Friday, June 30, 2006

Patience is a Virtue

What did Robb and I (and our lovely nurse case manager Linda) do this morning, you ask?

We spent FIVE HOURS hanging around Highland Hospital. Five hours. Count 'em. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. FIVE HOURS at the hospital, for a scheduled appointment.

We arrived at seven-fifteen for a seven-thirty CT scan, but nobody was in the radiology office. When someone finally did show up, nobody on staff could find the keys to let themselves into the office or open the waiting room door. This set a nice, tense mood for everyone.

It seems that we didn't actually have an appointment, rather we were penciled into the "overflow slot," in the emergency room. Robb got his scan after two hours of waiting. For the first time, I was excluded from the room, and when Robb emerged from his scan, they sent him off to a waiting room other than the one they sent me to. When the radiology staff summoned the next patient, they realized that I was still waiting for Robb, which set me on a roaming expedition through the hallways of Highland Hospital.

Eventually, we did find each other in the neurosurgery clinic, where it turns out we were not on their books as having an appointment.

This is not the first time we have scheduled and confirmed an appointment with this office, only to arrive and be told that they have no record of our appointment.

I should also note that none of the doctor's reports (either from neurosurgery or radiology) have been forwarded to our insurance company. Our nurse case manager has spent hours on the phone trying to resolve this, and she has "camped out" in the hospital's medical records office. The insurance company has decided that if she couldn't get records on this visit, they would get a lawyer involved, and subpoena Robb's medical records.

(This lack of records is the main reason that Robb was sent to the Second Opinion Doctor. The insurance company, not unreasonably, needs documentation.)

We were finally seen by Robb's surgeon, who told us that while the bone graft generally looks good, it isn't as far along in healing as he had hoped. So Robb will be wearing the brace for two more months, whenever he leaves the house.

The surgeon had hoped to show us the scans, but -- get this -- the computer network was down, and none of the radiology exams could be accessed. I can't imagine how the surgeons were going to manage for the rest of their day. Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurrence, either.

Robb and I then sat in the waiting room for another hour, to secure our next set of appointments, but eventually the neurosurgery staff told us that there was some kind of problem down in the scheduling office and that we would be hearing from them via telephone.

During this time, our nurse case manager was down in the medical records office, and it seems that Robb's case files have been declared officially lost.

How does the reader imagine that I handled all of this? With patience and grace? Unfortunately not. I turned into a horrible cranky-pants, and mis-directed my frustrations at Robb.

I'm not as patient or as virtuous as I could wish.

(Robb and I have had a good laugh about this, and my crabbiness is forgiven.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to chuckle....have been in similar situations myself and nothing makes me blow a gasket quicker. Ahhh....technology....wonderful when it works and nothing works when IT doesn't. That is the way to halt the world!!!!
Hang in there.....anger is cathartic, but so is laughter.
zoemomma

Anonymous said...

Has anyone mentioned a bone growth stimulator? This enhances the bone growth by irritating the crap out of the bone...but works (sometimes).

The general chaos of the whole system is frustrating. I wonder if it is all necessary and real.

Hang in there! Sit back and let t he professionals duke it out... that's what your lawyer is for!

Bandaid

Lisa and Robb said...

Funny...I saw a poster about this device today, and made a mental note to look into it.

Thanks for the reminder!

Lisa

Lock Wench said...

Those are the kinds of days that cause me to drink.............more.

Here's a little game I like to play with my kids when we have to wait in a public place for too long. You have to be very brave/insane but it can be quite amusing. We have loud pretend conversations for the benefit of eavesdroppers. Sometimes, utilizing the payphone..sometimes not. Examples:

Into the phone: "I don't care about the diocese's reputation! You ARE the father, Father Micheals...and you WILL take responsibility or I'm showing up at noon mass with your paternity test results!"

With my daughter "Well, when you picked it..did the yellow stuff come out first or did it just turn blue like that right away?"

You get the idea.

LW

shiloh said...

What do yo mean "lost his records" do they not have backup?

I think I would have caused such a scene that they would have "found his records" or made up some new ones just to shut me up. :)

Shiloh

Lisa and Robb said...

Truthfully, a scene *was* made, but not by me or Robb. It didn't go over very well, and the receptionist person threatened to call security and throw us all out of the hospital.

Astonishingly, Robb's records are all paper.

Computers? Backups? Never heard of these new-fangled notions!

Anonymous said...

I am constantly amazed at how backwards the medical profession is when it comes to computers. It drives me CRAZY every time I am at the doctors office. Where have these people BEEN for the last 20 years?!?!

Anonymous said...

We had this happen to us a few times when we wer taking care of my mom, dad, sister, etc. I got to the point where everytime I took people to the doctors office, I INSISTED on getting copies of EVERYTHING- the diagnosis, the treatment, the evaluations.

They thought I was nuts, but really it was their incompetetance that made me insane. This way I had copies of everything. I should have been paid to do all the crap I did, but it did help to keep all the papers together. Get yourself a box and designate it your medical file, and stick papers in some folders, and date them. It's all I had to do to keep up with stuff.

_ Annalisa

Anonymous said...

The hospital actually threatened to call security on you? ROCK ON!

Quite impressive. I usually only get that insane when I'm having my "special time" of the month. It's weird you don't get to call security on THEM for pissing you guys off, eh? Too bad you cant charge them for your aggravation!

- Annalisa

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