Wayne Michael Reich

Writing ∙ Photography ∙ Art


Month: June 2015

Paging Dr. Feelbad PT. 2 (What’s Behind the Green, Kapoor?)

I think there is a sort of box-ticking mentality. Not just in the teaching profession. You hear about it in medicine and nursing. It’s a lawyer-driven insistence on meeting prescribed standards rather than just being a good doctor.” – Richard Dawkins

Greetings, Blogiteers!

What a beautiful day this is- I have a box of chilled Ding Dongs, a pitcher of ice-cold skim milk, and Big Hero 6 lined up in the ol’ DVD player. Can it possibly get any better? Hells to the yes, says I.

In fact, it’s been a stellar couple of weeks overall- my new doctor is kicking serious ass, the overdue re-organization and selective culling of my reference library went off without a hitch, and while cleaning my studio space top to bottom [so that’s where that egg salad sandwich went…] I even managed to find an assumed lost to the ages relic from the bad old days when I used to date nothing but strippers.


Photo Credit: (C) http://www.WayneMichaelReich.com
Model Credit: Aemelia Mc Morbid / http://www.modelmayhem.com/1850742

I’m sorry… did I use the term “strippers”? What I meant to say was that I used to court independent contractors of adult entertainment as a means of relaxation and fostering personal growth. My bad.
[Granted, it’s not the prettiest of shirts, but trust me… I earned that sucker, and it’s super comfy.]

On the art/professional side of my life, it’s also been pretty darn swell too- I had a great time hanging out with graffiti legend Such Styles [ http://i.instagram.com/suchstylez/ ] and his equally talented son CHAMP [ http://i.instagram.com/champ_styles/ ] at the Mon Orchid Gallery Street Art show a while back,  

and scratched a huge “to-do” off my artistic bucket list by finally meeting one of my creative idols, the one and only Derek Hess. [http://www.derekhess.com]

And as an aside, he was also nice enough to name-drop me on his website a few days later, much to my squealing eternal fan-boy delight. They always say you never want to meet your idols, because their feet may be made of clay, but in regards to Derek, that dude is speed-walking around in some seriously hardcore admantium* boots. *[Google it. You’ll be happy that you did.]

Factor in that my gig writing a monthly AOM column for PHOENIX Magazine has been a blast so far, and you can see why I’m all shades of hyper-mellow these days. Let me tell ya- in regards to my writing and it’s particular POV, nothing fuels my feelings of vindication better than being paid. Granted, it would be awesome if I could get compensated for this particular body of work, but ya gotta take the bitter with the sweet, I guess. I don’t know… maybe if I created a line of Artbitch related merchandise, I could see a return on my labor of snark. Just imagine the possibilities…

T-shirts. Mousepads. Inspirational posters. Coffee mugs. Pens. Refrigerator magnets. Dinner plates. Drink coasters. Underwear with Artbitch quotes instead of the days of the week. Bobble-heads. Pajamas. Ding-Dong scented car fresheners. Fannypacks. Novelty hats. Water wings. Body glitter. Phone cases. Kazoos. Yo-yos. Board games. Construction helmets. Bike helmets. Helmets in general. Watches. Soda cozies. Whatever the name is of that weird abomination blanket with sleeves whose infomercial you watch at 2 A.M.

Wait a minute, I’ve got it- the ultimate product: Life size inflatable replicas of me that you could punch in the face! Seriously, how awesome would one of those be? My detractors for one, could finally be able to do in the privacy of their mom’s garage what they’ve been claiming would happen to me if I they ever caught me alone in a dark alley- something I find to be truly laughable, as most of these internet bad-asses strike as the type that would hang out in the woods behind a child’s playground, rather than in a well-lit urban center.

And I, literally could talk to myself in those rare moments whenever I needed confirmation that my opinion was right. It’ll be a huge win-win all around. But my viral marketing will have to linger on the back burner, for a tale awaits, and that right quick. When we were last gathered around the metaphorical campfire, I was trapped in an ugly beige room at my doctor’s office, putting my mad Jenga skills to the test by constructing Parisian landmarks from tongue depressors and cotton balls. Good times for sure, but it wasn’t how I wanted to spend my day off, by any means.

