|The receptionist with whom I dealt did not even pretend to smile.|
I was supposed to have an appointment with my pediatric endocrinologist on Friday. Yesterday just before the 5:00 closing time someone in the doctor's office telephoned my home phone and spoke to my mother. The appointment needed to be moved up to today. It occurred to my mother to bring this up to me at about 11:00 p.m. last night. My car is in the shop having its windows tinted, and dealing with warranty-covered defective tires and possibly wheel bearings. My father is in San Diego. My mother was to leave for Fresno at about 6:00 a.m. My cousin Josh has class. It was decided that my brother could give me a ride to the doctor.
In partial defense of the doctor's office, it is a pediatric practice. In a pediatric specialty practice of this nature, however, patients are frequently seen until age twenty-one and sometimes even longer. While front office staff are accustomed to dealing with parents, they need to red-flag the files of patients who are legal adults so that in situations such as the ne that occurred with my appointment, they speak with the patient and not the patient's parent concerning the rescheduling of an appointment. Nevertheless, my mother should have known better than to have allowed the appointment to be rescheduled without first consulting me.
Still, everything would have been hunky-dory had my designated ride, my brother, been around to give me the ride he was asked to provide. Matthew does very little work. Almost every penny he spends comes either from gifts or from my parents. My mom had the right to ask him to drive me to my appointment. My brother, instead, received a call from a friend inviting him to go surfing. The catch was that my brother's car was needed for the surfing excursion.
About thirty minutes before my appointment, I began to become nervous because of Matthew's absence. I texted him and received no response. I called his cell number and received non response. I considered calling Jared, but one simply does not call one's ex for favors of this nature. Ordinarily I could have called PseudoAunt, but she's on bed rest. Almost everyone else in her family is busy carrying for her. Everyone in my family works.
I telephoned the endocrinologist's office to explain my plight. The receptionist was very short with me. She told me that it would be in my best interest to make it to the appointment on time, because if I were more than fifteen minutes late, I would be billed for the appointment, and insurance does not cover fees for no-shows.
I next called the local can service, which is notorious for slow and unreliable service. After thirty minutes, it became apparent that the cab was unlikely to appear. I called again. The cab company receptionist apologized for the "clerical error" and promised that a cab would be there shortly. About fifteen minutes, the cab appeared and took me on the roughly fifteen-minute ride to the endocrinologist's office. I hurried into the building and took the stairs to the fifth floor to avoid wasting time waiting around for the elevator, which is, I believe, installed in the 1950's. By the time I made it into the endocrinologist's office, I was, I believe, thirty-one minutes late.
I apologized profusely to the receptionist, who didn't want to hear it and asked for my payment for the no-show right there on the spot. I hadn't wanted to take the conversation in the direction it went, but because I wasn't carrying adequate cash to pay both the $140.00 fee and still have enough left for cab fare home. I told the receptionist that she had scheduled the appointment with my mother, not with me, and that she could take the matter up with my mother if she so desired, but, in the future, if she wished for me to be at an appointment on time, she should schedule the appointment with me and not with my mother. I asked if she had my cell phone number.
The receptionist went ballistic on me and started shouting. She pointed to a sign that said, "Payment is due when services are rendered unless prior arrangements have been made." "Do you see this?" she demanded.
"That does not apply to me, ma'am, " I answer as calmly as I was able, though I'm sure my voice was shaky. "No services were rendered."
The receptionist pulled out a loose, unused and blank statement, at the bottom of which read, "Twenty-four hours is required for cancellation of appointments. Failure to provide proper notice will result in the patient's being billed for the appointment fee" She read it aloud as I headed for the door.
"But ma'am," I argued, "you canceled my appointment with fewer than twenty-four hours' notice "
"That's not how it works, unfortunately." she countered. "If you leave, I'll call the police, " she hollered out. I wonder what the rest of the patients in the waiting room were thinking.
I walked out the door and immediately burst into tears. I ran about three blocks, crying all the way and avoiding eye contact with anyone, to a place I knew to be frequented by cabs. Within a few minutes, I hailed a cab, and was home within fifteen minutes. The cab driver looked at me strangely in his rear-view mirror as I sobbed, but he seemed happy enough as long as I paid the fare and tipped.
By that time, my brother was home. "Where the hell have you been?" I screamed at him as he sat on the couch in swim trunks, eating chips and salsa.
"Surfing," he replied, with his mouth full.
"Do you remember that I had an appointment and you were my ride?" I asked.
"Alexis," he responded in his most patronizing voice, "I help you when I can, but I'm neither your babysitter nor your chauffeur. You're going to have to learn to solve problems without me. I won't always be around."
"Bastard!" I screamed as I stormed up the stairs. Before opening my bedroom door, I hollered down the stairs at my brother, "We're soon going to be taking medical school classes, and some of them are going to be very difficult for you. I won't always be around to explain things to you. What goes around comes around.'" With that, I opened the door, went into my room, and slammed the door shut.
I don't seriously believe that the receptionist will sic the law on me, but if she does, and if the cops show up at my door, I have a trap door inside the closet that holds my rugs and comforters. It holds bedding and pillows. I can hide out comfortably there for as long as I need to be there. I don't think my brother knows the hidden mini-closet even exists. He couldn't lead the cops to me if that were his intent, which at this point wouldn't exactly surprise me. My parents will hire a lawyer for me if necessary.
My parents are not home yet. my assumption is that, just for this once, my mom will actually take my side in this fiasco. I doubt she'll do anything about it, but she at least probably won't be upset with me.
The question that is begged by today's fiasco is this: is there anyone on whom a person can depend? My brother is my twin. For the past few years I've considered him a fairly decent guy. If I can't count on him to be there when he says he will be, on whom can I count?
Boyfriends flake on you more often than they come through for you.
Parents -- even good parent like mine -- break promises, whether theyiint4end to or not.
Boys who seem sincere ask for you number. Maybe they call you, but mostly they don't.
Friends are friends as long as being your friend isn't too inconvenient for them.
I don't even know where to start where relatives are concerned. I recognize that they have their own immediate families and lives, but I can't help escaping the idea that, among every blood relative each of them has, I'm the very last on their list of priorities, while when they need a free babysitter or someone to care for their pets or water their plants, I'm the very first one they call.
Circumstances are making me very cynical in terms of how I see the world and very much unwilling to trust anyone.
As far as the endocrinologist is concerned, I'm no longer a minor. I will see whatever health practitioners I want to see. Those I wish not to see will have to find patients anywhere. Besides, I'm nineteen. My boobs are either going to get bigger or they're not. I'll gain height or I won't. There's very little the endocrinologist can do that will benefit me. His primary reason for seeing me is to pad his own checking account.
Just for added protection, I'm going into the hidden closet now.