The Gatekeeper and Why I Am Really Beginning to Hate the Doctor’s Office

The Gatekeeper:  the woman who decides if my child will get in to see the doctor. A.k.a. the triage nurse. A.k.a the woman who will call me back, only after I have first left a desperate message describing why my child has to been seen, and I better just leave one message or else she might never get back to me (as so implied by the recording I must endure each time I call said doctor’s office).  A.k.a. the woman (for reasons unbeknownst to me) who never answers the phone.  I’m not sure if she is really busy, or if this is some misguided office policy, but just once, I would like to call my children’s doctors office and talk to an actual human being, not sit by the phone for the next hour, wondering when someone will call me back.  And don’t worry, if it’s a life threatening emergency, I will hang up and call 911 as you so advise.

Among her duties:  putting me off as best as she can.  Suggesting I follow our asthma action plan. Vaguely implying that I am an overly hysterical mother. Asking me if I want her to call in some prescription cough medicine, eye drops, whatever….all the while saying, without really saying, just stop calling here! We’re trying to take care of sick people and you’re getting in the way.

My defense: No, really, I just want the doctor to listen to his chest.  No, he’s not an audible weezer.  The school nurse suggested it might be a good idea if he see the doctor. Yes, he’s on all his inhalers and allergy medicine.  No, I don’t think it’s just allergies, he had a fever a few days ago.  Oh, and I want my other son seen too.  You know, the one who’s been coughing for over a month.  No, he doesn’t have asthma. Yes, he’s on allergy medicine.  Look, you’re really exhausting me here, can I just get my kids in to see the doctor, please, pretty please, I’ll be your best friend.

Gatekeeper:  Well, I suppose, if it will make the school nurse feel better.

Me:  I want to reach through the phone and strangle her, but instead, say nothing.  The Gatekeeper holds much power.  Somehow, I think she knows this.

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