Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weird..... Just Weird

So, today was the big day- my first bariatric surgery consultation. Upon arriving at the office this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice immediately all of the quite large waiting room chairs. After checking in at the front desk, and being smacked with a $250 "enrollment fee", I swiveled around and eyed the comfy looking chairs, but out of pride selected a smaller chair. I ended up waiting for 45 minutes and found myself questioning why I was there.

There was a little voice inside of my head that kept saying, "You don't belong here....leave....just get up and leave". It was really weird. Again, probably just pride. Once I was called back, the family nurse practitioner brought me back to a room where she very simply asked, "Do you want the lap band or gastric bypass?". Um, lap band? Was that it? No, "why are you here today....tell me about your journey....why do you think you are a good candidate for surgery?" Nothing. Just- which one?

So the FNP was a little lack luster, but the surgeon would be so much better. Right? After taking my blood pressure, listening to my heart, and of course recording my weight, she had some time to ask questions. I have to be honest, I felt like I knew more than she did. I don't know if I just did really awesome research so there was nothing I didn't know, or if she is just used to "dumb" people coming in who don't ask all the nitty-gritty questions. But I put her through the ringer. Once I was done with her, she sent me to meet with the insurance lady.

The insurance lady sat down and handed me a few pieces of paper and said, "Sign here, and here, and here, and here. You will need to have an upper GI, blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray and a gallbladder ultrasound, what day works out better for you?". "Um, Tuesday?". "Okay, have you paid your enrollment fee?". "Yes". "Okay, because you have to pay that to proceed. You will need to call this person and this person to schedule your pysch and nutrition evaluations. Any questions?". "No, I guess not". "Okay, well you can check out right here" (as she walks me to the check-out desk).

While I was checking out, I realized that I have been told on several occasions that it is very important to feel a good connection with your surgeon. It is important to feel at ease. But....but....I never got to meet the surgeon. What the frick? I asked the lady when I will have the chance to meet the surgeon and she acted confused. "You didn't meet him today?". I told her no, and while looking puzzled she said, "Well, you'll just meet him when you come back for your test results".

WEIRD. So instead of making sure I had the chance to meet the man who will be cutting me open, and hopefully changing my life, I have to wait. I WILL be emailing the office administrator about that. Isn't that strange? How can I be asked to sign-up and pay a $250 enrollment fee for a surgery when I don't even know who the surgeon is? I plan on liking the doctor, so hopefully it won't be an issue. I have heard a lot of great things about him, so I am going to blindly trust what I have heard.


Sean Anderson said...

You're very in touch with your feelings and emotions. You're awareness and the fact that you've educated yourself about this is wonderful.

I hope you do meet and like the surgeon very soon.

My best always

Amy W. said...

I will have to admit that is weird. I had to pay a $250 fee, but not until AFTER I met the doc and decided if I wanted to go through with everything. I am sorry that your first experience wasnt a very good one :( I think it is super important to meet the doc.

ffashley said...

I'm not familar with what most people do to get through this surgery, but that is very odd. You do need to find someone you can connect with that will make you feel safe in your decision. I had a consultant on my case and she was perfect. I did not meet my surgeon until the IV was in my arm, but he was absolutely amazing. Best of luck, this is a big decision, but God will lead the way.


Liz - Lizzle - Libby Lou said...

I met my surgeon on the 2nd visit just b/c the first one was educational, ask question, exam by NP, and insurance stuff. Once I was sure I wanted it, insurance approved it, I came in for an appt JUST to meet my surgeon 2 wks before surgery. He was fabulous!!! Then the day after surgery and 5 days after surg he called me at home himself, "just to see how I was doing". Fabulous man! I love him! woot woot Kurt sprunger. Ohhhh and I would complain. It sounds like they just have a diff process, but I would let them know how you're feeling.

Tiffani said...

In our program you are required to attend a informational seminar and thankfully it is run by one or both of the surgeons. I happened to meet my surgeon that first night! :) I think it's crucial to the process to meet the doc but I also think it's crucial to trust them and you're already there. You'll do great on this journey, for sure!

Keep us posted!

jo said...

Well, I do think it's weird. It's certainly different.

Anonymous said...

Yikes--that doesn't sound like the ideal experience, but hopefully things will go better next time! You're in my thoughts! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Surgeons (of all kinds) often miss appointments because they're called away (in my experience)... look at the quality of the work, find out what you can from other patients... that's the best measure.

As for the financial stuff, hospitals and doctors are pretty defensive these days about their money. They want to be sure they get paid, and a lot of them are really lousy about the billing... I hate to say it, but it looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better.

The important thing isn't when you pay or who you "like"... the important thing is having a capable surgeon in a hospital that's responsive to your medical needs.

Sunshine's Heart said...

This is just me, but I would run, not walk from that office. Too many red flags for apathy on the part of the staff. I know it would be hard to just let the enrollment fee go, but I would seriously find another surgeon. Even if he turns out to be a good guy and competent, it wont make up for a disinterested staff. My experience with the first surgeon was similar. I had a bad feeling even though I did meet the surgeon and liked him a lot. He did the seminar I attended. The staff was cold and disinterested and offered no help in getting approved. IN fact, they dont even schedule patients for an appointment until after insurance has already been approved. Your story about the office makes me think they are in in more for the money than to really help people. I would be afraid that with their attitude, their aftercare program would be completely inadequate. I wish you the best whatever you decide.

Kimberly said...

Wow! That is weird. I had a consultation with a surgeon's office when I was considering surgery and it was fabulous. I didn't meet the surgeon, but they make you go through all of these tests and talk to a nutritionist and a psychologist who then reviews their findings with the surgeon BEFORE they decide to meet with you or take your case. It was fantastic. My decision to not have surgery had nothing to do with them but I finally found the strength to do it on my own while losing the 10% of my weight to have the surgery.

I would look for another surgeon. Try obesityhelp.com. You might find lots of info about a surgeon in your area.