Monday, February 17, 2014

Enough Is Enough! Kate Fights Back

by Kate Collins

Writing about a strong-willed, courageous female sleuth has had a major impact on me. Abby Knight stands up against injustice in many forms, so the other day, I was so put out that I channeled her courage to stand up against an injustice. It happened at my eye doctor's office.

Correction. My former eye doctor's office.

Backtrack to October, 2013, when I had my first ever appointment at what I shall refer to as The Big Eye Clinic. You know the kind --branches in other cities, doctors who travel between them, lots of staff, expensive equipment, and oodles of designer eyewear. I showed up ten minutes before the appointed time of 1 p.m. to fill out forms. Then I took a seat in the waiting area and read -- for half an hour. When I tired of reading, I played games on my phone for another half hour. Finally, I was called into a room where a technician did a preliminary eye exam.

From there I went into an inner waiting room and read -- for a half hour. I was called into one of their many exam rooms to wait another fifteen minutes. I was about to complain when the doctor finally materialized, did a routine exam, then told me he wanted pics of the insides of my eyes. Fine. Except that I was returned to the inner room to wait another half hour.

This happened to me twice more before I was through, and when I left there, I'd put in almost three-and-a-half hours, spent who knows how much money on all the tests they did, and with a total doctor-patient time of maybe fifteen minutes. Oh, and my prescription hadn't changed.

Fast forward to last week, when I went to Target to order more contacts. Oops! Sorry, the optician said. You need a contact lens prescription. All you have is an eye glass prescription. She called The Big Eye Clinic and was told that I had to come back for that. Yes! Three-and-a-half hours apparently wasn't enough time to squeeze that part into the exam.

So I had to make another appointment. Half an hour before that time, I called to ask if the doctor was running on time, as I did not want a repeat of the first time. Oh, yes, I was told. On time.

Not. I waited thirty-five minutes, went through the prelim again, the inner waiting room, and finally got to see the same doctor. When he asked how I was -- I called forth my inner Abby.

"Peeved," I said. "When you go to your dentist, tax accountant, lawyer or any sort of business for an appointment, do you expect to spend four out of your eight hour day there -- waiting?"

"We're transferring over computer files to a new system," he said with a bored shrug.

Oh, no. Not getting off that easily. I reminded him that my wait had nothing to do with computers. It was about inefficiency. His 10:30 appointment took one hour. So why was my appointment at 10:45? If it takes him an hour to see a patient, why do his people schedule them so close?

He had no answers, just a guilty look. He did admit that I had made a fair case. But will that change the way they do business? I hope so. That was why I spoke up --not for me, because I'm not going back -- but for the people who will keep putting up with those long waits because they don't want to go through the hassle of starting over somewhere else.

But shouldn't they? Shouldn't we all take a stand against injustice? Shouldn't those Big Eye Clinics lose patients for that kind of rudeness? Because it is unjust to make people wait an inordinate amount of time, as if their time was completely unimportant.

I feel good about speaking up. If I had said nothing, it would have bugged me for days.

What will you do in that kind of situation if it ever happens to you?