Keeping in mind that at this point, I had already experienced a terrifying “low”, was still in some truly horrendous pain, and was invested to the amount of $251.00 for office visits without having seen any positive outcome, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my nose was a wee bit out of joint in regards to my then current situation.So to recap… pain on a molecular level. Financially strapped. Feeling extorted into taking expensive tests before ANY of my necessary meds will be released. Disinterested doctor. Bottle- blond nurse who apparently drinks the dye rather than apply it to her hair.

And there was this: during my not-worth $151.00 consultation with Dr. Kapoor, she mentioned once or twice that I should take Cymbalta, a drug used to primarily treat depression, and occasionally fibromyalgia. To be fair, I was experiencing some epic melancholy, but when you haven’t slept good in months and your skin is so sensitive that even wearing a t-shirt hurts, it’s not too shocking that you’d be down in the dumps about it.

However, when I’m not in soul-shredding pain, I tend to be a rather darkly upbeat if somewhat cynical kind of guy, so taking an anti-depressive medication is complete overkill, to say the very least. In other words, help me get rid of the pain, and I’ll be singing as if I were competing on American Idol.

[It’d be epic… mainly because I don’t think anyone’s ever covered the Motorhead catalogue in the fashion it truly deserves.]

But here’s the rub- Cymbalta is not only expensive, but it also has some seriously unpleasant side effects: nausea, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, [seems contradictory] fatigue, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Given the knowledge of what could possibly happen as a result of taking this drug, I say “screw that“- I’d rather be depressed, thank you very much. Ding Dongs may not necessarily be the best way to treat a deep blue funk, but at least they don’t back you up like rush hour in Detroit. The question I have is this- why would she suggest an additional drug [that’s she’s never mentioned before] when I already have one that’s been working almost flawlessly for the better half of a decade?

Granted, my dosage obviously needed a tweak of sorts, but why mess with a regimen that’s already proven, when the perceptible priority was to reduce my pain? You’ve got something that already works, stick with it, and just increase the dosage already. Keep in mind, she had a 150 mg additional “tweak zone” to work with, so it wasn’t like I was maxxed out in regards to this particular drug.

And this got me thinking as to why that was. I’m not going to go as far as saying somebody’s palms are getting greased by a sales rep, but it does seem odd. Just a random thought.

Now, when last we were together, I had just called Nurse Shaun’s direct line and left a detailed message reminding her not to forget to fax the financial paperwork along with each filled out application, of which there were three. Overall, a directive that even a mentally-handicapped baboon should’ve been able to follow, am I right?

Well, let me just make a mental note that next time I need this done, to go and find said baboon, because there’s no way they could have screwed it up as badly as this blonde stereotype did. Not only did she did forget to do this for two of the most crucial medications, she then claims that she never got my message, because she’s “new here and my phone inbox is screwed up“.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a realist, albeit a cynical one. People and sometimes things, make mistakes. I DO get that, really I do. But the fun part is a comin’, and it’s a doozy. After this snafu of epic proportions, during which I had to redo the application process, I make a decision not to do the tests, due to the fact I couldn’t afford them- a problem that Dr. Kapoor never even attempts to help me resolve.

On a related note, my new doctor was able to steer me to a program whose testing costs were 90% less than Labcorp’s- a program that St. Joe’s has apparently either never heard of, or can’t divulge due to having a contract with Labcorp. Either way, non-insured patients like myself get screwed in the end.

Yep- that’s some serious Hippocratic dedication to your client base right there, isn’t it?                                 And don’t kid yourself- we’re cash cows first, patients second.

Naturally, I call Dr. Kapoor’s office to tell her this, and they direct me once again to Shaun’s inbox, where I leave yet another detailed message regarding my decision. Roughly twenty minutes later, Shaun returns my call and asks if the message I had just left was the previous one telling her to send the financial info, to which I say no, it wasn’t.

