I’m plagiarizing myself today, because I just wrote an Epic Screed for a Facebook status and I’m all written out. So, if you’re on my Facebook and bummed that you’re reading this a second time, my apologies. Back to not copying myself tomorrow!
We all had our flu shots on Tuesday night. I freely admit that I used to be pretty slack about them, but then came the year of H1N1. Both Ron and Michael caught it, and after nursing them through two weeks of horrible sickness, including a panicked late-night ER trip for Ron… well. I have never since underestimated influenza. It’s a terrifying disease.
So! Flu shots. It all went well. Little sore the next day, nothing major. Then this morning Ron said “I think something’s wrong with my flu shot”. His arm around the injection site was swollen, bright red, and hot & hard to the touch. He said it was very sore. I called 811 (great service, I love it) and the RN recommended he see a doctor today.
Our family doctor doesn’t work on Thursdays, and I could only get an appointment right at afternoon bus drop-off time. Michael couldn’t leave work today to take him. A walk-in clinic seemed the best option, so I checked the Doctors NS website. This was closest and please note under “services” it reads “walk-in clinic in Halifax, no appointment necessary”.
This is where I point out that I couldn’t close today, so in addition to Ron I had George, Daisy, and baby Charlie to wrangle (Louis was at preschool, thank goodness).
We got to the clinic. I explained the situation to the receptionist, including why we couldn’t go to our family doctor. She checked us in right away and said there were only three patients ahead of us. It was fine. The kids were really good (I’m not above bribing with Eventual Timbits when the occasion calls for it.) We waited for about half an hour before being shown to an examination room.
The practice’s doctor is Dr. Jeyaranee (Jeya) Aloysius. When she came in, she asked who she was seeing and why. As soon as I said “flu shot”, this is how it went (and bear in mind that every time I spoke, she cut me off and talked over the top of me):
Dr – Well, who gave him this flu shot?
Me – Our family doctor.
Dr – Then go to your family doctor. This is their responsibility, not mine.
Me – Our doctor was unavailable today.
Dr – Oh, no doctor in the practice could see you? I don’t believe that.
Me – We couldn’t get an appointment time that was possible. A walk-in clinic was the best option.
Dr – This is not a walk-in clinic.
Me – But… your website says you are.
Dr – We do not advertise that we are a walk-in clinic! The sign does not say ‘walk-in clinic!’ We are not a walk-in clinic! I have patients! I have a practice! I do not have time for walk-in clinics!
Me – But… I checked online. You are listed as a walk-in clinic with Doctors NS.
Dr – There were other clinics on that list. You could have picked one of those.
Me – So, you aren’t going to see him, then?
Dr – I’m seeing him! I’m seeing him right now! But I am not a walk-in clinic!
She then checked his arm and asked why I thought I needed a doctor anyway, because unless he has an egg allergy there is “no chance” that any reaction could be a problem. She asked what I was doing for treatment; I said on the advice of the 811 nurse I’d given him Advil and put ice on it for 20 minutes. “No ice!” she barked. “And you should be giving him children’s Motrin!”
As I was gathering up the (totally silent) children and bustling out of the office, she once again said “we are not a walk-in clinic! Don’t come here looking for a walk-in clinic because I have built this practice from scratch and I have patients now, I will refuse to see you!”
When I got home I double-checked both websites again, because I had convinced myself it was my mistake. Once I realized it wasn’t, I sent an email and a series of tweets to Doctors NS. (I have yet to hear a response; if I don’t hear by tomorrow I’m calling them.) I also called the practice and spoke to the receptionist, who confirmed that yes, they are a walk-in clinic, and that she has no idea why the ONE DOCTOR ON STAFF told me they aren’t.
The good news is, Ron is feeling better. The redness is much less and he should be back to normal by morning. And at least he won’t get the flu. But damn, I am so aggravated right now. Still. I just had to share.
UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, Doctors NS contacted me to say they were following up with the clinic to confirm their status and the services they offer. They also advised that they cannot discipline doctors, as they are the doctors’ own professional association, and referred me to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Stay tuned!