I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME
17 January 2002
Warning: rant ahead.
Be advised that basically I love my job. And usually it's not like this, but today was
It started innocently enough. I got up at 4 to finish transcription I blew off last
night (Dr. G's and the psychiatrist's) because I was too tired. I got to the office
early to meet Dr. G. He was taking me back to the weekly business luncheon, which I'm
supposed to attend when he is spending a month in Bali from mid-February to mid-March (he
has a "villa" there, he tells me. Nice work if you can get it!)
The lunch was nice. I stayed on my diet. Good Bev.
Then we ran errands and chatted en route. At one point he confided that he has
ADHD...well, duhhhhh. That explains a LOT. No wonder he's a physician, an art
dealer, a gardener, a wine connoisseur, an architect, a writer, and has time to work out
at the gym at least once a day. And I thought my plate was full.
The shit hit the fan when we got to the office.
When I managed a different ob/gyn office, I had a woman who did nothing all day long
but sit in her office and take care of billings, dealing with insurance companies, etc. I
had another woman who did nothing all day long but sit at her desk scheduling surgeries,
getting prior authorization, etc. I had a clerical staff that did nothing but answer
phones and make appointments. I had a nursing staff that telephoned in prescriptions, did
simple routine tests (occult blood, urine testing), called patients with test results, and
assisted in physical exams. And at night, when we all left to go home, the janitorial
staff would come in and clean up the place.
Today I was biller, bookkeeper, receptionist, appointment scheduler, surgery scheduler,
physician assistant and should have been janitor, but it was 7 and I was too tired, so I
Dr. C, who is going to be working in the office for the next two days (and possibly
occasionally until she figures out which practice she's going to be joining) had given me
a stack of patient records and asked me to call and schedule surgeries and post-op exams.
The post-op exams were easy. I did those the first day. But the surgeries involve (a)
calling the insurance company, and (b) scheduling a time in the OR, and (c) calling the
patient to inform her when her surgery was and when her pre-op appointment was.
Well, I never eally got past (a) because I spent hours just trying to find the right
person at this one insurance company. First there's the 800 number, then the voice mail,
then the recording telling you all the operators are busy assisting other callers, then
finally an operator who tells you that you've called the wrong number and should have
called this other 800 number instead. And then you repeat it all again, and THAT operator
tells you to try another 800 number and finally you're sent to call an office in Iowa,
only by then it's so late the office is closed--and the surgery scheduler went home an
hour ago too.
While all that is going on, the other line is ringing off the hook with patients
wanting various and sundry things and the surgery scheduler asking if I was ready to set
times yet, and Dr. C calling to ask how many surgeries I'd scheduled yet.
And in the middle of that, Dr. G would call me in to take a patient's blood pressure
and assist in an exam. And then he'd give me instructions for which pharmacy to call and
which lab to call and which other doctor's office to call to set up another appointment
for the patient.
When he stopped to take a breath, he'd ask if I'd finished sorting out the books yet.
At one point his wife (a very nice lady) called and I kind of unloaded on her. She was
very sympathetic and laughed about Dr. G's plan to have her come in and dust. "I took
that to therapy," she said, "and we'll talk again..." meaning,
guess, that she isn't going to dust after all.
At 7, Dr. G flew out of there to go to the gym and have his workout. I looked around
the office and realized that the floor needed vacuuming, my desk was a mess, and speculums
really needed to be washed, but I just set the alarm and walked out. I didn't do any of
I was totally drained and just wanted to get home and fix myself something to eat.
When I drove into the driveway, there were not one, but TWO envelopes of work from the
psychiatrist attached to my inbox outside and I sat there in the car and screamed at the
top of my lungs until my throat hurt.
I rushed into the house in such a state that both Walt and the dog were afraid of me.
I fixed myself a quick diet dinner (note: NO emotional eating) and then came in here to
check e-mail. The phone rang and it was the psychologist, asking, quite innocently, if I
could do a rush job for him tonight.
To my great credit, I didn't scream at him.
Things could be worse, though. When I was talking with Dr. G's wife, she told me that
originally when he set up the office, his plan was for her to do all that I'm
doing. Only she would do it while watching their then-four year old son, since there was
an extra room in the office. And oh yeah--he thought it would be nice to make a little
extra money if while she was being the bookkeeper, scheduler, physician's assistant,
janitor, and mom, that she set up a little child care center in the extra room.
I had to admit, that was worse. It made me feel at least momentarily better.