It was just my arm. But now I have a headache.

Yesterday, my arm started to swell, turn red and hot, and itch like mad. I figured I was having an allergic reaction to something, but I thought I ought to get a professional opinion before self-medicating. I called my doctor, but no appointments were available.

LUCKILY, there are some UI Quick Care offices in our area. Run by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and staffed by physicians assistants and nurse practitioners poised to treat minor ailments, these Quick Care offices are advertised on their doors to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with no appointment necessary.

Gee, how lucky I am to have these places available. Especially because their slogan is "Illness is never convenient. But UI QuickCare is."

Here's how yesterday went:

I drove all the way across town from work to the clinic near my house and arrived at about 1:30 p.m. I walked in. The woman at the desk says, "Do you need something?" I explain that I have this swollen arm and think I'm having a reaction. She says, "Well, we're getting ready to close for an hour. You'll have to come back at 2:30." I say OK and walk out the front door, turn back around and stare at the 7 to 7 with no appointment necessary sign on the door, walk back in and say, "Excuse me. But may I ask why you're closing?" She tells me, "We have to go to lunch and to the bank." As I left the office again, I turned back around and calmly noted, "Then maybe you should change the sign on your door."

Then I drove from that clinic to another Quick Care clinic, this one in downtown, which meant I had to park in a ramp and pay, but hey, I can get in without an appointment, right? Anytime between 7 and 7?

I walk in to the clinic and am immediately greeted with virtually the same greeting, "Do you need something?" At this point I wanted to say, "Uh, no, I just wander into clinics in the middle of the afternoon for no reason. It's just what I do." But I explained the swollen, red, hot, pulsating arm. Then she says, "Well, we're just getting ready to close for lunch."

That's when I lost it. "Where does it say on your door that you are closed for lunch? And since when is lunch at 1:30?" A doctorish guy peeked his head out the back and explained that the time changes every day, depending on how many patients, when they arrive, etc. Oh, and then the chica popped up with, "And it mentions the closing for lunch on our Web site."

But not on the door. Helpful. Oh so helpful.

At any rate, I'm standing there with this swollen, red, hot, itching, pulsing appendage...and I bet my face was redder than my arm at this point...completely at a loss. I then try to calmly explain that I drove all over the county trying to get someone to look at this stinking arm, only to have everyone telling me that they're too busy going to lunch to do their jobs.

That got me in. The guy said he felt sorry for me. Whatever. A clinic that is supposed to be open 7 to 7 with no appointment necessary should not be allowed to turn away someone who has walked in the front door with a medical condition because the staff needs to make a money drop and do a Taco Bell run.

And while I acknowledge that they do list the 1:30-2 p.m. closing on their Web site, WHO THE HELL would know their Web site? This is what you have to type in to get the hours: http://www.uihealthcare.com/depts/uiquickcare/locationhours.html. It is interesting to note that the FAQ on this Web site says: Do I need an appointment? No. All patients are seen on a walk-in basis. Every attempt will be made to see you as quickly as possible.

I only found that because I googled it. And why would I need to look at the Web site when the sign on the front door says 7 to 7 with no appointment necessary.

As an aside, it was an allergic reaction to some sort of bug bite. I even had a fever. Maybe it was partially due to my ranting. At any rate, I now have allergy meds, steroid cream, and a $15 copay. It's looking much less angrier today than yesterday. Maybe I am too. Maybe not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Amy!!!!! I'm so sorry you had to go through that bullsh*t to get medical attention. Even though a patient is supposedly supposed to be their own advocate, although there are patient advocates, IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. We go to the doctor's to be legitimately taken care of. We shouldn't HAVE to protect ourselves when we are most vulnerable. I hope your arm is better and that you're having an aMAzing time in California with Tim and Henry. I love you, Amy.
Your sister, Anne.