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How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call? How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

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Unread 11-27-2009, 05:44 PM
How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

What is an acceptable amount of time to wait for a return phone call from your doctor in a nonemergency situation?

I called my doctor's office a week ago (Friday) because I needed to talk to him about a referral he made. I was told he would be out of the office until Tuesday but they would give him the message. There was no call on Tuesday, but I figured that was because if it was his first day back, he was probably busy. Wednesday went by. Thursday was Thanksgiving. Now here we are Friday, and still no phone call. I'm trying to decide if I should call again on Monday or keep waiting. I have no way of even knowing if they really passed on the message that I called last Friday.

I don't want to seem like a pest, but I don't want to wait forever either. Any suggestions?
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Unread 11-27-2009, 08:26 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

When any business does not return my phone call within my own timeframe expections, what I do is...

I phone the office again and (either on voice-mail or to a live person, depending on who I get) say something like, "I left a message for so-and-so on Tuesday, but just now I discovered that <insert an "excuse" of your own creation> my voice-mail has been malfunctioning....or, I discovered my assistant has not been relaying messages...or, my cell-phone contract expired..." and so I am calling again because I am sure that someone attempted to return my call and encountered problems.

No allegations of ignoring me...I just blame it on "something out of anyone's control." It seems to work for me.

Unread 11-29-2009, 11:07 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

Carmen thanks for the chuckle on how to handle the "no call back" thing.

Mich,I would just call again. I don't usually have that problem, my dr. is pretty good about returning calls if I need to speak directly with him.

I realized I never answered your question on "How do I convince my doctor to do surgery". I have seen a top specialist in the country for adhesions and honestly he didn't do anything more for me than my regular doctor can do. He is/was arrogant and convinced my doctor as well as hospital system wasn't doing their job. My doctor got a taste of the arrogance and understood quickly why I was leery of seeing another specialist. My doctor had only referred me to him because I requested it and so that I could get insurance to cover most of it. Two years later I opted for a hysterectomy.

I have been with my doctor for over 13 years now. We have walked through highs and some life changing blows. I have done everything he has asked me to do and have considered/done other options suggested. We are at a point now that once the pain becomes life consuming or causes me not to handle my responsibilities, then we look at aggressive action. I think my doctor's willingness to do surgery again is because he knows what we are dealing with. He has learned to listen to what I am telling him and every time he has gone into do surgery I have been right about what was wrong. In some cases I had more wrong. Last year he was surprised by the polyp diagnosis once he got pathology back, but he was not surprised by the reasons to go in.

My advice is to do a pros/cons list then take it to him. Talk to him and tell him if you don't think you can make it 3 more months. Ask him to phone in a favor with the specialist. If you can't afford the recommendations, tell him and be honest what your insurance will and will not cover. Ask him at that point to please consider trying again and in the meantime you will work with your insurance (with a letter of referral) to see a specialist after surgery for further evaluation.

The key is to be proactive. Talk to your doctor about the things that can make the next surgery more successful. For me I wanted to take Celebrex post surgery along with the antibiotic I needed to take. We discussed pain meds ahead of time and got those filled the day before surgery so we didn't have to wait once I was released. My doctor had available the stuff to coat the insides with so the adhesions would not get bad as quickly and he used staples to close my incisions with. We didn't even discuss those two things prior to surgery, but he knew that I trusted him to take care of me. I give him huge cudos on the staples idea since my navel area is spitting out undissolved stitches from 2 years ago. I am opting for each of these things for the next surgery.

WHEW! Good luck with the phone call this week.
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Unread 11-30-2009, 11:29 AM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

Well, interestingly enough I got a call from his office this morning. His main assistant called to let me know they have no one else to refer me to. Fabulous! Her only advice, call and get on the cancellation list for a sooner appointment with the specialist I have an appointment with 3 months from now. No kidding! I told her I have called to do that, it wasn't promising. What am I supposed to do now? I was so upset that I stupidly babbled out something to the effect of my trying to convince him to try again, and she said, "No, I think he wants you to see a specialist." I am just sitting here crying. I don't know what else to do. And the sad thing is there isn't even another doctor in my area that I would want to see (I've had experience with most of them in the last 20 years).