I then ask her if she had listened to my most recent message, and she says: No, because I still can’t get into my inbox“. No pun intended, but hold the phone. Does anyone else besides me see the truly glaring problem here? She’s claiming that she can’t get into her inbox, yet she knew that I, and I alone, had left her a message. This, despite the fact that I called from a “restricted” number- IE: that number doesn’t show up even on lines equipped with Caller ID.

As one might expect, being the curiously playful child of the stars that I am, I just had to ask that if she was unable to access her voicemail, how in the Great and Terrible OZ was she able to ascertain that: (A) It was me calling, and… (B) that she had a message in the first place? Grant me this small tangent- since it’s initial discovery, scientists have stated time and time again that Hydrogen, due to its copious abundance, is the basic building block of the known Universe. I would strongly disagree. Stupidity is seemingly in much greater profusion than Hydrogen, and that, on the face of it, is what the Universe is apparently comprised of when studied in greater detail.

And there I was, phone in hand, speaking with it’s chosen representative. Fortunately for that moments entertainment, after a somewhat lengthy, if not awkward, pause, her response to being caught red-handed in a blatant (and no longer convincing) lie was simplicity itself: Um… I’m new here.”

Seriously. That was her entire explanation, and it was sheer genius.

That phrase, “Um… I’m new here” could and should, replace the standard: “you can’t blame me, I was drunk” excuse for the entire Millennial generation. No details to remember. No witnesses. And best of all, no defensible way someone could get mad at you for not knowing the ropes- after all, you’re new there, right?

What kind of jerk would be mean to you just because of that? Donald Trump, for sure, but everybody else? They would just get with the program and chillax, trust me on this. The perfect alibi. Granted, I don’t think it would totally work if your wife walked in on you having a marshmallow and chocolate syrup three-way with Angeline Jolie and Milla Jovovich, but she wouldn’t be able to later claim at her trial for killing you that it wasn’t an original excuse, now could she?

Of course not. That would be ridiculous.

Let’s see… I’m almost 300 bucks in, still suffering, have no pain medication, my paperwork is screwed up beyond belief, and I’m currently dealing with a woman who by way of comparison, makes Sarah Palin look like Nikoli Tesla. Yep. I’m officially done with this- it’s high time to get out the big guns and talk to a boss/supervisor.

My initial contact in the beginning of this process, was Nicole- who while professional and bubbly, couldn’t get past her script. No offense to her, as she was very nice, but I like my women to be more akin to the Groundlings and less like the Royal Shakespearean Academy. In other words, able to actually communicate without a physical libretto.

So, after some adorable back and forth, I find out that the office manager in charge of my doctor and her denser than depleted uranium nurse, is one Veena Dhillon, so I start touching base with her, bringing forth my grievances, assuming that things will soon get back on track and rolling forward.

Oh, eternally wretched optimism, when will you ever learn? Sometimes it’s like watching a kitten chase a laser pointer- you really want it to capture that insolent red dot, but you know in the end, it’s just wasting it’s energy trying to do so, and all will end in tears. Let me give you some context.

I’ve often been told that I have a tendency to be fairly (and uncomfortably) direct when I’m in the midst of addressing a complaint, as I don’t believe in skirting around the issue at hand, nor do I think that the application of treacle is an effective way of settling a problem either. Now, where I’m from (NYC) this is a fairly standard way of communicating- we all do it, and we do it rather well.

However, west of Texas and the closer you get to California, this method is considered somewhat intense, if not downright threatening, despite there not being one iota of threat or malice implied. The acronym for this form of horribly misconstrued perception is BATCA, which in layman’s shorthand, translates as “being a thin-skinned candy-ass”. Sufferers with BATCA have feelings of persecution, inability to think outside of their scripted box, and show an almost pathological capacity for rejecting common sense in the face of obvious facts and/or evidence.

In essence, I found Ms. Dhillon to be BATCA-crazy. When she and I get to discussing my concerns, she’s immediately dismissive, stating that she doesn’t “appreciate” my complaining about her employees, and despite my catching Shaun in an obvious lie, doesn’t “really see the need” to continue our conversation unless I adopt a “nicer” tone.

