You can take the girl out of the Dirty South, but you can’t take Dirty South outta the girl.

I arrived this morning at Dr. G’s office for my 6-month MS checkup at 10:36 am. This was 6 minutes later than the 10:30 appointment time because there was construction on the electric wires on Coldwater Canyon.

(A side note: Is there ever a time when you need to get to an important doctor’s appointment, when you leave just right on time when there isn’t surprise construction? I think there’s some kind of Magic Construction Gremlins whose job it is to make sure that traffic is slowed specifically to annoyance or maximum anxiety level. At this point in the game, I’ve started expecting them and leave 15 minutes earlier for appointments. But still. every time. No matter what. *shrug*)

I’m sitting there in the waiting room for more than 15 minutes when I get called up finally and am told that because I was late, the patient coordinator for the doctor has decided that the doctor won’t be seeing me because the doctor is so busy with patients that she wants to see the person who is on time and came after me.

Call it IIED. Call it me being pissed. Call it being high class, but before I could blink, breathe, or think, the words out of my mouth were, in very loud, very southern near-redneck twang “THIS IS SOME BULL-SHIT! I was stuck on a damn canyon road with construction, and I was 6 minutes late and have been here for near 20. I can see the doctor from here, and I had IV Solumedrol last week. If she wants to sign my piece of paper* and she can’t spare her precious time for me because my schedule didn’t match hers, that’s fine. I’m feeling okay today, but sign the paper. I took over an hour to get here, and this ain’t right.”

You should have seen the place. Full of old people, and some folks in their 30s and 40s who were obviously hurting. It went up like a damn beauty shop.

SIX minutes? That’s how exact you have to be here, or they’ll turn you away??” “That’s just ridiculous. Traffic here is terrible. They should at least give you 10 minutes.” “That poor girl was obviously on IVs last week. Look at her arm. It’s bruised all over, the least her doctor can do is give her a moment.”

There’s even a sign, at the front, saying if you’re more than 15 minutes late, they can reschedule you, but you would seriously think those people at UCLA had never had a late patient in their life. 6 minutes is not 15.

The reality of the situation was that the Patient Coordinator, S, is the same person who always gives me trouble when I need IV-SM and who I have to run a dance with regarding faxing things to Healthcare Partners Arcadia, so she was trying to lord her power over me, and once again, she made Dr. G look bad: this time to an entire room full of patients. Sure, I was acting out, but I got seen.

And at the end of the day, that’s what matters: getting good medical care.

Adam and I have been discussing whether or not I ought to get a new neurologist. Dr. G. is incredibly knowledgable, kind, patient, and easy to work with, but working with the UCLA/Healthcare Partners Arcadia dynamic when her patient care coordinator gets irritated and irritating at every interaction makes a part of my necessary healthcare unnecessarily filled with bad feeling.

Still, there’s no guarantees anywhere, and there’s something good about knowing your situation. Maybe the best thing to do here is really embrace the Southern-ness in me and pour some sugar towards that vinegar bitch who’s workin with my good doctor. Tis the season and all, what with Thanksgiving and Decemberween upon us. She might hate doin the work, but she’s gettin it done, and I need her to do her job. Saying “thank you” is not only the right and nice thing to do, but doing it right nice might make all the difference in the world.

I wonder what says, “Thanks for doing my paperwork and taking care of me, even though I’m sure you have an intense dislike of me.” Cookies? I wish I could afford Edible Arrangements. Fruit is so much better tasting and better for you! But I bake good cookies. And brownies.

And I can totally understand why this woman would dislike me. Every time we have to interact, it’s when I’m feeling my absolute worst, and we’re mired in red tape that is stopping me from being able to get treatment. We fight bureaucratic red tape together, and each of us is given a different set of instructions. My instructions say to call her and tell her to fax to a particular number. Her instructions say to do something else. When I contact her and tell her to fax to the particular number, it’s like me telling her how to do her job, every time. But that’s my job. Otherwise, the HMO doesn’t do their work for 2-3 more days, and I’m just not that patient when I’m hurting that badly.

Who am I kidding? I’m not that patient when I’m not hurting. Still, I also don’t want to reward bad behavior. It shouldn’t be like “be a cunt, get a cookie,” but the world’s not fair anyway, and I wouldn’t be feeling better if she didn’t help me anyway, every. single. time. (You’d think it was her job or something!) Deserves thanks and respect.

Speaking of thanks, I have thank you notes to get to! I’ve sent several out, but there are a lot that I’ve already written that I just haven’t put addresses and stamps on, so that’s next on the hit parade.

Oh, and I TOTALLY SCREWED UP and got on Facebook for a hot minute today. I picked out photos for a wedding album and left my computer up for several hours while we were away when we were at the doctor’s office, and when I came back people had thought I was up to chat with, and so I came back and accepted a friend request and status updated that I messed up. But I’m still sticking with it til Dec. 1 because I’m doing more than just staying on that page and seeing what’s going on with my friends. I’m actually doing… life.

**BLATANT ATTENTION WHORING** 🙂

Seriously though, I miss socializing. Badly. I have had very few emails or calls from friends this month, so it’s been good for handling my business, but for real, folks, I genuinely, deeply care about most of you. And if you don’t know if I’m talking about you, or you’re not reading my posts and therefore don’t think this line means “Rachael is specifically asking you — yes you! — to email her or call her or comment on this entry because she’s feeling better and wants to do stuff and is frickin lonely and can only hang out with Adam so much,” then you are a dork, and not in the usual, loveable fun way. 🙂

Please, let me know how you’re doing. Get in touch.

* – I’d brought a form from Glendale Water and Power to get $10 off a month b/c we have to keep the air temperature reasonable so I don’t overheat. Your doctor has to confirm you have MS. I recommend that you check for this perk if you have MS and are having trouble affording utilities!

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