Thursday, September 5, 2013

Your Advice Needed - If You're a Skilled and Professional Masochist

Okay. It's true confession time and a rant so look away while you have the chance.  I am about to blow a gasket and I KNOW I'm not alone.

Here's news that will (not) shock you:  Very few people actually do their job these days, or follow through, or keep their word.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  ALL the time.

This is not my way.  If I say I'll do it, I do (barring serious illness, laundry pile avalanches, and/or death), and I have some friends I can count on for the same commitment. We don't expect trophies or awards, we just do it.  You don't have to suck up, kiss up, or indulge our diva-ness to get good treatment from us.  Of COURSE we make mistakes but when we do we own them and then try and fix them.  We don't cop an attitude and we don't blame it on others.  We don't ask anyone to PAY for our mistakes - with time or money.  Why is this such a rarity? Why am I surrounded with people lately who have made rather large mistakes and yet take the offensive and get in MY face with no acknowledgment of their responsibilities to answer calls or read emails (or even to read copious notes I have created, by hand, for hours on end, sitting at your table, so things will be understandable and run smoothly? Hello, mother).

And can YOU get a doctor's office staff member to call you back?  I can't.  I mean, hands down, I cannot.  I call and call and call.  I write emails.  Unless you are in the office and looking them in the eyeball, nothing happens except attitude as if you're bothering them by making them respond to you and do their job.  And may I just add, as an not EVER presume, from a doctor's office, that no news is good news on test results.  My mother-in-law died this way.  When I examined her chart during the last days of her life I found an entry from three years earlier stating they saw a spot on her lungs and that it should be followed up. No one informed her.  No one followed up.  It took her life. No news is NOT necessarily good news.

My daughter, during what has turned out to be a very mysterious two-month-long illness, was supposed to see a cardiologist a week ago but it took nearly a week just to get one of the girls from her regular doctor's office to call me back.  Not call me the first time, mind you, because that never happened.  I mean, call me back after my calling THEM several times when days had gone by and I had heard nothing.  Her doctor had said he wanted her SEEN within a week - not referred within a week.  And when I pushed for the referral after not being able to get them to contact me, it was  accompanied with attitude and heavy sighing.  Fast forward to the cardiologist's office when the referral finally got there and the same thing.  It clearly stated she was to be seen STAT and the names of two doctors she could see (either one was fine).  The appointment we got, I found out at the last minute, was with a different doctor.  That's a no-go.  Her very competent doctor had picked the other two specialists for a reason.  It's now been two-and-a-half weeks.  I just called the scheduling woman at the cardiologist's office AGAIN. She said she will text the doctor.  She forgot. Dear lord.

And then there is the mini spa package my husband bought me for Mother's Day this year.  Made my appointment and, after an especially harrowing series of events three weeks ago, couldn't WAIT to get in for my facial and massage. But the day before, I got notified that the aesthetician quit and would, on Saturday morning, instead of giving me a facial, be cleaning out her things.  If she was going to be there anyway, couldn't she have just honored her final commitments that were ALREADY PAID FOR and honor the appointment she had actually made herSELF?  Apparently not.

And there are other situations I could describe that would raise your eyebrows or maybe your blood pressure but I'll spare you - to protect the guilty.  And I'm not a victim.  I'm not alone in this.  You go through it, too, but how do you handle it?  Do you throw it all at the feet of Jesus and just give up?  Do you soldier on and arm yourself for battle? Do you unplug/turn off the phone and go into retreat mode? Do you turn the other cheek and just let the kickers give it to you in the teeth until they are satisfied? If you confront them, do you win the battle but lose the war?  Is it so much beating of an ant hill and then the ants just swarm and bite?  I honestly don't know.  While I had my head in my glacial freezer yesterday thawing out the Titanic worthy icebergs, I alternately cried, blew my nose, and dried dripping water and tears with the blow dryer.  I came away with no answers.  So, what's your advice?  I would love to hear how YOU handle these daily vagaries.  Most of it isn't life threatening and in the big picture, each thing alone is manageable - except for my daughter's issues which still confound me.  But it is a steady barrage and assault that takes its daily toll and makes me want to live in a hermitage with vicious, protective dogs as my only companions and greeters of would-be visitors. 

If you've read this far you are obviously a masochist which, apparently, makes you my kind of people and qualifies you to advise me.  Go for it.  I'm not Dr. Frasier Crane but, I AM listening.