Oh for the love of Ding Dongs, was she serious?

For the record, I wasn’t yelling. I wasn’t using foul/vulgar language. And at no point did I suggest even remotely that her mother serviced longshoremen in between sets at the local strip club. I was firm, I was slightly sarcastic to be sure, but considering the amount of horrendous pain I was in [which had been thoroughly described at this point] it would have been ludicrous to expect me to be full of rainbows and unicorn glitter, would it have not?

But hey… I’m all about making friends, so I gave it a shot, nonetheless. Switching my tone to that of a prizewinner from The Price is Right, I finished off my listing of her staff’s incompetence and professional errors with enough sprinkles and icing to drop a diabetic at twenty yards. After I wrap it up, Veena’s measured and professional response was to jump right in and get all sides of the story in order to establish a baseline for a thoughtful course of action.

Well, that’s what should have happened- in a logical universe, anyway.

Instead, I am haughtily informed that the “doctor/patient relationship has been irreparably broken” because I dared to complain, and that in her [non-doctor] opinion, I should be discharged as a patient because she (once again) didn’t appreciate my tone when I dared to suggest that her perfect staff was anything but.

Off tangent: you ever meet anyone who makes you think to yourself: “This person will be the reason I buy a chainsaw and rent a large wood-chipper someday.”? Obviously, reassigning me to another doctor (as I suggested) was just too crazy an idea, as was  apparently her fully investigating the validity of my criticisms in the first place. See, there I was, naively assuming that an office manager actually manages an office, versus the reality where they play a game of cover thy incompetent minions’ asses.

To threaten complainants with the loss of their health care is a unique, and I might add, truly creative way to keep those negative quarterly numbers down. It’s almost downright Republican, to say the very least, and if I were a normal person, it might have worked.

Fortunately for you, my loyal readers, I am as far from normal as you can get- especially when you make a situation as personal as this. Throw my pain on top of my need for justice, and you can just imagine how far I’ll go in regards to acquiring personal satisfaction. If there is one thing I can modestly brag about, it’s the fact that I’m exceedingly good at getting to who’s really in charge of things- I don’t usually deal with the cubicle monkeys, I go straight for the biggest kahuna I can find.

Once discovered, I then make their life a living Heck, while simultaneously letting them know that all could have been avoided if only the people beneath them had done their jobs with just the merest hint of professionalism and personal interest. Not too surprisingly, this has generally resulted in my getting satisfaction, while also seeing some positive changes occurring within the power structure.

The ends justifying the means, as it were.

An amusing aside: several years ago, I had a minor problem with a cel phone bill, had called one of  my then-phone company’s Pakistan/Phillipine/India- based call centers, and by hook and crook, had ended up getting into a shouting match with the zombie on the other end. I finally wound up slamming down the phone, because I was getting nowhere, despite having asked for a supervisor several times, which is what had led to the argument in the first place.

Within minutes, vulgar text messages started appearing on my phone, all seemingly sent to myself from my own number. It wasn’t too hard a stretch to ascertain where they were actually calling from, so I did what one would be expected to do, and called the 1-800 service number to formally lodge a complaint. Over the course of a week, the messages kept coming, and despite my dealing with everyone from the phone jockeys to the physical store, the flow was relentless.

No matter who I talked to, the buck was passed, and excuses were rampant. BTW, I loathe rampant excuses, absolutely loathe them. Even more than I hate stale PEEPS, which is a hatred that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. But getting back to the point, it morphed into a crusade for Truth, Justice and the Wayne Michael Reich way, which comes not only with Ding Dongs, but awesome cartoons as well.

After just a few more days of phone calls, I hit the mother-lode: a retiring [and fed-up] secretary to the afore-mentioned Really Big Kahuna. She not only gave me this persons direct office number, but their private cel and home numbers as well.

Which of course, I did not use, as I am an honorable man…. until the following Sunday that is, when I called them at nine o’clock at night to explain my particular situation. Shockingly, they were actually somewhat upset, but after a few awkward minutes where my lineage was questioned repeatedly, I eventually managed to convey just why it was that I was talking to them- their lesser employees had passed the buck, and here I was, humbly attempting to deposit it.

