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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I need a backbone

I am not assertive at all; I have to work up my courage to be. I never know when is the right time to do it, the right battles to pick. And I have a way of fantasizing about each potential situation in which I must confront something, until I am completely sure that no matter how I handle things, I am going to end up screwing things up.

For instance: this lab bill that I recently got, for tests that shouldn’t have been done. I’ve been talking to the billing liaison, so she only knows parts of what happened. She said it wasn’t a lab mistake—the doctor really ordered the tests. And I told her I never gave permission for the tests to be ran, so she’s going to talk to the doctor about it, see if maybe we can foist the bills off on insurance. And I said, “if they don’t pay for it, I still don’t feel like I should be responsible for it.” Not aggressively, just stating my rather timid opinion of being stuck with a $200 bill for unnecessary tests I wasn’t warned I might have to pay for.

And I’ve had such horrible experiences with doctors, that I fully believe soon his office will have my name written on a list near the receptionist’s phone stating, “Crazy woman. Don’t help her. Hang up as soon as you can.” (Paranoid? Totally. But I’ve had experiences like that with another doctor.) Just the idea of going to see the doctor makes me nervous. Walking into the office, interacting with the office staff, I have trouble breathing normally. I get so nervous that I’m going to fuck things up and they’re going to hate me. I started worrying about that from my first visit, where I didn’t have my insurance card, and the office had to scramble to track my info down.

I’m scared of asking people to work hard for me, because then they’ll resent me and refuse to help me further.

And I never know when to make a fuss. I spoke to the doctor who comes weekly to see my clients, and she said the tests never should have been done, and I shouldn’t have to pay for the bill. So I feel like I should take a stand should they try to pass the buck to me. But honestly, despite now starting to feel a little bit violated by these tests that were done without my foreknowledge, I really, really, really liked my doctor. I felt so comfortable with him, and my appointment was filled with lots of discussion and communication. We talked about social issues, and he said his wife runs the rape crisis center here. He even said he never offers to do pelvic exams on women, but instead refers them to his wife because he wants his patients to be comfortable, and a lot prefer women doctors to do those (but I needed a new birth control prescription immediately, didn’t want to pay another co-pay to see a gynecologist, and was comfortable with him). I was excited to have found him. I don’t want to fuck things up with him so I’ll have to start going to someone else. I want him to say, “oh, my mistake, I’ll take care of that bill,” so I can stop worrying and feel comfortable next time I’m sick and need to see someone.


Blogger molly said...

Advice from somebody who has worked in a lot of doctor's offices: Call the office and ask to speak to him, and ask him why he ordered those tests. Act curious, not accusing. Maybe he just does it as standard procedure, or maybe he messed up. He's the final authority in the office, after all, and if you liked him and felt good about him in the visit, he's probably pretty likely to listen to you and write off the charges.

9:46 AM  

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