Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

Guy walks in, stands at counter.

Mary: "Hi, can I help you?"

Mr. Far: "Yeah, I have a new-patient appointment with Dr. Grumpy for 2:00."

Mary: "Oh! You must be Mr. Far. It's 1:30 now, but that gives you time to get started on your paperwork..." (hands over a clipboard) "and can I get a copy of your insurance card?"

Mr. Far: "Sure..." (take clipboard, rummages through wallet, hands card to Mary) "I left my house early to make sure I had plenty of time to get here."

Mary: "That's fine. If he's done with his current one early, he'll usually start with you."

Mr. Far: "I had no idea how far you were from my house."

Mary: "I'm sorry. I thought you lived in South Grumpyville?"

Mr. Far: "I do... It was a 30 minute drive here."

Mary: "Isn't that what I told you it would probably be?"

Mr. Far: "Yes... You were right. I just hadn't realized it was that far."

Mary: "Well, you made it here early, which is better than late. Here's your insurance card back, thank you."

Mr. Far: (puts card back in wallet) "My GPS even said it would be this far, so I left early to make sure I had enough time. Still... it seemed like a long drive."

Mary: "I'm sorry. Did you have a question about the forms? Or need a new pen? Let me get you another one..."

Mr. Far: "No, let me give this back to you" (hands clipboard and pen back) "I... I think this is too far for me. I'm just going to leave and try to find a neurologist closer to my house."

Mary: "Are you sure? I mean, you're already here, and have an appointment in a short while?"

Mr. Far: "Yeah, this is just too far for me to drive. Thank you, anyway." (leaves)


jimbo26 said...

His GPS took him the ' scenic ' route ?

Anonymous said...

I work in an imaging department. You have no idea the number of people who have to have their (non-urgent) ultrasound done 'stat' because they are 'from out-of-town'. Usually turns out they are just on the edge of town, maybe 20 minute drive away.
And doctors wonder why we grumble when they tell us that yes, of course, their patient has to be done stat.

bunkywise said...

Whew, dodged a "patient bullet" there. Sounds like a weird one. Although, I have to say when I am going someplace new, it always seems farther away than when I go back a second time. It's just the pressure of looking for a new destination, I guess. Or maybe I am also weird. Yeah, probably.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happens in pharmacies also. OMG YOU ARE SO FAR AWAY (R.Ph. google maps patients address)... Ms. Smith, I see you only live 5 miles away. (Silence on the phone)...

Long live google maps!

Lisa said...

Your patient would never make it in Atlanta. I carpool an hour and a half each way to go to work.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how people perceive distance. When I was a kid we'd go visit friends who lived 45 minutes away, and it was a big trip. Now, though I live in the city limits, I live right at the edge of the city limits. I can get to one grocery store in 15 minutes, pretty much everything else takes at least 30. I think nothing of it. My son's doctor is an hour away. I have a friend who lives 2 hours away and I visit regularly, it's not that far to drive. I live 700 miles from my hometown and drive there a few times a year, it takes between 10 and 12 hours one way. In my opinion, if someplace is 3 hours or less away it's fine for a day trip.

Packer said...


The do walk among us, and some of them commute 90 minutes each way to work in a car pool .

@Lisa, I worked for a corporation in Atlanta in the 70s, the EVP adorned his office with large mouth bass he caught in some lake in Alabama every weekend. I escaped and never looked back. Heck that is saying something if I chose to live in NJ

Anonymous said...

although neurology is just one small branch off the psychiatry tree, this patient would benefit from psych care, of course closer to home.
(bonus points: which movie had accomplished author trapped in her home by her disorder, at the mercy of homicidal maniac?)

Anonymous said...

although neurology is just one small branch off the psychiatry tree, this patient would benefit from psych care, of course closer to home.
(bonus points: which movie had accomplished author trapped in her home by her disorder, at the mercy of homicidal maniac?)

Crazy RxMan said...

I have a patient at Goofmart Pharmacy that requires 90 day supplies on her prescriptions.

Why? Because she hates "driving all the way down to the pharmacy once a month."

So one time I looked up her address.

She lives about a mile away.

Anonymous said...

If you can't make a house call then you should move your office to make a reasonable accommodation.

jen said...

wasn't that movie "misery"?

when i lived in montana, i used to commute an hour each way to work (60 miles -- we didn't have that weird thing called traffic) and i'd drive 2 hours to walmart and target or for anything that wasn't found in the nearest town.

right now, i drive 40 minutes to my son's pediatrician in sacramento. when people look astonished at that, i tell them about montana. seriously people, it's not that weird.

Anonymous said...

If only Mary had offered to accompany him on his next appointment? Nahh. Didn't think so. Then, she could have seen the clunker he drove in, that made his trip seem like a lifetime...leaky exhaust, ran out of gas, pushed it for a block, automatic honking but a/c didn't work, hmm, got lost a couple times in a strange neighborhood with all one-way streets. He needed one that he could just walk across the street or down the block. Maybe in the same building he lives?

a.generic doc said...

It was a far, far better neurologist, he didn't see today.

(From "A Tale of Two Neurologists")

Lin said...

SERIOUSLY?! I've had to drive over 2 hours for some of my Drs. I rarely have any that are UNDER a 30 minute drive. The Dr I see the most frequently right now (minimum of once a month, usually at the office more than that due to tests and procedures all in the same building) is between 40-60 minutes but if stuck in rush hour can take up to 90 getting home.

I've decided I have to live in a city with a major university hospital for the rest of my life so I never again have to deal with 2-3 hour drives and entire days spent for a single Drs appointment. Life as a medical zebra.

EAS said...

Pfft. I drive an hour and a half each way to get to my dentist. Very much worth it to get good care.

But then, I live out in the country a bit and just about any appointment I make is at least half an hour away. Most of the time it's not a big deal.

clairesmum said...

Maybe he needs the ruby slippers?

Just Me said...

With our routine wait to get into a neurologist over 6 weeks NO ONE gives up an appointment with a specialist.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

For my second baby, I drove over an hour each way to see my ob. Totally worth it to get my vbac.

Anonymous said...

Lol, I get those at my lovely little retail DrugStop. "Can you fill this is 2 minutes, I live all the way in *next town over* and I'm already done with my grocery shopping!?!?!"

"Oh, *next town over* outlawed pharmacies? How awful."

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