Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Scaling the Mountain

One Step Up, Two Steps Down, One Step Up.
I’m climbing my mountain – but it’s a very slippery climb!
One step up:  I received the referral authorization notice for the oncologist office visit in the mail on Friday.  Of course, by the time I checked the mail after I got home from work, it was too late to call to make appointments, so I had to wait until Monday.
One step down:  Called the Oncology center on Monday and received a circular voice mail message:  “thank you for calling our office; press 2 for appointments” and when I pressed 2, I heard the same message: “thank you for calling; press 2 for appointments” and so on and so forth, until I hung up!
Another step down:  Called the clinic on Monday to inquire about the X-ray referral – per staff person at Referrals Desk, no request for referral received from doctor for the X-ray!  And doctor is not in the office.  But staff will pull my file, check, leave a note for doctor on Tuesday.
One step up:  Called the clinic on Tuesday (today) to inquire about the X-ray referral again – Dr. is reviewing the file!
Another step up:  Called the oncology center – was given another number to call the dr’s office directly – called and I have an appointment to see him!  Woo hoo!
One more step up:  Clinic calls back at 1:00 p.m. – Doctor has submitted the referral, it’s been processed and authorized!  I can come and pick up the referral and take it to radiology – they’ll do X-ray on a walk-in basis; no appointment needed!  I hurry over to the clinic, pick up my referral, drive to the Radiology clinic.
Another step down:  Radiology needs a work order number!  Can’t do anything with only the referral, without the work order number!  I give a big sigh, say how the doctor didn’t write the referral until I called twice, and mention the surgeon wanted reports by September 30 (tomorrow) morning.
A step up:  The Receptionist takes pity on me and calls the clinic, twice (she got transferred the first time and received the voice mail for the Referrals desk).  Apparently, the clinic faxed the work order number, but to the main hospital, not the radiology center.  Same thing happened when I was scheduled for my mammogram, too!  That time, I called the Radiology office, got their own fax number, and gave it to the clinic.  But, apparently, the clinic didn’t update their records.  Or they thought it was a one-time deal.  Anyway, Kind Receptionist went on-line and accessed the hospital records and retrieved the work order number!  And, she partially validated my parking ticket, too!   
A big step up:  I had my chest X-ray!  This afternoon! 
Another step down:  I decided to go up to the surgeon’s office (same building; different floors) to tell them I did the X-ray; they checked their files – they haven’t received the blood work results/EKG results from my doctor’s office!
A step up?  I called the doctor’s office and spoke to the nurse and gave her the surgeon’s office fax number.  She said she will pull my file and check.   
When I got home, there was a message from the surgeon's office, left at 11:00 a.m., asking me to call them back.  But they didn't say anything about that phone call when I went to the surgeon's office in the afternoon.  So, I don't know what that was all about.
I shall call the surgeon’s office, tomorrow morning, in response to their call and to ask if anything was faxed over to them.  If not, according to the surgeon’s office, I might have to redo some of the blood work (results only valid for 7 days, I was told).    I’ll probably need to call the clinic, too. 
My patience is being tested.  Each day, I pray for that day’s portion of grace, to enable me to handle each day’s situations with equanimity, pleasantly, and constructively.  But, I must admit that, yesterday, when I found out that the X-ray referral hadn’t been put through and I couldn’t get through to the oncology office, I came very close to losing my patience!    
According to my calculations, in spite of all the ups and downs, I am still a step or two higher up on the mountain than I was, yesterday (X-ray was done and oncology appointment made).   But, my goodness, it's hard work, climbing this mountain and I'm still at the very beginning, getting my mountain climbing permit and equipment stage!!  Seems like those who could make the climb a little easier aren't helping as much as they could.  :(


  1. You're doing so well in spite of the unnecessary hurdles. Can you imagine how far back in the process you would be if you weren't as proactive as you are?

    it makes me sad to think of the elderly who have to wade thru all the paperwork and commutes to various medical facilities.

    But I'm glad its moving forward for you ,... Allbeit slowly. (((Hugs)))

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Appreciate the hugs and the cheering. I remember when I had to be my mother's advocate - different insurance, clinic, HMO, etc., but still, the same problems! They moved her from the hospital (where she had been in ICU 24 hours prior) to a convalescent home without informing me! I visited her in the hospital in the afternoon and she had been moved to a room after coming out from ICU; went to see her later in the evening and she was not there! That was such a shock!

  2. Sorry you are having some trouble getting up the mountain. But at least you got a few steps in!

    1. Thanks, Jess; definitely making progress! :)

  3. BLess your heart.. How sad, you are having to back track everyone.. but happy that the nice receptionist helped you. Every step up the mountain ...is a little higher up.
    I am praying for you.. May all these test/doctor appointments get settled. and you get your surgery done and praying for your recovery. HUGS.

    1. Thanks Judy. I made more progress today! I'm off to post about it. :)

  4. Welcome to our new, improved healthcare. I fear it's only going to get worse.

    1. It's very aggravating, but, unfortunately, it is what it is and we have to deal with it. At least we have healthcare and most of it is quality healthcare. But I agree it could be so much better.


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