At that point, this individual became very interested in just who I had been talking to, and I cheerfully gave up all the names of the various managers that had been blowing me off for the past two weeks.

Unfortunately for my newest Kahuna bestie, I couldn’t for the life of me remember exactly who it was that had given me their private numbers in the first place- darn, that squidgy memory of mine. I’m still all shades of broken up about it.

Regardless, the promise of swift and ferocious action was made, my number was grabbed, and I was informed that it “will be taken care of” ASAP. Darn, I just love a good conversation with stimulating people, don’t you? Anywho… the next morning I was called by no less than three different managers, their apologies were made (one through obviously gritted teeth) and I was given a “credit” which reflected several months of my average bill.

That my loyal bitches, is how you drop the mic. BOO-YAH.
So why should this have been any different?

Well… complaining about medical related care is kind of difficult, and purposefully so. You can complain to the BBB, which isn’t going to do squat, or to the Board of Medical Examiners, which reviews complaints and issues judgments. However, since it’s doctors reviewing other doctors, unless you kill someone [3 seems to be the magical number where BOMEX wakes up and yanks your license] you can guess what the outcome will most likely be.

SPOILER: the patient loses, and BOMEX by law, will not/cannot tell you the course of discipline taken, or if any actually was. Isn’t that helpful?

So where is a ticked off Artbitch to go when he needs to complain about what he feels is a pressing issue? In my case, that would be the one and only Saint Joeseph’s Patient Relation Board, staffed by an amazingly friendly woman named Denise Bludis. To be fair, Denise also followed a script in how she dealt with me, but at least she wasn’t a rudely condescending cow like Veena had been, nor was she dismissive about the concerns I had brought forth.

All in all, a lovely person to deal with, given the situation.

However- if I did have to speak poorly about interacting with the “board” as it were, I would definitely suggest that the process itself really needs to be sped up. It took almost two weeks for my calls to be returned [I blame that on inter-office miscommunication, not her] and at least two more before a resolution was even discussed.

If there is an upside to all this, it’s that St. Joseph’s does take complaints like mine seriously- the only problem being that they take it so seriously that they won’t tell you, the patient, a damn thing, or even allow your complaint to be made public. All shades of a mini-BOMEX, where an unethical whitewash takes place under the guise of looking out for the consumer. Think about this for a minute: the average citizen has no idea how to find out what complaints their doctor has, or what, if any, action has been taken against them in regards to the same. It’s easier to find out how many health code violations your local Mc Donald’s has, versus being able to see whether your doctor is competent or not.

I’ll hazard the theory that when St. Joes is paying out a settlement for a severity of health issue or an actual death occuring from one of these incompetent lapses, they’ll give pause to rethinking their pre-established policy, but the jury’s still out on that one so far. During the time this brief dialogue occured, I also had the joy of receiving a certified letter from Veena wherein she whined about my nerve in complaining about her impeccable staff, accused me of using “verbally abusive” language, (told ya she was BATCA crazy) and then discharged me as a patient, without so much as a referral for a new doctor.

Yep. That’s who you want making medical decisions for you- an unprofessional ass-covering troglodyte who gets offended when you don’t belch rainbows.So to recap: $251.00 in, still in hideous pain, tests required to get vital medication, and now- no doctor. Back to square one. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00 Start from scratch. Best of luck, here’s your hat, bon voyage, arriveaderci. 

Naturally, I took all of this in with an even temper and good humour- the two things that are my stock in trade. Granted, if I was able to have my druthers, I’d like to take that letter, deep-fry it, roll it in powdered sugar, drizzle it with honey, and have a team of rabid gerbils hand-deliver it up Vreena’s overly generous rectum sideways. You know. Like you do.

Up until that point, all I wanted was to make sure my complaint was taken seriously and on the books- no careers ruined, just a course of some minor disciplinary action taken, that’s all. After the receipt of that bitchy little missive however, it became exceedingly personal. Nobody has the right to impact your health just because they don’t like your “tone”, and nobody has the right to keep money they didn’t earn for services that they didn’t provide.

