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Thursday, May 18, 2006

When Dealing With Medical "Professionals"... DON'T!

The story I'm about to convey is completely true, and also very scary! I mentioned on my blog recently about getting some minor surgery done and I'm going to relate to you some of the "hilarious" hijinks that ensued. The visit to the surgeon went well, we discussed the operation, he called in the plans to the hospital and we set the date right there on the spot, no problem! I was amazed at how quick and efficient he was and I thought to myself that this whole thing would be a breeze! How wrong I was!

Before I left the hospital complex though he wanted me to stop in at the admitting department and get pre-registered for the operation, including giving all the blood samples they would need pre-op and get all the paperwork out of the way. Should take no more than a few minutes he said, it would save me a trip all the way back, about an hours drive each way from home. I had several hours to burn before picking someone up at the airport that afternoon so I took him up on it.

No sooner do I get the paperwork all done which took about 10 minutes do they inform me that the phlebotomist (the person that draws your blood) is busy at the hospital proper and would be about a half an hour. The half hour ticked off and then it was another half hour, and then another, and then another! All told I was hanging out in the lobby for over 3 hours before the phlebotomist finally shows up all apologetic, explaining why she took so long, blah, blah, blah. By this time I'm fit to be tied.

She draws no less than 8 vials of my precious blood in a matter of a couple of minutes and then she drops the bomb on me, she needs a freaking URINE SAMPLE!! Unfortunately no one warned me about that tiny little detail and I had just been to the mens room no less than 5 minutes before she had finally showed up! After she spent another 5 minutes explaining to me that the world would indeed come to an end without a small sample of my prized urine I became extremely angered because I HAD to be at the airport in a matter of minutes and would not have time to "do the deed". A dreaded 2 hour round trip in heavy traffic to give her a little urine sample was now a part of my future plans in the coming week! ARRRGGGHHH!! I was so pissed by now that I stormed out of the lobby shouting curses at their stupidity and incompetence. I left knowing that I would have to make a long ass trip back, wasting a lot of time and gas just to take care of that stupid little detail.

I had also been informed by my doctors assistant that I would have to get a referral from my Primary Care Physician (PCP) to make sure the insurance paperwork would go thru and it would cost me a lot less out of pocket for the operation. I was new to this HMO and never had a PCP before because I had always been under the direct care of my liver doctors thru a totally different insurance plan. I had never seen the assigned PCP before and now it was too late before the scheduled operation to get in to see him so I called and asked about a courtesy referral because of the odd circumstances.

They said no problem and that they would FAX it over to my surgeons office right away. I thought, cool, that was easy enough! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! Now get this part, the PCP's office is in the very same building as my surgeons office, only ONE floor apart, barely spitting distance from each other, how's that for a coincidence? I was soon to find out that the distance may have been more like a billion miles away, because getting that FAX from the PCP's office to the surgeons office was going to turn into a virtual nightmare of repeated phone calls, answering machine messages, call backs, kept on hold for long periods of time with repeated hangups and lots of cursing and swearing and beating my freaking head against the wall.

How motha-fucking difficult can it be to get one measly little FAX to go less than 100 feet away, from one machine to another??? Very, very difficult apparently because it took no less than 5 working days plus a weekend and countless phone calls to both parties to coordinate their efforts to both send and receive that one stupid FAX!!

In the meantime I had to make the trip back out to the hospital to give them a sample of my precious bodily fluids, remember the ones that were going to cause the world to end if it wasn't received NOW? I had to make another trip out to the airport the following week and decided to swing by the hospital which, although out of the way was a lot better if I combined the trip. Smart huh? So I swing by the hospital, check in at the desk, explain my situation about the urine sample. Yes, they remembered me! How could they forget, LOL! They had me wait about a half an hour while they pulled the paperwork and called my name.