I'm so upset that I can't even think to the next step. What do I do now?
Unread 11-30-2009, 11:59 AM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

Update: Called the specialist's office again to recheck on cancellation list idea. This time I was informed they keep no such list. So 3 months from now it is! That's just to even talk to her, then I'll still be waiting for who knows how long to have it fixed.

What should I do? I'm just so upset, I can't even think straight.
Unread 11-30-2009, 04:42 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?


As I think I have stated before, you need to talk with the "doctor" not with his nurse. If you are not able to speak directly with the doctor, maybe it is time to move on and find another doctor, one who will speak directly with you.

Unread 11-30-2009, 05:31 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

Yes, I asked to speak with him when I called a week ago. She said she would give him the message. I don't know why she called me back and not him. I thought I made it clear I wanted to speak to him, so either she didn't take me seriously, didn't tell him that, or just decided to deny me access. It seems like every time I call, she answers the phone now. There is just no way around her! If I could figure out when she went to lunch, I'd call then and try to get a message through. It seems like the only way to talk to him is an office visit, otherwise my messages don't get through as intended. And as long as she answers the phone, I can't make an appointment either. Yes, I know I shouldn't let her get to me, but I'm just not good at dealing with people like that. I understand he wants me to see a specialist, but so far he's recommended 2 doctors whose expertise were in areas other than endo/adhesions and 1 doctor with a 3-month wait (and no cancellation list). If they aren't going to pull some strings with the 3-month doctor so I can get in sooner, than they need to offer me some way to make it through the next 3 months and not just leave me hanging, right? I think I finally understand why a former OB/GYN doctor told me I should be really depressed about a diagnosis of endometriosis. There seem to be so few doctors that concentrate in that area.
Unread 11-30-2009, 05:33 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

You might want to consider seeing a doctor out of the area if there are none nearby who can help you. I know the schematics of doing that are a bit more complicated than seeing a local doctor, but I have had success going out of the area to an expert. It can't hurt to try since you options right now include making another appointment with your doctor or waiting the 3 months.

Unread 11-30-2009, 05:38 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

I have forgotten, what type of doctor is this? What is his area of expertise?

Unread 12-01-2009, 12:41 PM
Re: How long do you "wait" for doctor to return your call?

Kim, he is an OB/GYN/UroGyn.

Weiser, yes I was looking at a couple of those doctor's websites. I do like that the one specifically mentions adhesions along with endo. Thanks.

My husband thinks we should make another appointment to talk to him. My friends, who have worked for doctors in the past, say that there are usually ways for the doctor's office to expedite a visit to the specialist, but so far they haven't offered to even try. If there's no cancellation list, then that is what it's going to take at this point to get in there before 3 months.

I mean what am I supposed to do? I've had 2 worthless referrals to doctors who didn't specialize in this area, and I frankly don't see anything in the third doctors web page that says she specifically treats endo or adhesions either. She has an interest in chronic pelvic pain -- that's as close as it gets. My fear is that after waiting 3 months to see her, she isn't going to have much to offer either. At the last appointment he said 3 months was too long to wait, but now I'm left doing just that. I know you ladies can relate when I say it feels like you are being slowly tortured from inside. I am so worn out from torturous pain, that for the first time today I actually crawled back in bed and slept for 2-1/2 hours. That's not like me at all! But I just don't have energy enough any more.

I am leaning towards another appointment, if only to have him explain to me why this is beyond him suddenly. Six months ago he was ready to try again, but then after my seeing all the other specialties, he suddenly backed off. He has never really explained why the change of mind. And now with no specialist available and no one else to refer me to, I need to know even more why he can do nothing else for me until I can get to the specialist.

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