© Robynn's Ravings 2013


  1. Always love to read you even if things are not so good and boy, can I relate. (We've missed you out here by the way). Wish I could offer advice but these things frustrate the heck out of me too. Sounds like your being given a message to either learn to push back more so people dont walk on you or that no matter how hard you push somethings can't be fixed. Really helpful huh? Sorry! LoL

  2. It's mostly true. But then I looked at my own profession as a matter of pride to do your best and be responsible. Period. Call me old fashioned if you like....:)

  3. Your poor daughter...have they found out anything yet? We are still waiting for Misty's neurologist to set up the TEST she is to have BEFORE the 19th when the first appointment is.

    I so understand........


  4. One of my biggest flaws is not being able to respond in a difficult situation, my brain shuts off, and I just get blindsided when things happen that throw me for a loop.

    The one thing I do is to try to maintain a constant stream of prayer for discernment. I think I pray almost every day: "Lord help me to know when to speak and when to stay silent, when to act and when to do nothing!"

    I still have moments all the time when I just hit the wall and am confounded by how others act, speak and basically care nothing for anyone but themselves.

    One advantage I have is having a small group of women, these women hold me up in many ways. In those moments when I fail to speak or say something when faced with difficulties, I know that when my brain actually does start to work again all I have to do is pick up the phone and enter my safe zone. I can say anything to these women, and they hold me accountable.

    I think for women, we have the blessings and the curse of holding on to the things that bother us with in our head and our heart. For me just the act of pouring forth knowing that no matter what I say, no matter how bad, how angry, how ugly it may be my gal pal's will quietly listen and then either just hug me or hold my feet to the fire with the truth. All I know is that at the beginning of a conversation I will feel angry, vengeful or what ever it may have been that had been bothering me, but by the end of our conversation just the act of speaking it out loud helps immeasurably to rid the “garbage” from collecting in my head!

    Lastly, as a person of faith I am faced every day with how loudly the word speaks.

    There is practically no situation where the moral dumbing down has not encroached upon. The concept of actually doing what you say you will do is just a foreign concept. Everything is acceptable and lowering the standard of behavior is now the acceptable way most secular situations go.

    It makes me nuts, it makes me sad and it breaks God’s heart.

    I feel your pain, especially where your daughter is concerned. That Momma Bear comes out when we feel that our children are not getting the care that they need.

    Confession time, there MAY have been moments (a lot of them) when I MAY have prayed for unkind things to happen to unkind people, prayed for God’s vengeance to rain down fire upon those that had harmed me or not lived up to me expectations.

    Fortunately God is God and I am not….cause me being God…not pretty!

    I am not sure if this qualifies as advice, it is more in the lines of just hearing what you said and UNDERSTANDING how you feel.

    I will pray that you and your daughter find some listening ears and some resolution to her health issues very soon!


  5. Linda, this kind of stuff appalls me. With all Misty has been through how can they be so cavalier and, if they don't get it done, you'll go to the doctor and the results won't be there. I think I need to pray the Serenity Prayer about 1,000 times. I hope you get a call soon. Wish I could offer more, like how to get around this. A friend just told me to bypass the phone calls and go directly to the office, if it's not in another town or something. Maybe that would help?

  6. Robin, I SO appreciate your honesty and transparency. Wish I always had the right response or that I was more duck-like and things truly didn't penetrate. I can choose not to respond but I haven't yet figured out how not to whirl around like a blender inside. I tend to absorb aggressive people's energy, sit dumbstruck, and then twist inside trying to figure out if I should have said more, or anything, or said less and let silence speak for me. I keep giving it to God with this prayer: "Hello, this is Robynn and I can't do this!" hahaha Not exactly your most holy prayer but spoken from the heart. He obviously disagrees with me because I'm still doing it!

    Thanks for caring enough to drop in and write. :)

  7. I've got nothin', except that people are stupid. Not us, but people. I drove into our church driveway, and 2 gals were walking smack dab in the MIDDLE of MY "lane", TOWARDS ME. They never ONCE moved to either side. Plowing into them would have almost been worth the life in prison sentence. Everyone is just so self-absorbed, which is why they couldn't care less about honoring a commitment they made to YOU. Who cares about YOU?! It's all about THEM.

    Sorry - no advice. Just mutual irritation.

  8. Tami, you help me laugh, girl! And that IS helpful. As I just told another friend, you and I can usually take the bad, irritating, stupid things of life and spin them into something worth laughing over but when I lose that, I KNOW I'm in a bad place. Maybe I just needed to chew on this one longer - you know, until it got funny. But I didn't want to wait 20 years to blog again! Thanks for the company in my misery!

