Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sideshow Freak Dermatologist

My new job means new health insurance - an HMO. Typically I choose PPO plans, but now as a family of five, it's a lot more expensive; which cuts into mama's fun money. So, we're testing out the HMO life.

Photo: Tod Browning's Amazing Production of Freaks
Recently, I've recently made a bunch of doctor's appointments for routine exams. One of them on my list was for the dermatologist so I could get an unsightly zit-like bump on my hip removed. Bikini season is here and I can't stand its ugliness anymore. However, to see a dermatologist, I had to get a referral from a primary care physician. That meant I needed to locate one, make an appointment and go over my entire health background.

All these hoops and hurdles, paperwork and procedures. Such a nuisance. On a positive note, my new family practitioner is an all-American, boy-next-door doctor with a 'John Smith'-type name, good personality and sense of humor; which goes a long way with me. (I said a long way, not ALL THE WAY - geez, get your mind out of the gutter.)

After all the work up, an EKG and all my hypochondriac fears addressed and a clean bill of health, I got my dermatology consult that I came in for. Fast forward three weeks, I show up early to my dermatology appointment - the first appointment of the morning. Signed up at the front desk. Handed over my insurance card and drivers license. Filled out my acknowledgement form that I am financially responsible and will pay for any and all charges that I accrue, yadda yadda yadda.

Just as I sat back down on my seat, the front desk crony asked me if I had mentioned that my insurance authorization when making my appointment. I wasn't 100% sure that I had, because with all my appointments, it was a blur. She proceeded to give me her mini-lecture on how they can't see me if they don't have the authorization in my charts. I mention that I might have it with me in my purse, and lo and behold I did. But she said, "No, we have to have it here when you make the appointment."

Her tone was one of a reprimanding school teacher scolding the class dunce. I told her I typically try to follow the appropriate procedures and I would be happy to reschedule if it was too much trouble that we didn't have the proper paperwork. Then she mumbled, "No, let me see if it's been received here in your chart." Why didn't you do that in the first place before jumping down my fricking throat? And what do you know - it was there. Hmph.

The next 10 minutes I waited to be called back to the room. After a brief conversation with the technician about my unsightly bump, she told me the doctor would be with me shortly. 20 long minutes later, 'Dr. Sideshow Freak' finally came in. Her face was so waxy, over-pulled and puffy. Penciled in eyebrows with a high arch, caked on make up, over-swollen lips with dark lip liner. Wearing scrubs cinched at the waist with an anorexic build. Hair teased and cascading down her back. Her face did not look human with all the work she'd had. I had to stop myself from staring or giggling.
The circus is in town!
I really tried to communicate the real desire I had to remove the red bump on my hip. All she wanted to talk about was how my insurance doesn't cover it. Okay, then, tell me how much I will need to pay to have it removed? I don't give a shit about my insurance, I care about getting rid of the blemish. She said it would be $350 to take it off; I wondered if she just pulled a number out of her ass. The bump is the circumference of the head of a pencil, so I'm thinking I can easily cut it off myself with a sterile razor blade and a few steri-strips.

She recommended that I have it removed in the fall since it will be bright red as it heals; I suppose then negating my better bikini appearance. She seemed determined to foil my attempts at helping me AT ALL. No suggestions for alternatives. No positive feedback. Just brick walls and barriers.

The best part of all these sideshow circus shenanigans? I got to pay a $35 copay before leaving the office. What a joke! I will NOT be going back there in the fall to see Dr. Sideshow Freak. I'm either going to cover up the bump with a small, nude Bandaid, let it show like nobody's business, find someone else to cut it off or cut it off myself.

The moral of the story: don't go to a dermatologist who overdoses on Botox injections.