Allergies, Being Disabled, Chronic Illness and Mast Cells, disability

Please Stop Wearing Fragrances to the Doctor

I am currently sitting at my doctor’s office in a patient room trying to calm my nerves after this morning’s fiasco with the front office staff and a patient’s perfume. To make it worse their office is under construction. So in other words, Chemical City. I’ve already popped 50 mg of Benadryl and my cheeks are swelling and I’m flushing with a rash and throat burning. I will never get used to this. I wish that people could understand. I hate asking for accomodations to be made. Eight out of ten times it makes people mad and they are rude like today. It’s insanely stressful on top of dealing with my allergic reactions and asthma. I hate it, and I wish I could heal my body by sheer will, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. For over 20 years I have prayed almost every night and asked God to heal my body as well as my loved ones who are sick if it be his will. I’ve followed my doctors’ recommendations. I’ve made extreme lifestyle changes and continue to tweak and make more changes. I am constantly trying to figure out changes I can make or things to assist me in living some semblance of a normal life. I don’t want to be sick. Especially with a condition that makes it very difficult to leave my home. And it just keeps getting worse. Doctors offices where I live are adding more and more fragrance products in the offices and bathrooms. While every other disability is accommodated for at businesses and public places, my disability is discriminated against and no one bats an eye.

My morning at the doctor’s office.

So here is what happened; just another typical day in paradise at my doctor’s office. I get out of my vehicle, walk through the parking lot holding my breath because a ups truck is right by the door unloading with their truck running. As I open the door to my doctor’s office, I am slammed with perfume. Extremely strong perfume. I use the word slammed here because that is what it feels like when I have an instant reaction. I am flushing and I can actually feel the swelling. Hurriedly, i walk to the front desk trying to breath as little as possible and sign in. It feels like the receptionist is taking forever to process my copay. While she is doing that I explain that I am severely allergic to perfume and ask if i can wait in another waiting area or a patient room because I can’t sit in the front waiting room because of the perfume. “No, sorry. There’s no where else we can put you” states the receptionist. “Then i will have to wait in my car,” I state. “Do you want me to write my cell phone number on a paper so they can call me when they are ready for me?” “No I’ve got it right here on the computer. I’ll call you when they are ready to take you back.” the receptionist states. “Ok, thank you!” I say and turn around to walk out the door. As I am going through the door I hear the receptionist yell, “Come back in 15 minutes.” I just keep walking and pretending like I didn’t just hear that. No way am I coming back and waiting on them to call me back and increasing my exposure even more. So get in my vehicle, pull a water out of my cooler and pop 50 mg of Benadryl. I’m feeling sick to my stomach, dizzy, the swelling in my face and neck is getting worse and I am starting to get hoarse. My arms, face and chest are rashed blood red and burning. It’s hot to the touch. My body feels like it is on fire. I turn the air conditioning on full blast despite the cold weather. Taking slow deep breaths i try to relax. Fifteen minutes go by, no phone call. “Great”, I think. I can’t go back in there if they’re not ready. I’m reacting and will be sick for 3 days or more just from this brief exposure in the length of time it took me to scribble my name checking in and hand over my debit card. * Sigh * Why do things have to be this way? I think to myself. I bet shes not going to call. Twenty minutes have now went by. I look down at phone. Ny ringer is on. At 25 minutes my phone rings and I pick up on the first ring. “Hello” I answer. The receptionist doesn’t say a word, then she slams the phone down in my ear taking several times to hang the phone up on the receiver. False alarm? I wonder. No, my gut tells me that was my cue. Dreading dealing with the receptionist, I get out of my vehicle and walk into office. I am greeted by, “They’ve already called you back once.” yells the receptionist across the room as i walk through the door. “It will be about 5 -10 minutes,” says receptionist. Sure enough, no one is there to take me back. The perfume factory patient is still in the waiting room. I walk to the front desk and say, “Can I just walk back, I’ll stand in the hallway till they are ready. Or I can go back outside and they can call me,” I ask. WHAM! The receptionist slams both of her hands down on the desk in front of her and then she shoves her rolling chair back, and huffs and starts to get up. “I’m not trying to be a problem, but you are not understanding me. I have severe allergies and I cannot wait 5 minutes in here, I can’t even wait one minute. What about the lab waiting room?” She stomps off without answering my questions. I step back outside because I am now worse from how many ever minutes/seconds I’ve been back in the office. I feel like crying. I HATE this!! Why must I go through this?? Why can people not just be kind and listen. These are not unreasonable accommodations. I’ve been a patient here since 2006. They know about my severe allergies and angioedema, not to mention my asthma. This is intolerable. Absolutely intolerable!!! If I didn’t need medication refills I’d just leave. But I can’t. I have to have this follow up appointment. I stand outside right outside the door. Actually outside in the cold and try to look through the window to see if anyone comes to call me back. Ughhh, I can’t see through the window because there is mirrored film. I wait another minute or two and pop back in. Receptionist is back at her desk. She will not even look up at me. I try to ask again, she ignores me. Ok, now I’m just getting mad. I cannot believe I am being treated this way. Going back and forth in the cold trying to watch for them calling me back. I AM NOT doing this again. Am not. I’ve been more than patient and pleasant with this situation despite the hostility and rudeness that is being dished out by the receptionist.


I reported the behavior of the receptionist to the nurse and the physician assistant. The nurse was extremely nice and accomodating. The PA cut me off like he didn’t want to hear it. I expected an apology, but I didn’t get one.

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