This time I had a different phlebotomist and she took me into a little room, looked over the files and said according to what she reads I don't have to give up the urine sample UNTIL THE DAY OF THE ACTUAL OPERATION! She showed me the paper, sure enough in plain English, as clear as can be, it said the sample was to be given on that day only, NOT in advance! The other girl didn't know what she was talking about!! WTF!!! I had now wasted another 2 hours of my time by trying to "save time" pre-registering for a simple one day motha-fucking surgery!! By now I was so pissed I was seeing red and got the hell out of there before I really lost it and did something stupid to get me arrested!

Keep in mind now that all along I have been dealing with medical "professionals". Give me a fucking break, you can get stuff done right the first time when it comes to getting your fucking car repaired, just don't put your life in the hands of so called "educated" folks!!

And this story is no where near over, now that we finally have the above BS all resolved we have the situation following the surgery. About 3 days post-op I'm at home recovering and I'm starting to realize that the quantity of pain killers the surgeon prescribed just ain't gonna get it. This shit hurts! I have a 5 inch horizontal incision that went completely thru a major muscle group in my upper abdomen and it's fucking killing me and the pleasure of the dainty ass percocets has long worn off because I'm now popping the damn things 3 and 4 at a time and I'm getting low on a Friday afternoon. I had to act fast because I knew there was no reaching anybody on the damn weekend!

So I call my doctors office and practically beg them to give me something different or stronger or whatever but they fucking refuse me! WTF??? Why do they do that shit, just let you fucking suffer when they can fucking well stop it. I guess they assume everybody is freaking Rush Limbaugh or someshit and will get hooked on the damn things, whatever! Finally they give in and call in to my drugstore at 5:30pm on a Friday evening a medication that supposedly reduces swelling that will help manage the pain. Not an actual painkiller but by now I was willing to try any damn thing that would help.

So I wait about an hour after they call it in and call the drugstore, WALGREENS in case you're wondering, to see if my miracle drug is ready to be picked up. Guess what? They have no record of my doctor's office calling and they have no prescription! WHAT?? You gotta be kidding me, why would my doc's office lie, surely they called it in, I had double verified the number with them! Nope, no such call!

I frantically tried to get back in touch with my surgeons office and no dice, they were GONE. For the entire weekend. No answering service, no fucking nothing! Damn, I was so pissed! It was gonna be a looooong weekend!

First thing Monday morning I called my surgeons office but couldn't get anyone that knew anything until that afternoon. When they finally called me back they assured me that they had indeed called in the prescription and that the number was correct! The office said they would call it in again, right then and now and I quickly followed it up with a call of my own to the same Walgreens to find out when the script would be ready. Guess what? They still had no record of my doctors office calling!! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! I was ready to go berzerkers now, how the fuck could they lose my prescription?? They kept denying that they received my prescription call!!

I asked to speak with the pharmacy manager and told her what was up, accused them of BS'ing me, incompetence, and everything else I could think of while remaining polite as possible without cursing them to hell and back for putting me thru this freakish nightmare. Just as I was about to call my surgeons office back to announce that the prescription was "lost" again and have them call a different drugstore, Walgreens calls me back... full of apologies... and excuses... begging my forgiveness because they had fucked up.

Some how, one of the pharmacy assistants ("professionals" mind you) had indeed taken in my precription, on FRIDAY no less and "accidentally" put it in the system under another persons name. Not once, but TWICE, when the prescription was called in again on the following Monday afternoon. The name that it went under didn't even sound remotely like my own last name or even start with the same freaking letter!!!!

3 nights and 2 and a half days I went without my medication that could have helped relieve a lot of pain over that weekend because the so called "professional" help couldn't fucking read???! Suppose it had been a drug that I couldn't live without?? I would have landed my happy ass at the freaking emergency room by Saturday morning with a huge bill and a major inconvenience because of this simple little mistake!

All I can say is why me??? WHY ME!!! If you find yourself dealing with medical "professionals" just kill yourself now, believe me, it can save you a lot of fucking trouble and misery!!