The Trials & Tribulations of the Ortho Trip
I took my mom to the doctor yesterday; she’s 91 and 11/12th years old. The temperature was a delightful 23 degrees, patches of ice on the roads and sidewalks; it was a deceitfully beautiful sun shiny day! We drove sixty-five miles to arrive at our destination.
The environment was not very elderly friendly, however there was the “free but obligated to tip” valet parking so they do get brownie points for that! As we walked into the waiting room, a friendly person that wanted to know if we had an appointment today greeted us. I wanted to say no we were just in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by and say hello but I refrained and indicated that yes my mother did have an appointment. She asked me her name instead of asking my mom her name, yes, my mom does know her name, but I again refrained from sarcasm, stated her name, and took a seat as she requested we do.
The room was full and I thought well we might as well settle in for the long haul, because you know how these doctor appointment waits are……LONG in my experience. Luckily, for us, the wait was not too lengthy. When my mother’s name was called, we gathered our things, bulky coats, purses, mom, and her cane holding on to my one unoccupied arm we shuffled over to the desk in an open but congested and noisy area. The registration person began her litany of questions to my mother with her head staring into the computer, two screens blocking her face and words that only the skilled listener could hear. I gave the woman a kind glance and indicated that it would be helpful for her and my mother if she spoke a little louder. She either didn’t understand my request or didn’t want to deal with the burden of having to speak up so my mom could hear her because she then began directing all the questions to me. Since the atmosphere having been through this many times with my mother already annoyed me, I chose to look at my mother, repeat the question with more volume and inquisitively looked to her for her answer. You see I could easily jump in and take over the situation and I do so when needed but seriously, my mother can share her basic information in these kinds of situations without my help. If that wasn’t the icing on the cake then this was. She handed me an electronic tablet, blank piece of paper, no pen, and some hasty instructions about what to do and where to go. Why I thanked her for that, I’m still not sure.
I help mom up from her chair, we gather our bulky coats, purses, mom and her cane, an electronic tablet, the piece of paper and made our way to the elevator. After arriving at our destination, I proceeded to fill out all the registration information (you know the routine) on the electronic tablet. Yes, this is the part where my 91 and 11/12ths year old mother needed a little assistance. You see technology wasn’t around when she attended school back in the 1920’s. Luckily, after completing that task I was clever enough to have the information I needed to write on the blank piece of paper and a pen to do it with. Apparently, this clinic can afford fancy electronic tablets for every patient but pens are either costly or archaic.
After another wait, luckily not too long, my mom’s name was called so we gather up our bulky coats, purses, mom, and her cane, electronic tablet and the now full piece of paper; we are off to see the doctor, or were we? Well actually, if we wanted to see the doctor that we thought we were going to see for the problem that my mother has we would have to make another appointment on a different day. My goodness we should have known that I suppose.
What’s my point? Well here are a few of my thoughts about that……………………
• My mom is still a person whom is 91 and 11/12ths years of age that deserves respect. Elderly folks should not be treated like children because it is an inconvenience for you as a customer service individual to increase the volume of your speech, show your face from behind your computer screen so that she can look at you, and answer your questions.
• How do elderly folks that don’t drive get back and forth to these kinds of appointments if they don’t have family?
• How do elderly folks fill out information on an electronic tablet?
• Who took all the pens?
• How do you follow directions when you can’t hear the person giving instructions?
• If valet parking is free, why don’t they display a sign that says no tips required?
• Why do you have to make two appointments and see two doctors for one problem?
• Why are these environments so user unfriendly when all the users are old, disabled, or have just had a surgery and on crutches…GOOD GRIEF…it’s an orthopedic clinic?
• Why do we treat children and the elderly the same when they are clearly different?
I’m not condemning all clinics by any means as I have had some WONDERFUL experiences with doctors and clinics; yesterday was just not one of them.
No one knows more than I do how frustrating it can be dealing with the public, language, age and numerous other barriers that get in the way. I’ve been there, on the other side.
However, if we as a society are always talking about doing the right thing, being kind, compassionate, caring, and giving. If we are tooting our horn for the good deeds we’ve done for the poor, the homeless, for being the super terrific parent or the employee of the year; shouldn’t we consider being a little kinder, gentler and compassionate for those that have been on this earth with tons more experience at living than we have? Personally, I think we should and as for me, since I am far from being perfect myself, I need to get better at it as well!