  9. Tami, you help me laugh, girl! And that IS helpful. As I just told another friend, you and I can usually take the bad, irritating, stupid things of life and spin them into something worth laughing over but when I lose that, I KNOW I'm in a bad place. Maybe I just needed to chew on this one longer - you know, until it got funny. But I didn't want to wait 20 years to blog again! Thanks for the company in my misery!

  10. Hurt my toe at the beach on Tuesday (a couple of weeks ago on our anniversary trip. ) The pain was intense and the swelling and discoloration were yucky looking. Husband drove us home from the coast on Wednesday. I called my doctor and told him what had happened. ) He told me to go for X-rays. I did...on the same day that we drove home from Florida. (Wednesday). After the X-rays were complete, I asked if I could get the results. Oh, no. Have to wait until radiologist calls doctor. Will be tomorrow. call from doctor , so I called the office. Of COURSE I had to leave a message asking what the results of the X-ray were. No return call.
    Friday...still no word, so I assume all is well. (Except that my big toe is sore and I can't walk on it. ) But, I do my best. (You know where this is going, don'tcha?). My phone rings on MONDAY. "Mrs. B." (that's my real name) "Your toe is broken. "
    Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and they are JUST NOW telling me I have a broken toe!!
    Robyn. I am sooooo with you in the livid department, sister girl.
    I honestly think the world has been invaded by idiots!!!
    It has to be that.
    What to do?
    Talking about it like this (you to us via your blog and me to you via this comment) helps a lot. It also helps to know that we are not alone in the way we are being treated and in the way we feel about it.
    Now, I'm gonna try and do unto others as I would have them do into me, but my fist is balled up inside my jeans pocket, and I really wanna shake it at some idiots.
    We could probably write several books!!!
    Just sayin'.
    Thank you for listening.

  11. Jackie, my sweet friend, I'm SO sorry you suffered with a broken toe and nobody thought it was important enough to tell you. This is just pure insanity! I'm mean, seriously, HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE to pick up the phone and tell somebody that and guide them to the next step? This appalling behavior should be front page news because some of these issues are truly life and death.

    When my husband had pneumonia last March they ordered his x-ray on Thursday and we had it done THEN. RIGHT then. Early in the day. No call back Thursday. No call back Friday. Called Friday afternoon, they had all gone home early. I called the on-call doctor and was told we couldn't get results. I kicked AND screamed. One hour later? Results. Pneumonia. He would have been without meds for another 72 hours. I could go on and on but I will say this other warning: NEVER let a doctor tell you this happens to no one else. I think we're all living proof that this is now the norm. I think this calls for ANOTHER post! I have more to say about this and you're right, Jackie. We COULD write a book! Thanks so much for your always loving support!

    1. I'm glad you demanded results, Robynn. In that case, it could have been a life/death situation.
      In my case, it wasn't. But, I have to add what the nurse who finally called me on Monday asked me after she told me that my toe was broken.
      "Would you like to see an orthopedic doctor?"
      (Want to guess my reply!!)
      I am indeed glad that you continued to follow up on your husband's chest X-ray.
      We shouldn't have to do that, and I worry about the innocently naive people who trust everything that is said and done regarding their health care. We should be able to trust the care we are getting. And, we should know that we need to ask questions...and follow up.

  12. I don't know whether to laugh or cry- honestly. One of the most useful things I read about how to navigate cancer treatment centers/hospitals, was to figure out who the "gatekeepers" were. Very common these days!! Find who they are and do your best to go around them without them knowing.

    In my case, its one of my doctor's nurses. She is sweet but HE is the last person she lets me have contact with- even though HE tells me He wants me to be in contact with Him. I called once to reschedule an appt with him. She said he was booked for weeks and could not see me so I had to keep my appt. I called a week in advance and also needed to reschedule infusion. So I said fine and she transferred my call. Now the infusion nurse reschedules my infusion then says, "oh and we may as well reschedule that dr's appt too. Yes he is busy, but I'll find a way to get you in. And she does!! She finds several openings the coming up Monday! So Monday comes- and his nurse calls. Oh oh I think- I'm in trouble. But no- she reads his "orders" to me " I can't see Vicky at 2 but I want to see her so see if she can do 9, 10, 11, or lunch time even- whatever works for HER- cuz I want to see her! Oh, did I feel validated. The doctors do want to see us!

    But the gatekeepers are truly being trained it seems, to prevent that very access at times.

    Anyway- I can relate- and don't know about our evolving medical environment- you have to become quite savvy and definitely demanding and follow through a ton to get results.