Adventures at NHCP in 2005

I wrote this email in the summer of 2005 when I was staying with one of my dads in California.  I had completely forgotten about it until my mom mentioned that she had saved it in her inbox due to its apparent hilarity.  So, in the spirit of blogging, I shall post it here.  Oh, and my favorite part is that even nine years ago, I signed my post as “Until next time ~ B”

Enjoy!

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Thursday night: Have bit of sore throat on just the left side.  Annoyed that Im catching cold.  As night goes on, head beings to hurt, I get really tired, and left side of throat gets worse.  I got to bed at 10:45.

Late Thurs/Early Fri: wake up repeatedly, left side of throat hurting worse each time.

Friday morning: 5:00 a.m.: wake up, left side of throat feels like someone took the roughest grade of sandpaper and scrubbed off all layers.  Look in mirror, and while right side is normal, left side is swollen out to middle of throat and looks like the color of a cherry tomato.  left ear cannal also painful.

5:45 a.m.: Talk to dad who has gotten up for work.  Ask him where should I go to be seen by a doctor.  We agree on Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, since I still have TriCare, the military’s insurance.

6:30 am: Call NHCP.  Nasty lady on phone says they won’t see me because I’m not enrolled in the hospital.

6:45 am: Call TriCare, who can’t give me permission to see a doctor other than my PCM because it’s not office hours.

6:50 am: Call NHCP back.  Ask how to get enrolled in hospital.  Bitch tells me “Go to the 6th floor.”

7:15 am: Throw up in bathroom sink.

7:30 am: Get in car and drive to NHCP.

7:45 am: Throw up in car.

7:55 am: Find miraculously close parking space to building and park car.

After 8 am:  Go to the 6th floor.  First stop: TriCare office.  I get my PCM changed from Providence Family Medicine in Milwaukie, OR to NHCP.  Oh joy for me.

Second Stop: Hospital Enrollement.  Give them my TriCare papers, and they enroll me.  Ask how to make appt: they tell me the phone at the end of the hall will direct me to the right place.

Third Stop: Phone.  Same bitch as before tells me I’m still not enrolled.  This is how the convo went:

Bitch: “I’m sorry, I can’t make you an appointment because you aren’t enrolled.”
Me: “What do you mean? I JUST enrolled.  I’m on the 6th floor!”
Bitch: “What clinic were you enrolled to?”
Me: “What do you mean by clinic?  I just enrolled to the hospital itself.”
Bitch: “Well, I need a clinic name.”
Me: “I don’t have a clinic name”
Bitch: “Well, then I can’t make you an appointment.”

Fourth Stop: Back at enrollment office.  (By this time, I feel like shit that’s been steamrolled and I’m almost in tears.  I have 3 weeks of medical insurance left before I turn 23.  Just let me see a fucking doctor!!!)  I tell the enrollment lady the bitch on the phone said I wasn’t enrolled.  The enrollment lady, who was super nice, took me down the hall and disappeared into an office.  5 minutes later the nice enrollment lady came out with another nice lady and they told me I had an appointment with Team C on the 1st floor at 8:45.  I was elated.  After thanking them profusely, I took the elevator down to the 1st floor.

Fifth Stop:  Easily find Team C on 1st Floor.  Go to front desk, hand them my papers that have my name, insurance, and new PCM.  Tell the lady, “My name is B, I have an 8:45 appointment.”  And this is how the conversation went:

Front desk idiot: “No, I don’t have u down fo’ appointment”  (Imagine Phillipino accent)
Me: “No, I was just up at enrollment, and they made me the appointment.”
Front desk idiot: “Who made appointment?”
Me: “The people in enrollment on the 6th floor, not more than five mintues ago.  I was just up there.”
Front desk idiot: “Who in enrollment?”
Me: “I don’t know, but they just made it.”

She types for a bit…. then says.  “U Sandra, right?”

????  HELLO, STUPID IDIOT RECEPTIONIST WHO BARELY SPEAKS ENGLISH, LOOK AT MY PAPERS!!!!!!!!!!

Instead, I calmly said, “No, I’m B.”

Front desk idiot: “Oh.”  She types for a bit more, then says, “OK, u can sit down now”.

8:45 am: Getting vitals, height, weight, temperature taken by cute Navy guy.  Too bad he looks like a douche in his white sailor suit.

Sixth Stop: Doctors office.  Navy Doctor begins exam.  She takes one look at my throat, says, “Wow, that looks painful!”

Riiiighhhht.

Navy Doctor: “You have strep throat.  I’ll do a culture, but I’m pretty sure its strep.  I’m going to prescribe you penicillin.  Take it 4 times a day for ten days.”

Sigh.

Seventh Stop: Pharmacy.  Go to counter, give my military ID.  Dude behind counter looks up my record… then looks at me gravely.  This is how the coversation went:

Pharmacy idiot: “Have you taken penicillin before?”
Me: “Yes”
Pharmacy idiot: “Well….” [insert long pause here as he leans in to talk to me more privately, as if the conversation could really get more private in a military hospital.  He lowers his voice] “You know that penicillin can severely decrease the effectiveness of……….  [dramatic pause here] your birth control.”  [I should add that the guy was looking at me as if I were the idiot]
Me: “Okay.”
Pharmacy idiot stares at me for a long time to make sure I understand. He says basically the same thing again.
Me: [looking at him like he’s the idiot] “OKAY”

I go and sit down in the refugee camp-like waiting area.  Call my dad to tell him the news.  Wait 15 minutes.  Finally get penicillin and get the hell out of NHCP.

9:15 am: Open car door and sit inside hot car.  Get immediate whiff of vomit.  Realize on the way to NHCP, I had gotten sick into a Starbucks bag that I had absent-mindedly left in car to petrify.  I precede to shudder, and throw icky Starbucks bag into old plastic Starbucks cup from day before, and smell goes away.

9:45 am: Get home, open front door, Sharon on couch asks, “How did you get strep throat?!”

Sigh.

10:00 am: Throw away petrified vomit bag and Starbucks cup into trash can.  Take a penicillin.  Look at pharmacy print out.  Realize that they have my address as the one listed in Albany.  I haven’t lived there in 3 years.  Have no idea how they have it.  Especially since I had just updated my information with them at Stop #2, the enrollment office.  Idiots.

11:00 am: Take 800 mg of ibuprofen and slept.

So, that is my adventure with Strep Throat and the amazingly astute, efficient staff that make up the incredibly organized Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I didn’t enjoy experiencing it.  At least I can laugh about it now.

Until next time…

~B

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After reading through this again, I realize I sound racist about the receptionist.  I promise you I’m not some crazy xenophobic bigot.  Everyone at that hospital is pretty much an idiot, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, etc.  It’s a big building full of morons who somehow got a license to practice medicine.  Only the finest for our men and women in uniform, folks.

Until next time ~ B

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