figure the rest of my day is pretty much shot now.

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