I’m overdue for my annual gynecological exam, because I haven’t had insurance in over a year. I did call my doctor’s office to ask about alternate payment options and was offered a cash break, but even that discounted price is more money than I have to spend on my internals right now, so I’ve started a little piggy bank and will go in when I’m able.
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this post from one of my friends (we’ll call her “Eryn”) on Facebook yesterday. Why the surprise? Because I use Sutter, as well.
Hm. I’m not sure which doctor she was referring to, but it likely wasn’t mine. In fact, I haven’t seen my own Gynecologist in about four or five years, because she’s far too busy to ever actually meet with me. Instead, I get the joy of being examined by her Nurse Practitioner/Midwife/(I’m not actually sure of her title), a sassy Georgia gal who, during our first intimate encounter, told me I was the most “vanilla” patient she’d seen all day. She’s always saying quirky, unexpected things like that, ha ha haaaaaa…..
It’s one thing to discuss STD’s and hookin’ and vanilla vaginas with your lady doctor, but altogether another to have her/him talk to you with absolutely no bedside manner. No pun intended. Actually…no. No pun there at all.
I asked Eryn for a little more information on her experience. See, I once went through a cancer scare way back in my Oakland Planned Parenthood days. I had to have all kinds of fun things done, like a colposcopy, cryotherapy, a mean old grumpy face worn out doctor scolding me for getting a cancer scare…*shutter*! So I thought maybe I could help somehow.
My friend sent me a transcript of her email and phone exchanges which, I have to say, read like a bunch of complete and utter big-word gibberish. Here is a small excerpt from one exchange:
“…whether this is an endometrioma or other ovarian Neoplasm (= mass whether benign or cancerous) The only definite answer would come be removing the mass surgically. I certainly can order an MRI , but I don’t think it would further our knowledge too much and could not rule out this mass as a cancer. We could do a CA 125 blood test which is increased with ovarian cancer, but unfortunately sometimes also increased with endometriosis. An elevated value of CA 125 would force a surgical evaluation to rule out cancer.”
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Needless to say I couldn’t help her, at all.
After the above exchange, my now-scared-that-she-has-cancer friend was treated sarcastically when calling – as she’d been instructed to do – for what she thought was a follow-up appointment for her confusing cancer scare. “No,” she was told by the person doing the scheduling, “this is for your yearly exam. That’s why it’s called an annual.” I could be wrong, but I think the word ‘annual’ might have been the one word that didn’t require a dictionary in this whole exchange, but that’s the one she was given a definition to. How helpful!
For the sake of all of the masses of my readers who are doctors, nurses, medical assistants, or front desk phone answerers, especially of the ‘sensitive-region’ variety, let me say this: Don’t be a jerk. You have us in a, uh, vulnerable position, and we just want to be spoken to like any human being sitting on the bench in the park, or at a dinner party attended by normal, every-day citizens. You really, really don’t need to impress us with your medical vocabulary…we’re just assuming that comes with the job and frankly – now, this is just between you and me – it’s a bit off-putting.
I am lucky to have a couple of doctor friends who I can talk to without being made to feel like a dummy, and to them I say: Thank You.
To the staff at Sutter that Eryn had to be subjected to, I say: You Fail. Try better next time. Seriously – try better next time. We want to like and trust you, we really do.
So, based on my fine (read: weird but acceptable if you have a sense of humor) experiences and Eryn’s (not so fantastic) experience, I give Sutter a Mixed Review.
Once my Gynecological Piggy Bank is full, I can go back for a more up-to-date personal observance…so, I’ll keep you posted.