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Friday, March 14, 2008

Doctor's Report: My Visit to the Clinic...

Worry not, friends - not that kind of clinic! I woke up this morning and in what seems to be a repeat performance of the eye infection I had several months ago, I had what my mother politely called, "sleep" in my left eye. This is that crust that seems to form when something is going on.

So, I got ready for work then called the appointment line to get a same day appointment. Being retired military, I usually go right out to the base and see a provider there. Today's spin of the wheel of appointments landed me on, "Maybe we can see you next week". I sort of pressed the issue and they kindly authorized me to go to an off-base clinic and pay the $12 co-pay (I normally don't pay anything), but they couldn't give me a specific appointment time.

So, the lady gave me the address of the place and when she said it was off Highway 90 and 36th Street, I knew exactly where it was. But then she told me the address as 720 Pleasanton, and the name of the place, Gonzaba Medical, something seemed strange.

I called into the office and gave them the story and then grabbed the book I've been reading for about four months, Comanche Moon. It takes me forever to read a book when I don't fly often. Without an appointment, I figured I ought to be ready for a long wait.

Anyway, I drive over to the first place over on 36th Street and walk in to ask the people if I am at the correct place. The shrugged shoulders when I said "Gonzaba" were enough to have me get back in the car and call my wife. You know, I own a Garmin, but never thought to take it with me. Thankfully, my wife looked up the address on Google Maps, and much to my dismay, and as I pretty much expected, I was way off.

I have been down Pleasanton Road many times, and I was hoping that perhaps there was another Pleasanton, perhaps an Avenue, or Court, or Drive or Lane or something. Nonetheless, I was out of coffee and already a little irritated.
So I get to this place and walk in, and honestly, the building looks nice and clean and much to my surprise, it was not filled with screaming kids and their 15 year-old mothers and 30 year-old grandmothers, and there weren't a bunch of creepy looking people like I expected. I don't know what I expected, but the place looked fine.

I walked in and saw a sign that said, "Walk-Ins", so I figured that was me. After I signed in, a man with one fake leg and another leg cut off at the knee wheeled up in a wheel chair and signed in. I started to tell him this line was for walk-ins, but figured he might not appreciate the humor.
I took a seat in front of the desk where two ladies were chatting and generally ignoring everybody who signed in, and I started to read my book. It was actually sort of nice to have a few minutes to catch up on Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call. But as is my nature, I looked up every half a page to see if anything new was happening, and even though I had only been waiting for a few minutes, it was starting to irritate me that the ladies behind the desk had not snapped-to and called my name.The place has a definite Mexican and Spanish feel to it. In fact, the seat I was sitting in was the spiffy hand-carved design that looks really good but is totally uncomfortable. It was getting impatient and the fact that I had been there for a solid fifteen minutes was wearing thin on my nerves. Seeing the two ladies at the desk giggling and whispering wasn't making me happy.

Finally, after several chapters and probably twenty minutes, a lady from another desk walked over to the clip board where I had signed in and called my name. Oh, I guess those two girls sitting around ignoring the patients were actually doing their job. Sorry.

The lady took my information, filled out some paperwork and politely asked me for the $12.00 in advance of seeing the doctor, then told me I would be called in a few minutes. And sure enough, it was just a few minutes.
A technician called me in for the standard weight, height, blood pressure check and such, then asked me why I was being seen. I pointed to my eye and she made a few notes and told me the doctor would be in in a few minutes. Once again, I pulled out my book thinking this would be another half hour or so, but I kid you not, a nice nurse practitioner named Barbara came in within a minute or two. She gave me a good looking over, peered into my eye with some periscope sort of thing and hooked me up with some lubricant that is supposed to fix things up.

And that was it - everything was fast and relatively pain-free considering I didn't have an appointment. Of course, I had to go back to the base to get my prescription filled and that was about an hour long process, but I was truly pleased with the people at this Gonzaba place.

The thing is, even when I do have an appointment with the regular clinic at the base, I am never seen in under 30 to 40 minutes from the time of my appointment. I just expect it to be worse without an appointment. I guess paying that $12.00 co-pay makes all the difference in the world. It almost makes you a customer!

How are your appointments? Got any complaints? Tell me about it.

1 comment:

Anon E. Mouse said...

I've used Gonzaba Clinic before, but went to their location on Culebra Road, at Ingram Road. You know, the one much closer to Silver Creek, and much easier to find. Always had great service there also.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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