Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Before I start my little rant, I wanted to mention that yesterday was my sister's birthday. She would have been 49. It will be four years next month that she's been gone. I exchanged a couple of emails with a family friend who mentioned that Kris's passing fell on the same date their dad died. February 22nd. I remember because I was 15, and the friends in that family were around the same age. For some reason, I didn't know or didn't realize the events were on the same date. Anyway, she is dearly missed, and would be so proud of her boys (now just about men).

On to my rant.

I had some medical stuff to attend to a few months ago. Nothing serious, but needed a follow up appointment six months down the road, and that happened last week. The results of that have me making another appointment, but then I should be all done but for a few follow ups.

I get home from work last Friday and, as I usually do, put my work bag down, and am ready to get the dog and go immediately to the dog park. There's a message on my machine, which I press the button to listen to. It's the nurse with the results of the follow-up appointment. She says something like, "I just tried your cell, and can't get you with this number. I don't want to leave a message, but it's not bad, at all. I'll be here for another 15 minutes, or you can call Monday."


So I look at my cell phone, which was silenced in my purse, and she had called about five minutes prior. I just missed both calls. It's about 4:15. I call the office and.... "Our hours are 8-4 on Fridays". She was probably there, but I couldn't reach her.

I'm getting peeved just writing this again. Everything was fine, and in retrospect, because her news was so not-shocking, she must not have seen what she did as any big deal. I, on the other hand, was pushed into that panicky state where clear judgement was not close at hand. I talked myself down off that ledge, and had a pretty normal weekend, although I kept remembering that I didn't know what the results were.

I know I've stated that medical people can leave messages at either of those numbers, I just don't remember if it was that doctor. But I have trouble comprehending how the nursing staff can be so out of touch as to leave people hanging over the weekend. Don't call me after hours! Just call me Monday.

Anyway, I call yesterday, and a different nurse calls me back. She tells me what the doctor wanted to do, which does not make sense to me, and I had the logical question of "why would she want to do that?" She is unable to answer, so I press her a little and ask her to get back to me with the answers. She says I need to make an appointment, and had the appointment people NOT let me make that appointment, I would have not known everything I needed to know. The appointment person said, "No, the nurse has to make that kind of appointment for you". So I call back again, leave a message, and then she calls me back, again, and tells me what's actually going to happen, which is kind of what I was expecting, and fine and all that.

She does tell me a bit about the post-procedure stuff I'll need to do, but does not offer anything on the other end, so I ask: "Is there anything I need to do to prepare?" And she, I wish I was able to record the conversation, says, "No." And then she says something like, "Oh, besides taking Ibuprofen before hand" as though I'd somehow know to do this. I ask, "How much?" and she tells me.

So many things about this process are not as they should have been handled. The doctor is not some yokel in some tiny outpost. This is a large established practice, and I can't believe the person was following their protocol on informing patients and following up with results. I'm going to write an actual letter, I believe, now that I've gotten some of what happened out in this post.

It does point out, though, how complex the exchange of information is. But not so complex that they couldn't get it right the first time here. I'm thankful I don't have anything serious, or else I'd be scared that I wasn't getting all the correct information.

1 comment:

  1. That is frustrating. I once had a message like that on a Friday and it drove me nuts! Turns out I had the message on my phone set so it didn't say my name, so my nurse wasn't 100% sure she could leave a message there. Everything was fine, but ugh. Too bad that your story doesn't end with the Friday afternoon message. Sounds like a letter is in order to help alert them of some of their communication deficiencies!


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.