Monday, February 25, 2013

The jester won't stop laughing.....

We looked at each other, and burst out laughing. What else could we do?

If you haven't followed this blog before, you might want to catch up before returning here for the fun: that you have the picture: Today was the follow up visit, two weeks having passed since we were sent away--again--from a doctor's office for lack of medical records that they all have within the tips of their fingers, but seem too disorganized to make the effort to obtain.


Scene 1: Patient is ushered into the examining room by a nurse.

She turns and, perplexed, says "So, you are here for a two week follow up, is that right?" She flips through patient's file.

Patient: "Well, we were here two weeks ago and had to come back today because the doctor didn't have my records from my hospital stay in November. He said he needed that before he could decide for sure about [THE PROCEDURE]."

Nurse: "Oh." She keeps flipping pages in the file. "Well, I don't see those records here. Are you sure it wasn't the [NAME OF ANOTHER PROCEDURE] that he needed? I see that one here!"

Patient: "No, it was the records from the hospital he needed."

Nurse: "Oh. Well, I'll just call over there right now, since they're in the same practice we are, and have them faxed over! It should only take a few minutes!" Happy nurse. Irritated patient and friend.

Time passes.

Scene 2: Nurse skips back in. "OK! I called and 'Denise' is going to fax them right over! It should only be about 10 minutes! I'll be back." 

Patient: "Why didn't they ask them to do that two weeks ago when I was here?"

Nurse: "Well, we thought we only needed the results for the [NAME OF ANOTHER PROCEDURE], and they did send that!"  Did she not realize that she didn't answer the question at all? Or is that the ploy?

Twenty minutes pass. The doctor opens the door wide enough for his head, and says, "It should only be a few more minutes!" Gone again.

The examining room gets colder. The hallway outside the closed door is quiet now. Did they all go home?

Ten more minutes pass. Rustling noises outside the door, which means.....something. 

Scene 3: Doctor enters. "The forms just got here!" He stands and silently skims each piece of paper, gets to the end and does it again. Not a good sign. "When was your last [NAME OF YET ANOTHER PROCEDURE]?"

Patient makes his best estimate. Friend is thinking, "Isn't that what the file is for?" Friend can feel her own blood pressure rise, which only reinforces her general attitude about staying away from doctors at all costs.

Doctor: "I'll need to do another one of those [NAME OF ANOTHER PROCEDURE] before I can make this decision. How about tomorrow?" Is he kidding?! It appears not.

Patient, trying to be agreeable instead of violent, a state the friend is quickly reaching: "Fine. Can I come by after I get off work, around 1:30?"

Doctor: "Sure. Just come by and we can do it then. I should have the results in plenty of time that way, and we can schedule the procedure for Thursday." Spends 3-4 minutes entering the information into his phone. Hands the patient his check-out form and ushers us out.

Scene 3: Patient and friend go to the front desk to turn in form (this would be the BILLING and scheduling form.) How many bills WILL Medicare get for this situation, I wonder?

Receptionist: "Who is your primary doctor?" Oh, you mean the one that referred the patient here, the same one your office had to contact for records--twice--and the one that is supposedly in the same practice?? The one whose name you asked the patient for twice already, just since he's been here today, not to mention the two times (at least) you asked at the previous visit? Is this information never retained ANYWHERE?? 

Patient sighs. Patient answers. Again. 

Receptionist:  "Can you be here tomorrow morning at 8 AM for the [THE MISSING PROCEDURE]?" She smiles sweetly.

Patient: "No, the doctor said I could stop by after 1:30 tomorrow, since I have to work!"

Receptionist laughs at that answer. "Who told you that? The doctor?! We don't do it that way!" She's getting a real chuckle out of us right now.

Patient: "Yes, he said to stop in, but go ahead and schedule it for 8AM and I'll be here!" Friend walks away in order to prevent "an eruption of violence in a doctor's office," probably some kind of felony.

Receptionist: "OK. Then the [REAL PROCEDURE] will be done on Wednesday."

Patient: "But the doctor said it would be Thursday, so he could get the results back from the OTHER procedure in time...."

Receptionist: "No, he has Wednesday's date here."

Patient: "He definitely said Thursday."

Receptionist: "Well, have a seat in the lobby. He's in with another patient, and I'll ask him when he comes out."  Patient sits--again--while friend leaves to work out at the gym or die from frustration, thus putting herself in the "care" of these people. She would rather keel over from over-exertion on the treadmill or some other instrument of torture.

Scene 4:  Friend is driving away when her cell phone rings. Patient says it's all set for 8AM tomorrow, with the [REAL PROCEDURE] scheduled for Thursday. Receptionist apparently seemed surprised that the patient was right after all!

Patient and friend hang up, since they are both driving, being good citizens and all.

Friend's cell phone rings again. Patient is laughing so hard he can hardly talk, "You won't believe it!" They just called me and asked if I could come tomorrow at 3:30 for the [MISSING PROCEDURE] after all!"


“Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.”
Haruki Murakami

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