Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can Anything Else Go Wrong?

Saturday, Day 1, I suffered some intense pain just below my sternum that lasted about 2 hours.

Monday, Day 3, I scheduled an appointment with my nurse practitioner. That night I suffered similar intense pain that lasted four hours.

Thursday, Day 6, following a CAT scan and ultra-sound, ordered by my nurse practitioner, the surgeon confirmed that I had gallstones and advised removal of the gallbladder as the best remedy. He explained the process, complete with reaction to potential complications, should they occur. The surgeon assured me that I would get a call from his scheduler within two days to set things up.

Tuesday, Day 11 at 2:00 AM, I suffered a third attack that lasted for six hours. Two business days had passed without contact from the surgeon’s scheduler. I called the surgeon’s office at 9:30 AM and was put into the voice mail of the scheduler, where I left a message.

I had not received a return call by 2:30 PM so I called again. This time I was put on hold until someone picked up the line but was laughing, as if carrying on a conversation with someone else. I was disconnected. I called back and was re-connected. Surgery was scheduled for Thursday, Day 13. A hospital nurse called at 4:00 PM to do a pre-registration by phone and schedule blood work for Wednesday, Day 12.

Wednesday, Day12, the lobby receptionist directed me to phlebotomy on the second floor for the blood draw. Phlebotomy redirected me to radiology on the first floor to check in for my blood draw. After check-in for a blood draw at radiology, I was back up to the second floor for the blood draw. A prostate exam at neuro-therapy, on the third floor, was not required prior to the blood draw. Just the same, I felt a little violated.

Thursday, Day 13, my wife and I were 35 minutes into our 40 minute trip to the hospital and 20 minutes away from my appointed time for preparations for surgery. Someone from the hospital called and asked if I was on my way yet.

“Why no, actually, but I was about to step into the transporter so that Scotty could beam me over.”

I was thinking that this was a pretty stupid question because these people knew by my address that was in their screen next to my phone number, that we had to drive almost all the way across the county to get to the hospital.

“I’m very sorry but we have to cancel your surgery because the doctor has had two emergencies come up that he has to respond to.”

On one hand, I was irritated but, at the same time, if I were the emergency I would appreciate priority over those who are not, at the present time, doubled over in extreme pain. However, if I have another attack, I’m not likely to wait for it to go on eight hours or more this time. I’ll head for the hospital and make an appointment via the trauma center. I’ll be the surgery bumper instead of the surgery bumpee.

I find it interesting that if I don't keep an appointment with a doctor then I am charged anyway regardless of the situation. I guess that door only swings in favor of profit for the medical industry.

It actually happened to me once. I had no excuse and didn't try to make one up. I simply forgot about an appointment with my cardiologist. Withing a few weeks I was billed for it. Try to turn that one into your insurance company!

I hope that the sequence of negative circumstances have run their course. The way things are going I have good reason to worry about the surgery. My imagination gets away from me sometimes. I am seeing a future image of a phone call from the hospital two days after my gallbladder is removed.

“We’re really very sorry to bother you, sir, but would you mind coming back to the hospital? The doctor can’t find his flashlight and penknife. However, he distinctly remembers setting them down under your liver.”

“Then with gravity being what it is they ought to be coming out of my butt anytime now. How about this time, we should do it the old fashioned way? The doctor is going to need to make a house call.”


  1. marlin,
    that's a crappy week!
    sorry you've been in pain.
    get better soon,
    my best,

    1. Thanks Sue!
      It's not all that big of a deal. You know me though. I'll take the crap and try to spin into a laugh.
      It's always good to see a comment from you!