A couple of months ago I complained of a stuffy head to my PCP. Leaning over to tie my shoes made my head hurt and coughing hurt worse. He said it is probably seasonal allergies and wrote a script for the generic of Singular, said his wife swears by it. I’ve never had an allergy problem before, but there is always a first time for everything. The medicine notes said it might take 3 to 14 days to reach full effect, so I settled in for the long haul. One week, two weeks, three weeks — nothing — I finished the bottle and didn’t refill it.
Another month goes by and I got no better, but I got no worse either. Then, last week about Tuesday I noticed a different sound sensation on the drive home, the wind noise with the top down had a rumble to it. On Wednesday the low frequencies of music were muddy. My stuffy head had migrated to my left ear. I figured it was time to do something about my problem. And I wanted to elevate the issue and just go ahead and get an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. See as I hadn’t yet ever seen an ENT doc, I had my choice, stay local and try one of the two docs in a practice here in Aiken or try and get in and see the same guy as Donna used out of a larger practice in Augusta.
I started with the Aiken ENT. I called their number about 9:30 on Thursday. A very official sounding voice mail system picked up after 2 rings giving the impression that you are dealing with very large, finely-tuned operation instead of a small medical office. I wait thru “call 911 if this is an emergency” instructions and the “your call is very important to us”, then I get “if this is a doctor’s office press 0” followed by “for appointments press 1”, so I do. Now I get the “this call may be recorded, blah, blah, blah, the next available representative will be with you shortly.” Followed by hold music…do, do, do doo, do, do doo. Not long later the phone starts ringing, so I know I’m close, but after 8 rings it is still ringing! I hang up.
The heck with that, I’ll show them, I’ll call Augusta. The drive to the downtown place wasn’t bad and I’ll ask to see Dr. Barfield, he was cool. So I look up their number and call them. IT IS THE SAME EXACT VOICEMAIL SYSTEM (different voice, but same script) AND THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENS (I hang up after 8 rings.)
About 20 minutes later I tried the Aiken number again. As soon as the voice mail system picks up I hit the number 1, wait through the automated voice until I get the ringing. This time I count to 12 rings before hanging up.
I email home to Donna to say I give up, nobody is answering the phone at either place. She emails back, “You want me to try?” “Go ahead,” I tell her. Not long later my desk phone rings. It is Donna telling me that someone picked up right away when she called. She got me an appointment with her guy, but it wasn’t going to be until the 13th because he was going on vacation the next day…