Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two weeks ago, I scheduled a urine culture for myself at a local lab. I did it because I was due for one, & my urologist's staff  rarely  tells me what to do next,  or when. Most doctors send you home with your next appointment in hand, some kind of instructions.  I had to call the doctor's office & have them fax an authorization, which they did.

As a little experiment, I filled out a request to have a second copy of the test results sent to my primary doctor. Four working days later, I received a call from my primary doctor's office suggesting I come in for consultation on the results (I have a resistant bladder infection). I called back &, to my  astonishment, the doctor herself answered the phone, rendering me momentarily speechless. Although she sounded like she would have wanted to handle it herself, it was the specialist's concern. I waited a day & called the specialist. They claimed not to have received the test result. I'll add here they the specialist has TWO fax numbers, on two different cards, & one of them they admit only checking once or twice a week. So I had to ask my primary doctor to fax her cc copy of the test  to the specialist.

 The next day, I called the specialist office, & was told only that it had been put on the doctor's desk. Three days later, they called late afternoon, I wasn't home. I thought, He's gonna ask me to pack a bag & check into his hospital, which he said some time ago was a possibility, because in rare cases only an antibiotic drip will clear it up. Clearing up this infection is preliminary to the serious surgery I must undergo, & had expected to be done during the winter.

This possibility sent me into panic. I have a routine sonogram scheduled for Friday through my primary, that's her concern, & her attentiveness should be respected.  I resolved to to say to the doctor's people I wouldn't check in until Monday, because if he could be so lax in reading test results, it could wait a few days. & I knew I'd be in a lower priority floor in a huge Newark hospital, over the weekend,  where they stick the rookie nurses & students, & come Monday he'd probably have forgotten I was even there.

Fortunately, for now, he just wanted to schedule a routine procedure for next week, & that time he'll probably lay out the options, if there are any. When I do have the surgery, I have to prepare for the emotional & practical consequences, including a visiting nurse service, since I reside alone.

This urologist lost my confidence in February, on the evidence of how he managed his office & paperwork. But by then, it was too late to switch specialists. No one else would take me. When I got a new primary, she asked on my  first visit, "Why are you going all the way to Newark?" I said, "The one in Roselle wouldn't accept my insurance & I couldn't figure out how to get to Millburn."

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