24 August 2009

Another reason I need to use cash

So remember that time when I received a Facebook friend request from my server at a restaurant? Lesson of the day: use cash.

I should have attended class that day.

I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and have been formulating a post in my mind about the condition for months, but for the purposes of this post, suffice it to say that it causes weight gain and makes weight loss extremely difficult.

My endocrinologist who helps me with it is awesome. She's so awesome that she has way too many patients so I can't get in to see her for 3 months. Normally I wouldn't wait for a doctor that long, but my resources are limited and she's that good.

In the meantime, my symptoms have been out of control for a few months, and I've been researching appropriate meal plans that address all my needs. I know my doctor can work with me on this, but I didn't want to wait.

Solution? Go to a nutritionist or a dietitian.

Receptionist: Hello.

Me: Hi, is this ______ Dietitians Group?

Receptionist: Yes, it is _______ Dietitians Group.

Me: I have PCOS and am looking for a nutritionist or dietitian that can assist me in creating a healthy meal plan based on these specific needs. Is that something your dietitians do?

Receptionist: Yes. How much weight do you want to lose?

Me: I'm not looking to lose weight as much as I am trying to establish healthy eating habits that...

Receptionist: (cuts in) Okay, well do you want to lose any weight?

Me: Yes, of course. I'm small for a women with PCOS (average BMI) but I could stand to lose a few pounds. My priority though is to improve my overall health. Basically, I want to have a meal plan that takes into account that I have PCOS, insulin resistance, and I'm nursing a baby. Is that something your dietitians work with and have had a lot of experience with?

Receptionist: Yes, they see a lot of people like that. When would you like to come in?

Me: Also, I'm pretty much a vegetarian. I eat meat occasionally, but it's very rare (not the meat, the occasions...ba da ching). I'm having trouble keeping my carbs down while still maintaining an adequate amount of protein. Will they be able to find appropriate alternatives with me?

Receptionist: Yes. You will create a meal plan together catered to your needs during your consultation.

Me: Great! I'll come in Saturday at 9 am.

Post-phone call thoughts.
  • Hmmm, she was somewhat curt and unhelpful, but she's the receptionist. I'm sure she doesn't know the nitty-gritty of PCOS.
  • Why did she answer with "hello" instead of with the office name?

Bad Sign 1. I pulled into the parking lot at 8:55 am and was the only person there.
Bad Sign 2. The person who let me in at 9:05 was an insurance agent (who also gave me his card and assured me he would be there for all my insurance needs).
Bad Sign 3. I called the dietitian at 9:15 to ensure she was coming (perhaps her receptionist did not tell her about the appointment) and she sounded an awful lot like the receptionist.
Bad Sign 4. Upon arrival, it became evident that my dietitian was very overweight.

I forgave my doctor's tardiness and seeming lack of adherence to the principles in her field (I fully understand eating well and still gaining weight) and went into the appointment with a positive attitude.

Order of Events
Doc: Step on the scale.

Me: (I acquiesced)

Doc: (leads me to her office) How much weight do you want to lose?

Me: I am not focusing on a number at this point. I have PCOS and am more concerned with preventing heart disease and making lifetime positive dietary choices.

Doc: Okay, this is your BMI. 135-140 pounds would be a good weight for you.

Me: Of course. (thinking, did she even hear what I just said?)

We then went through what I eat during the day. When I mentioned I had insulin resistance and elevated levels of testosterone (main PCOS symptoms) she was completely surprised and wanted to know more about why I had those things and how I knew. ("So those things happen because of the PCOS?" "Um, yeah doc. The main symptoms, hello! If you know anything about PCOS, you would know that")
Results. I walked out with a 1500-1600 calorie meal plan to help me lose 1 pound per week. No talk about whole grains. No talk about how my food choices will affect my blood sugar (which is already a problem). I can eat 1500 calories worth of SweeTarts and as long as I stay within 1500 calories, I will lose a pound a week. I also received a bunch of handouts that looked like they were photocopied from a 5th grade health textbook.

Click to enlarge this very helpful meal plan based on my individual needs:

Other Exceptional Moments.
Me: Where did you attend college?

Doc: (defensively) "What?! Are you interviewing me now? I don't think where I went to school should matter. I've been doing this for 20 years."

Me: "Yes, I am interviewing you. That's my right as a patient and there's nothing wrong with being curious where you went to school, especially since your degrees are not on the wall and that's usually the first place I look."

Doc: (responded with two places in New York that I was unfamiliar with)

Me: (thinking) (Why did I say that? I'm so rude. Plus, she has all my credit card information.)

Valuable Lessons from the Consultation.
Chapter 1: Drink skim milk instead of whole milk if you want to consume less fat. (I don't drink milk, not that she asked)
Chapter 2: Fruit is a good snack.
Chapter 3: Most soda has sugar in it.
Chapter 4: How to read a nutrition label on a box of cereal
Chapter 5: Just because it says Dietitians Group does not mean you should assume there is more than one dietitian...or a receptionist.
Chapter 6: Never ask a professional their qualifications.
Chapter 7: Pay with cash. If you fear they may misuse your credit card information because of the scathing remarks you make, perhaps it would be better to pay with something green.

All this for merely $50. What a bargain!

(This event occurred on Valentine's Day. I have since found an incredible nutritionist if anyone wants her name).

Below are some of the handouts she gave me. Hot diggity dog!


Jason and Lissa said...

That's hilarious! Horrible you had to go through it, but still funny. :)

Blarney Girl said...

Are you sure this "doctor" actually graduated from an accredited medical institution?? What doctor, in all humility, doesn't proudly display their diplomas in as big a frame as possible for all the world to see?? I personally want to see what their grade point average was! Ok, so you graduated! I want the doc who got an A because they studied, not the guy who slept through most classes and cheated off his neighbor who barely passed with a C-!! Any doctor who gets defensive when asked where they went to school has got something to hide! Of course I'm interviewing you. Me giving you money means you work for me!!!

Sorry to hear you have PCOS! So many of my friends have it.

heather said...

Jen, you just made my day. This post was so funny. But I am sorry that you had to go through that whole process. I didn't even know that you had PCOS!

Becca said...

Hahaha, this is hilarious. I love it. :) I didn't know you had PCOS either!

Mary said...

Just visiting from the Meanest Mom blog...This is hilarious! Best of luck and I'm sure I'll keep reading--I love your blog!

whitney said...

wow. i mean, wow.

Kara said...

Goodness, I love my dietician but she is through my insurance but Shes wonderfull! Good luck! And use cash!

Karen said...

That meal plan is awesome! Do you think it would help me lost about 1-2 pounds per week too? It's so helpful and specifi.

metaphase said...

This scenario sounds awful! What person cares to share where they went to college, doctor or not? I'm glad you found someone good. And best of luck at the Meanest Mom! Go Ms. PCOS!

Jeanette said...

I wouldn't have paid. It may sound cheap, but I think that over the phone they offered you services that they couldn't provide. PCOS isn't NEW. Any dietician should be able to help you and not need you to educate them. PCOS stinks. Hope you get into your endo. soon.