In other words, I was now going out for metaphorical blood, and I was going to get it, come Hell or high water. The one thing I have noticed after dealing with so many different levels of the medical industry is this- there’s a huge disconnect between patients and the staff/doctors in most offices.

Think about all the times a doctor has kept you waiting with no explanation, or their office screwed something up- have you ever gotten a credit for your inconvenience? I didn’t think so. But if you’re late or have to cancel….  do you get where I’m going with this?

I can’t think of any other industry where filing a simple complaint is this much of a pain in the ass, can you? Well I for one, wasn’t going to just bend over and take it like I was the new guy in the prison shower, I was gonna get back what was mine- in this case, all the money I had spent on fruitless office visits.

The lingering question: how exactly was I going to do that? To be honest, I wasn’t really coming from a position of strength- sure, I was convinced that I was right, but I also feel the same way in regards to how Milla Jovovivch should come over to my house for a massage, and we all know that hasn’t happened……yet.

As I stated earlier, I tend to be a rather darkly upbeat, if somewhat cynical, kind of guy- there’s generally a lot of criticism directed at cynics, but it’s only because people don’t “get” us, and as to what brings us joy. That’s right- I said “joy”. Cynics at their core are ALWAYS happy. Not because we view the world through ash-colored glasses, but because we’re consistently being proven right or being pleasantly surprised, all the time. And I am a cynic’s cynic, thank you very much. I understand how the world works, and I comprehend exactly how it’s worker drones react when placed under pressure. The answer is simple. They crack like Kim Kardashian’s makeup when she smiles. And at it’s core, St. Joeseph’s is staffed by worker bees, not Queens.

Therein lies the exploitable chink in the armor. One of the major flaws in forcing people to stick to a script is that it doesn’t allow the drones independent thought- they have to get every decision approved beforehand, which is maddening when you’re dancing around a resolution. One step forward, two steps back, as it were. Fortunately, I’m German-Sicilian. We don’t dance so much as we march, forward and usually through, a roadblock.

As my Father once said to me: “German efficiency mixed with the Sicilian thirst for revenge… yeah, that’s a great combination.” There was no way in Hell these fraudulent and incompetent nimrods were keeping my money, for one simple reason:


Now by this point, I thought that I had defended my case pretty well with Denise- seemingly genuine in her sympathy, she nonetheless held fast to the corporate line in the sand, albeit without being haughty or unprofessional. But regardless of what she actually believed, she was forced to defer to her so-called superiors, who so far as I could ascertain- just wanted me to shut up and go away without the money I felt that I had wasted.

Clearly, my devastating charm and ruggedly good looks weren’t going to cut it over the phone, so whether I liked it or not, it was evidently time for me to dig deep in the dark corners of my soul, pull out that dusty steamer trunk, open it up, and unfurl my inner Machiavelli. placed there many years before. Fortunately for me, it still fit perfectly, and all false humility aside… my ass looked great.

Sensing that I had nothing to lose, I suggest that perhaps the time had come for me to file a lawsuit  via small claims court as a means to get my money back- after all, I had gone though the proper channels, and was getting nowhere [no fault to Ms. Bludis, mind you] and that if I were forced to do so, would use my considerable self-promotion skills to bear, letting everybody know about their business practices.

As you might imagine, threatening a small claims lawsuit for an amount that was less than the cost of an I-phone went over just as well as Steven Hawking telling Mike Tyson he was about to get the beating of his life. Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure I heard Denise yawn- or maybe it was just a passing breeze… taking place inside her closed-off office. Stranger things have happened.

So I pulled my trump card, and casually added that there was always “Artbitch“. Just as casually, the response was: “I’m sorry, did you say Artbitch?”

“Yes. Artbitch. The infamous blog that covers a wide variety of subjects as long as it falls under the Phoenix-based art scene or my life? Artbitch. The blog that took the Phoenix New Times over it’s metaphorical knee and spanked them until they started covering the Arts more like a newspaper and less like a home-schooler’s pamphlet?

