Tuesday, April 24, 2007


So, the other day I got an evaluation form from the local medical clinic I go to.

I seek to be as medically boring as possible, really, and have largely succeeded in this through most of my life. But, since I'm going overseas to teach (and to play tourist on either side of the semester), I thought I should make sure my vaccines are up to date and such.

Anyway, this evaluation form from the clinic.

See, I had an irritating visit to the clinic, irritating in the most petty ways, and the petty part of me wants to fill out the form to reflect that. The lazy part of me wants to put it aside until it finds its way into the trash. And the not petty part of me wants to find a useful way to fill out the form.

The paranoid part of me wonders if my petty irritations, expressed on a form with the name of the travel clinic doctor and the date of my appointment, might make for a less than pleasant encounter with the needle when I go to get the second Hep B vaccination. And the third.

The cynical part of me thinks that responding is a time-consuming (for me) exercise in pretending that someone there cares. Circular file.

The teacher part of me that gets evaluation forms myself doesn't want to be mean, but also recognizes that filling out the form and saying things were GRRRRREAT! would give someone an excuse to do petty irritating stuff in the future. And not filling out the form doesn't help someone who wants to do better but doesn't realize they're not doing a good job communicating on a basic level.

Or maybe people were having a bad day? (or several people, several bad days, over several weeks, actually.) Maybe the travel clinic doctor's a petty jerk and not a sexist jerk? It's so hard to tell the two apart sometimes, when I only have myself as a sample size.

All the parts of me agree that chocolate malt balls would be more pleasureable than filling out the form. They also all agree that chocolate covered raisins would be an acceptable second choice, and also far more enjoyable than filling out the form.


  1. Can you wait until after the remaining vaccinations, and then fill out the form? That might mean putting it off for several months, I realize, but at least you wouldn't have to worry about possible immediate repercussions.

    In the meantime, chocolate-covered anything sounds like a good alternative.

  2. Perhaps you could make a copy of the form, then complete one copy and turn it in to the clinic. After a week or so, you could write a letter to the practice manager (with a copy to the doctor) addressing your concerns about the word choice used on the form and perhaps suggest suitable alternatives.

    Complaining to the clerical staff or the medical para-professionals would be as productive as complaining to your chocolate malt balls.

  3. Kermit, Chocolate raisins for the win! If I wait, I simply won't do it. Papers don't last that long around.

    Christine, good call, I can complain to my chocolate raisins!

    The stuff was petty: problems getting an appointment, getting a call rescheduling the appointment because they made a mistake, then when I got there, being told that I'd canceled my appointment. They found it on another computer, though. Then they didn't have the form I'd sent five weeks earlier (at their request) with my file, and had to go looking for it (they found it). So petty stuff.

    And the doctor. Well. Not a great communicator, let's say. Came in, sat at the computer and looked at my file. Finally turned to me and said he'd written two prescriptions, one an antibiotic in case I got traveller's diahhrea (sp?). I asked a question about that, and he answered: "I've already faxed it in." It didn't answer my question at all, and made it pretty much impossible to ask about the other prescription which was for an oral vaccine. I'd have liked to have asked why oral and not the shot kind (which I'd had as a kid), but I think he would have said, "I've already faxed it in." rather than answer.

    I think actually talking to someone before you fax prescriptions might be helpful? And answering questions rather than blowing them off.

    Then he sat and read aloud from a travel information sheet to me (after I'd sat with my copy of the 10 or so pages for 15 minutes). Condescending.

    But all petty stuff. It's not like he went and punched me or something, or said something horribly rude. Just petty crap.

    I wish the family practice clinic part would have just given me the same print out, because I have a feeling the doctor I've seen before would have answered my questions; she seems competent and reasonably pleasant, and I'm sure orders up Hep vaccines for kids all the time.