Today was pre-op meeting day with my podiatrist. I learned several things:
1) Bunions are BIG business. My doc’s office was a stressed-out money making machine today that couldn’t stop long enough to schedule my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th post-surgery appointments at once. “We only schedule your post-op meeting today and we’re too busy right now to do more. If you want to call us back later you can.” “When would be a good time, I asked?” “Well, actually we’re always busy. If you want to wait a half hour while we take care of everyone else in the waiting room…” No thank you. I’ll call back. (I haven’t, which is probably exactly what they hoped for.)
I don’t know whether to be grateful that the doctor is good enough to be that busy or worried that they’ve got more business than they can handle and if it will affect him while he’s doing my surgery. Right now I choose to be grateful and trust this was just an anomaly. We’ll see what I feel in the morning. There’s still 6 days left before surgery.
2) Bring a list of questions and ask for the “Do’s and Don’ts Pre-op and Recovery List BEFORE you leave your initial appointment so that you can have your questions ready for your pre-op meeting.
Now I know why they wouldn’t give that list to me early – too many questions hang up the doc’s schedule. I waited 110 minutes to see him for 5 minutes, and when I asked him one too many questions, he said, “I have a presentation to make and I’ll get through it faster if you hold your question until I’m done because each question you ask causes me to go off track.” Is this just assertive communication or poor bedside manner? Is keeping to a schedule when you’re already overbooked more important than reassuring a potential patient and marketing opportunity for future referrals? What do you think?
3) Always have a Plan B for everything, especially your 24-hours-after-the-surgery-person, especially if you’re single. I called to reconfirm the details of my plans for Tuesday’s surgery with my friend who offered to caregive me for 24 hours after and she said that just yesterday she was offered consulting work (she’s self-employed) that would only allow her to be with me for the first 12 hours.
4) Bring something to read and an extra clothing to stay warm while you’re waiting. Both meetings I’ve had I’ve been there for over an hour before I saw him. The entire building was like a refrigerator. When I asked why I was told by the male receptionist, “We like to keep it cooler back here because we’re all doing a lot of running around.” Yeah BUT what about the client/patients who are paying your salary and sitting in cubbyhole rooms for 30-60 minutes on average?
5) Take the extra time to find a doctor in your immediate area. I’m driving an hour and 15 minutes one way to go to this doctor because of his excellent reputation and because I have two time windows I’m working with – my business slow time which is now and my insurance deductible for the year – I’ve chosen his reputation for excellence over more research to find someone comparible in my city.
I did what a lot of people are doing now – searching the internet for information, which is where I found my doctor. His infomercial followed by his high tech in-person presentation, his obvious perfectionism and the testimony from three women in the waiting room who said he’d been their 2nd or 3rd opinion was so compelling. I wasn’t motivated to do more research than make two calls to other doctors, both of whom I was told by their receptionists couldn’t see me until after my surgery date was scheduled for this doctor.
6) Make decisions for the right reasons. I can see that I’m letting my financial/time constraints and the strong recommendations of other patients and their stories keep me from seeking a 2nd opinion. I don’t want to wait another year before I do this as the pain in my foot is getting worse and right now I have the window and momentum to follow through.
BUT…how do you know for sure what the best choice is when both options are weighted equally advantageous and disadvantageous? It’s your life and your feet that you’ll live with for the rest of your life, not a car or a house that you can trade up? So, for now, I’ll keep moving forward with surgery, but I will also monitor my feelings, pay attention, and ask the right questions. What would you do? Post a comment below.
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