Walk-In Woes


Yesterday, I desperately needed to see a doctor. So, like most people without a family doctor, I headed to a walk-in clinic. I ended up having to go to 3 before I actually received any assistance. In between, I also had an unfortunate run-in with a very unhelpful pharmacist. My experiences yesterday had me really wondering what exactly is wrong with this sector of the health care system.

First of all, not for anything but if you are truly unwell, I’m sure that your sickness isn’t going to pause itself until a certain time of day. Many a time I have waited, while tossing and turning uncomfortably, until regular business hours so that I could see a doctor. I am not one of those alarmists that run to the hospital when my temperature is elevated by 0.5 degrees, but it’s always a good idea to get checked out.


So back to yesterday, where one of my good friends graciously offered to drive me to the walk-in. It was around 1pm, and loaded up to the gills with painkillers, and yet still experiencing some discomfort I went to the first walk-in clinic, where they told me “no, we don’t accept walk-in patients until 5”. I looked around the waiting room, which had literally one person waiting.

Sweating from the strain, bent slightly at the waist, I asked “Well is it possible for me to consult with a doctor about the diagnosis and medications I have been given by the hospital? I’m just a bit concerned”. She gave me an almost disgusted look, clucked, and said “I’m sorry, but our doctors are too busy to take walk-ins, and the walk in doctor doesn’t come in until 5”. I almost laughed. Rolling my eyes, I returned to my friends car. I figured, it’s early there are more clinics in town.

So, my friend had to make a couple stops. By the time we made it to the second clinic I was in considerably more pain, and it was around 3. I stood at the counter for nearly 15 minutes, sweating a bit more now, and definitely swaying and obviously bent over while one lady ignored me completely, and the other tried to book an appointment for November 19th for the woman in front of me. (Just an aside-there was no argument, no debate…just discussion, like time just wasn’t a thing to either of them…not even friendly conversation..I was so terribly confused, and part of me wanted to kick the woman in front of me in the head and scream “HURRY THE F*%@ up”…I didn’t, but with more strength who knows what may have happened :-p).

So when I finally got to the counter, and I barely was able to croak out “walk-in, please” she said, with a waving motion “We don’t take walk-ins til 4. Go away and come back at 4”. It was like a slap in the face. Confused, I stumbled out of the clinic into the cold, and since my friend was at McDonalds, I went into the Pharmacy next door. Have you ever had a pharmacist double-talk you?? I’m telling you, it can be a very frustrating experience. Our conversation went something like this:


“I’m on medication A and B…when should they become effective?”
“Ok, and I am getting X side effect which is not listed. Is this normal?”
“Oh yes, yes it is”
“Ok, A and B are not kicked in yet and it’s been 5 days. So then I should be concerned?”
“Oh no, medications A and B are excellent, just excellent, top of the line medications (they damn well better be at 60 bucks a pop)”
“Ok, but I woke up with symptoms again this morning, so it’s not working for me”
“Well, you have to realize that everyone’s body is different, so it might not have worked for you yet”
“So how long should I wait before being concerned that I need to be on a different course?”
“Oh, well there is no set amount of time”
“I understand, but I’m sure after a certain amount of time….”
“You are different, I am different. My body maybe 5 days, yours maybe 10”
“So is 20 days fair as far as it should generally be working by then?”
“Oh, well, you can’t say. But this medication is the best, top of the line”
“And it should be effective immediately?”

What????? I stumbled away confused and perturbed. Checking my watch, I realize that that little shenanigan took almost a half hour. After getting my friend, I return to the clinic to sign up my name, figuring hey, its 10 to 4 now. So I enter the clinic, where now there are about 30 people waiting…I think to myself, crap, I’ll be on page 3 of that list by now. So I go and stand at the counter, where the lady, with the same waving motion tells me “ok, have a seat””Well, shouldn’t I sign my name on the list?””Yeah, we don’t do that until 4″….again, WHAT???


So, at 4, she yells out “make a line”, and like a bunch of kids trying to beat one another out for a better prize, we practically trample one another to get as close to the front of the line as possible. So I end up being about 12 people down (there was this little old lady in front of me and as much as I tried to squeeze past her, it would have been just plain wrong to shove her out of the way). 4:35pm, and still not one name had been called. And yet there were two doctors chatting away with the nurses, who were pointedly not doing there job.

Finally, my saviour, a man sitting next to me told us that he had never been to this clinic before and was just waiting for a friend, but suggested another clinic. I looked at my friend. He looked at me. And in a blink we were in his car and on our way. The new clinic was so relaxing. It was everything you would want and more. And in the 10 minutes I saw the doctor (and maybe a 25 minute long wait) he totally understood me, got my problem down pat, quelled my concerns, and I left completely satisfied.

Why couldn’t I have found this place first? What is with all these incompetent people working in the guise of health care workers? I think this experience has shown me that A) Quantity does not equal quality- Don’t open 500 million new clinics, open 50 that are 100% quality, and B) They need to stop showing all these commercials about what my Pharmacist is supposed to do for me UNLESS, again, they are going to focus on quality and NOT quantity.

Anyone else have a Pharmacist or Clinic horror story?



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