Artbitch. The screed that regularly reminds Phoenicians that Peter Bugg is our artistic version of Adam Sandler minus the charm, talent, and originality? Artbitch. Written by an amazingly talented, yet oddly humble visual artist who’s single-handedly changed the perception of Ding Dongs as an after-meal snack?

Artbitch… you know… the blog that…”  In the distance, the sound of crickets, and then: “I’m sorry… who, again?” Regardless of the fact she had never heard of me [how that is I have no idea- I am so talking to my PR department come Monday] I still felt I was on to something, and decided to roll the dice. After all, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain- in this case, that being two and a half Benjamins, and one sawbuck.

That buys a lot of Ding Dongs, by the way, and more than a few gallons of skim milk. Just putting it out there, that’s all. Undaunted however, I pressed on: Sigh… never mind- anyways, the point I’m trying to make here is that I have a very select set of skills- in my case, that happens to be creative writing. People are always telling me that I’m a damn good writer, and at this point, I don’t think all of them are just trying to be polite. I’m thinking that maybe I need to write something about this whole mess.”

“Well, that is your right, Mr. Reich- and if you want to say someth-“

“In fact, I’ve been getting a lot of attention lately in regards to what I’ve previously written, the New Times slap-down being chief among them, so I’m thinking that if I could take on a major publishing chain and emerge not only unscathed but better known after the experience, how hard would it be to take on one unprofessional doctor staffed with a bevy of incompetent minions?

I’m no mathematician by any means, but I like my odds here. In fact, here’s where it gets interesting- there’s this major publication that seems really interested in my stuff, and I want to make my bones with them, so I need to come in strong, know what I’m saying? And I just had this wonderful idea… How about I pitch them a story regarding patient dissatisfaction with doctors and how complaints are kept hidden from the general public?

I could name names, give dates, really get into the facets of the narrative, which would be easy since I’ve kept really detailed notes… is that a story that you think people would like to read? I sure as heck do, and like I said earlier, there’s always my blog if that doesn’t pan out. Granted, it doesn’t have the reach of a major magazine- what does? However, what it does have is a  readership base who passes it around like cigarettes in prison. So at the bare minimum, I figure I could inform a few thousand people about why they should avoid you guys like the plague.”

What followed was a looooooooong pause. So long in fact, that I thought she had hung up on me. But like I said, Denise was nice. Professional. And definitely not stupid. That inherent intellect led to what I believe was a spur of the moment command decision, that being the following: “Mr. Reich? Upon looking at the situation, I think it would be in our, I mean your best interest to refund your money. You obviously feel that we acted in bad faith, so I’ll get it moving as soon as possible- you should see a refund in check form sometime in the next four to six weeks.”

[It actually got to me in six days. Imagine that!] And all it took was eleven phone calls, five messages, two veiled threats, and playing on the fear of everybody thinking that your business (and it IS a business long before it’s a calling) reeks of unethical behavior to get it done. But I wasn’t quite finished yet.

Yes, I had achieved satisfaction and gotten my money back, but the people responsible for this cock-up were pretty much gonna skate on by, a theory borne out by the letter that I received from Ms. Bludis a few days later which summarized the investigation of my complaint. Basically, it goes through everything I claimed very thoroughly [nice job, Denise!] but by and by, allows Dr. Kapoor, Shaun and Veena off the hook.

I think. Or it doesn’t. You know what? I’m not really sure, since after all, I the patient, don’t need to know or am allowed to know, what consequences (if any) they face. Wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad about themselves, you know- it’s very damaging for the professional confidence.

At the end of my conversation with Denise, I told her how much I appreciated her help, and how nice she was throughout this entire process, but could I possibly ask one last small favor, to which she easily says: “Yes“.

“When you talk to Ms. Dhillon and Dr. Kapoor, let them know this if you would… tell them that despite my getting my money back, I’m still going to write about this.”

Well… that is your right… I guess.”

“Thanks, appreciate that. Also please tell them that I’m going to make them famous. And you… you have a lovely day.”

Once again, that is how you drop the mic. BOO-YAH.

Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.” – Hippocrates