As a Jewish Mother, let’s just say I fit the stereotype of overprotective quite nicely.   Though I know there are some things that are better left unsaid, the frustrated lawyer in me sometimes gets pretty indignant about things when I feel life has dealt my kids something they didn’t deserve. I do a fairly good job of keeping myself in check so they can learn the lessons that are available for them when things don’t go as planned . . . . . but what happened to my oldest son the other day has really got me steamed up. With his permission, I’ll share this little rant.

He has had some serious bad bike karma.  Two times now his bike has been stolen.  The first time happened while he was in college.  The second time, he loaned his bike to his roommate who went out and “forgot” to lock it up in Washington, DC.

Apparently, bike thievery is rampant there and you’re asking for it if you don’t lock your bike up in at least two places.  After collecting the money from his roommate, my son proudly purchased a new bike complete with two bike locks from Revolution Cycles in Washington, DC.   His bike is his primary mode of transportation and he made his selection carefully, being especially mindful about bike security – hence the kryptonite lock plus the cable lock recommended by the store.

Three days later, while out to dinner with his friends, he comes out of the restaurant to find his wheels and seat which were locked up with the cable lock missing. Immediately he contacted the store and shortly thereafter took everything in.

The store was completely unsympathetic, wouldn’t stand behind the cable lock that they sold him and the cost to replace the wheels and seat were almost as much as a brand new bike. When I heard this story, I went bezerk.  How could they not be sympathetic to his situation?  The bike was three days old.

The fact that this store sold him the cable lock expressly to protect his wheels and seat, and still were  unwilling to stand behind its product- which is the reason he bought it in the first place – was appalling.

My son is self sufficient financially and did everything he could to protect his property, and some idiot decided he needed his wheels and seat for reasons I’ll never understand

He said it’s a bought lesson – his next bike will be a cheap used one. I guess, given his bike history, that makes sense.

Though I agree with his conclusion, I have a big problem with Revolution Cycles and the way they handled this situation. They are out of integrity when they didn’t offer some reasonable ways to handle this unfortunate situation.  Had they offered him a discount, a refund on the lock, some used parts, or some other accommodations given the way this happened – I’d feel differently.  Their unsympathetic uncaring attitude is deplorable.

There are bigger problems in the world than a stolen bike I realize.

And since my passion is helping you make informed choices about your healthcare, I would like you to consider your relationship with your provider, and a health situation that you’re in the process of addressing. Like the bike shop I mentioned, your healthcare provider is advising you on what you need to do to take care of yourself.  I want to be sure that your needs are being met – and that you’re not being offered solutions that won’t work, much like this cable lock that turned out to be worthless.

Perhaps you’re frustrated that your provider doesn’t fully understand your situation as you’d like her to.  Maybe you’ve used my Appointment Preparation Worksheet, been as clear as you know how to be about what’s going on with you and your provider still isn’t getting it despite numerous office visits.

Just like my son who used two locks on his bike to keep it secure, you’ve done all you can to be sure your healthcare provider understands what your needs are.  Maybe you keep shelling out money and time – and you’re getting nowhere.

Or perhaps your frustration is with some of the staff who aren’t getting your messages straight, not returning phone calls or not getting your prescriptions correct.

If you’re frustrated, I get it. I’ve lived my own version of all these scenarios and I know how exasperating it can be to be doing everything possible to be pro-active about my health and still not get the attention I need costing me time, heartache and unnecessary expenses.

But, here’s where it gets interesting.

Instead of deciding that that’s just the way it is, here are a couple options:

  • Speak up: Tell your healthcare provider exactly what isn’t working for you and what you want in one sentence.  Ask them if they can help you with it?  Clarify that you understand their answer and then make a plan together complete with follow up instructions.
  • Send a Letter:  If it’s a staffing issue, send a letter factually describing the problem to the provider and suggest that they read your letter in a staff meeting.   If you want a response to your problem, let them know that.  If you just want to make them aware of it as the situation has been resolved already, you can let them know that as well.  If your healthcare provider doesn’t know how their staff is interacting with their patients they can’t correct any future problems.
  • Find Another Provider: This one is often easier said than done especially in these days where primary care providers are harder to find.   If you’ve been with your provider for a while, it’s important to weigh whether the benefits truly outweigh the burdens and whether it makes more sense to speak up or send a letter.
  • File a Complaint: This is a legitimate option where the provider’s conduct has been unconscionable and not one to undertake lightly at all.  At the same time, there’s a reason we have licensing boards, ethics boards and similar administrative agencies:  they are there so that all patients are protected from behavior that is unprofessional.  If you choose to use this option, I strongly encourage you to let your provider know that that is what you are doing and give them a chance to resolve the situation first.

I felt sad when my son decided it was time to get a cheap used bike as he couldn’t afford to keep the bike of his choice safe in the streets of DC. I want him to be able to have a nice bike and enjoy it – and this is out of my control.  He has to make the choices that are right for him and no amount of Jewish mothering will insure that his bike won’t be stolen again in the future.  I think he’s smart to cut his losses and get a cheap bike actually – though I hate to admit it.

I also feel sad whenever I hear of patient’s whose healthcare needs aren’t being met.

I do believe that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” (pardon the terrible pun) and if you aren’t getting your healthcare needs met in a way that works for you, you owe it to yourself to go back to the drawing board.  Look at your options. See if you can address the situation with your healthcare provider first.  Or, if you’d rather be done with that particular provider, figure out exactly what was missing in that relationship, get referrals from people you trust, and interview new providers before allowing them to treat you.

Are your healthcare needs being met in a way that’s working for you? If so, that makes me happy.  If not, you’re welcome to contact me privately or leave a comment and we can brainstorm on how to get your healthcare needs met in a way that’s a match for your needs.

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