About a month ago, the oncologist at the Cancer Clinic decided to have me schedule an appointment with a specialist in Dubois to have something that's been showing up for almost two years now on every PET scan I've had.
And so, I made the appointment. Keep in mind here that an appointment with a specialist runs me $45 per appointment compared to $5 for my primary care physician, so for openers, for economic reasons, I try to stay clear if at all possible, of specialists, with the exception of the oncologist at the Cancer Clinic and a rare circumstance that might call for a trip to Pittsburgh to check in with the surgeon I see there every once in a blue moon.
Dubois just happens to be about 44 miles due west of where I live, so that means and extra 88 miles of travel just to see this doctor. That means almost an hour each way for the trip, so right off the top, I'm loosing two hours of potential time to work my lovely Avon sales route. Add to that, since it was my first visit to this specialist, I was to arrive a half-hour before my scheduled appointment to fill out several items of paperwork for myself for the doctor's files and after that, a wait of almost an hour before actually getting called into the examining room and seen by the doctor and now I've lost three hours of my time.
The initial result of that visit was that this doctor wanted me to have more tests by way of blood work. The only hitch to that was that I had to get a prescription filled for one pill -don't ask me the name of this medication because I don't know the name of it but that meant a wait at Walmart to get the prescription filled and $4.00 for the one pill that was to be taken at 11 p.m. that night and then, the next morning, I was to report to the lab at Clearfield Hospital to have the blood work done.
Add on here another hour of my time lost the next morning to get the lab work done. (Surprisingly enough, my time at the hospital that day was very fast and I was in and out in about 20 minutes, as opposed to the "normal" wait time at that place which could be a half-hour to an hour spent waiting to have the blood work drawn.)
For me, as those of you who know me will note, was the fact I had to be at the hospital by 8 a.m. to have the test done. I am NOT a morning person! Not by any wild stretch of the imagination as I tend to regard any hour of awakening prior to 10 a.m. as being cruel and unusual punishment. That, plus the fact I have no alarm clock to use to try to wake me up for early appointments such as this one so it was on a wing and a prayer that I went to bed the night before that test before 2 a.m.(which is considered an early bedtime in my book) and hoping that I would wake up in time to make it to the hospital by 8 a.m.
Lucky for me, apparently my inner system was in sync with my need to awaken at this horrendously early hour and to get out the door and over to Clearfield in semi-timely fashion. (I confess -I was about 10 minutes late arriving but I consider that as being close enough, there fore, on time!)
The doctor requesting this blood test had asked me to schedule another appointment for a follow-up, which I did and that appointment was for last Thursday, May 28th. He had also told me he would contact me if he detected anything not quite kosher with the blood test prior to the appointment but since I didn't hear anything from him, I assumed then this was just a follow up.
However, about a week before the scheduled appointment, I had to get one of my regular prescriptions refilled and when I went to the counter at Walmart, I was informed they had two prescriptions there for me. One was the one I had requested and the other one, I didn't recognize or know anything about at all until the customer service rep there told me it was a script that had been faxed in from the specialist in Dubois. I was a bit confused by this "new" script but then with the instructions the Walmart rep told me that accompanied this prescription I then recognized it as being the prescription I had picked up about two weeks earlier -for the one pill -except this script was for 9 capsules and specific number of days it was to be taken, etc. Since I knew nothing about this script, I assumed this was a duplication of some sort and told her that prescription was now null and void and cancelled acceptance of it.
When I got home that afternoon, I saw I'd had a couple of phone calls -showing on my caller id -but two of them showed no identification of the caller nor any phone number so I assumed they were spam or scam calls. I didn't check my voice mail for any messages at that time as that type of caller never leaves a voice mail but a couple hours later, when I did check my voice mail, there was a call there from the nurse at the specialist's office telling me they had faxed this prescription in for me and that I was to follow the instructions on the prescription order, take the pills as specified and after taking the 9th pill -to be taken at 6 a.m. -I was to report to Clearfield Hospital once again for more blood work.
Wonderful! Had I known about this transaction earlier, I could have picked up the pills when I was over at Walmart. Now -I'd cancelled that prescription plus, to contact the doctor's office and reschedule the script to be faxed and take the pills in the manner prescribed in order to have this new test done, which was to be done prior to my appointment on the 28th of May, created a lot of time issues which I couldn't observe so when the office called me to confirm my appointment or to cancel it, I cancelled it!
Then, the day after my scheduled appointment was to have been, I received a paper with the ordr for the blood work to be performed at Clearfield and on it were listed the times I was to take one of these pills that I had cancelled the prescription for. Seems I was to take these pills over a 2 full day period with the 9th pill to be taken at 6 a.m. and then, I was to show up at the hospital at 8 a.m. for the new blood work. Hmmm. Apparently timing isn't of the essence in that office's sending out that paper I would have needed to get the blood work done, for openers plus the factor that the times I was to take those pills was set up to begin on the first day to take them at 6:00 a.m., noon, 6:00 p.m. and midnight and repeat that the next day ending with the 9th pill to be taken on day 3 at 6 a.m.
Needless to say, I was not the least bit impressed by these directions! Three days in a row they were screwing with my sleep patterns!
Then, the day after I should have gone for that second office visit, I received a call from the nurse or office manager, stating I had missed my appointment and please call to reschedule it and about five minutes later, I got a call from the doctor himself, asking me to contact him about the test results from the initial test I'd had done too. These two calls came into me shortly before noon on Friday and I called the office to reschedule and try to reach the doctor only to get a message that the office was now closed for the day as they had hours only till noon on Fridays.
Another episode of my muttering "Wonnerful, wonnerful!"
So today, Monday, bright and early -for me -about 10:30 a.m., I called the office to reschedule the appointment and see if the doctor would be able to talk to me then about whatever it was he wanted to tell me. The lady in the office said she would tell him to contact me but also stated they were very busy and running at least 90 minutes behind schedule then so for him to return my call, it would be much later in the day.
I explained to her that I have some issues with the telephone though -one being sometimes, the line cracks and appears to be disconnecting but doesn't and other times, it does. That plus I have a lot of difficulty hearing conversations on the telephone and the fact that this doctor is from India and has a relatively thick accent -which I could sort of figure out in person but I worried that on the phone, I wouldn't have clue one as to what he would be telling me. So I asked if it would be at all possible for him to just e-mail me the information he wanted to share with me since I have no problems reading stuff at all but she said, due to privacy concerns, he couldn't do that.
Hmmmm.Meanwhile, I'm thinking the privacy issues they were concerned with would be irrelevant because I wouldn't have a clue as to what he would be saying so most likely a potential phone call would have really great privacy then, wouldn't it?
And so, I waited this afternoon then for the phone to ring and just like the old adage of "A watched pot never boils" came true, I had lost the entire afternoon when I could have delivered at least one Avon order, possibly two, and I could also have walked my poor dog sometime then too -if they had tried to give me a time approximate when he or the nurse would be returning my call that was supposed to be -apparently -an important message he had for me.
But now, since it is almost 8 p.m. and I've yet to hear anything back from them, I guess it is at least safe now for me to leave the house, walk the dog and go check my mail box too then to see if maybe they sent me something that I needed on Friday or today in the mail!
Don't you just love episodes like this?
I'm becoming less and less enthralled with this doctor, his staff and the new medical system in place around several hospitals in about an 80 mile radius of where I live. Very uncoordinated and also, very unprofessional as well!