Monday, July 16, 2007

That Kind of Day

I could write a really long post about all the things that went horribly wrong today but instead I shall provide you with an illuminating example. Ever so much better, yes?

They called the other day to schedule Face for his next open heart surgery. Even though you are ready for it, you are not, really, ready. Your mouth is dry, you cant think about what they are talking about.

So I agreed to a pre-visit appointment at 8 AM. A pre-visit is when they get all your insurance in order, all the messy details, they go through the procedure of everything with you. You get to go home afterwards with a time to come in the morning. (In case you wondering the next morning will be the cardiac catheterization, admittance to the ICU, then the open heart the next morning). Like dominoes.

So I jumped, without thinking, at the first time she offered. Which, as it turns out, was the worst possible time in the world. Even a half-hour later would have been fine. So today, on my to-do list is "Call to change appointment time". So I do. Here's what happens.

I call Juan, who transfers me to Cardiology Scheduling whereupon I pick Option #4 (talk to someone/rotary phone option), tell some guy why I am calling. He transfers me... back to the operator. Darryl, the operator, transfers me back to Cardiology Scheduling whereupon I pick Option #1 (Scheduling new patient appointments) and speak to Renee who is going to transfer me to the department I need which as it turns out is called the pre-visit department. She transfers me - to a voicemail that says (I swear I am not making this up) "The person who you are calling Blah BlahBlah is out on medical leave indefinitely. Please call back later." When indefinitely ends?

I call again and by happy chance, get Juan again who listens to my story and my desperate pleas to be transferred to someone who can actually help me and he transfers me to... Cardiology Scheduling where I pick Option #1 and get Glenda and tell her Renee transferred me to the number of someone out on medical leave indefinitely and could someone help me out here? Glenda transfers me to Renee who puts me on hold while she checks it out then comes back to give me a number to which she cannot transfer me ("it's an outside line") but is the number where I need to call.

I don't know whether Renee didn't give me the right number or I wrote it wrong or what but there is no help there (no nothing there).

I call back and get Inez and explain that I need the number for the pre-visit office for Cardiology and Ive now been transferred a gazillion times too many and I would like someone to actually like, help me, and Inez only has one number but wait some more and she'll check okay she's gonna transfer me... to oncology department voicemail.

I call back and get Juan and am slightly less polite about my grievances in trying to get some number somewhere that might lead to the magic scheduling computer obviously located in an alcove at Station 9 1/2. Juan transfers me to his supervisor who, so he tells me, knows everything. This "outside number" to which I refer does not exist, has never existed and is obviously a figment. He knows because he knows every outside line and by the way - do I know what a pre-visit is for? I'm taken aback and I'm like what? So he starts telling me what a pre-visit IS and babbling something about other locations. Whatever, dude. Ive done this a million times before. Then he tries (and this kills me) to say that I am the one who is confused while telling me the whole reason for this fiasco "Ma'am, ever since we changed the whole billing system people have gotten very confused about who they are supposed to talk to." He meant people like me. What he SHOULD have said was "All the people in the hospital don't know who you need to talk to." which would have been both right and accurate. This guy is the expert though and he's gonna help me. He wont transfer me to anything but a live person, the exact person I need, just hold on a sec...

Financial Services. Options Menu. I wait, and a live person proceeds to tell me she is totally confused about why I would be transferred there because they have nothing to do with pre-visit and she cant transfer me back to the operator because (meaningless bullshit which means "I don't know how").

I call back and get Sheila who is quite insistent that she can help me. When I ask her if I can speak to her supervisor who I was just speaking to she tells me that he just left for lunch. That fucking rat bastard. But she can definatly help me. She'll help me while she sighs at my rudeness in making it clear that I doubt anyone in that hospital is capable of helping me. She makes it clear that my story about being transferred is, at best, highly exaggerated, at worst, a lie and/or my fault. But she's gonna help this stupid schlub anyway cause she's awesome.

She sends me to cardiology scheduling.

I'm laughing right now as I type this but I was not laughing then. I was wondering if I would ever laugh again, actually.

I get Glenda (my old friend from above). I explain about the number Renee gave me last time and she tells me she'll give it to me again. She gives me a completely different number. I tell her it's not the same number because I can tell from the exchange it's an inside number and Renee gave me an outside number and she says she doesn't know what Renee gave me but she swears it is the number for pre-visit scheduling and she's even gonna transfer me and she does and I...

get a guy from PRE-VISIT!!!!!!!!!

Who tells me he's just a fill-in, everyone from pre-visit is off for two-weeks so while I don't have to worry about anyone getting ahead of me appointment-wise he cant actually, like, re-schedule me, but he will take my name and number and have the Pre-visit supervisor call me back tomorrow and re-schedule me.

I gave it to him. And I believe someone will call me. Cause I'm a hopeless romantic like that.

That was a small taste of my day. How was yours?


1blueshi1 said...

Although I'm certain you could have learned HOW TO PERFORM THE OPEN HEART YOURSELF in the time it took you to reach...someone, or at the veeery least you wanted to reach through the phone lines and rip out their (meaning anyone, anywhere, who has ever even heard the word hospital) still-beating hearts....Good Lord, that is a funny story! sorry you had to endure the torment, glad you shared so I could laugh. also you & Face will be in my thoughts & prayers over the next few days. hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Thank you - all thoughts/prayers welcome and appreciated.

I just hope people keep this in mind because you sound like an idiot when someone asks you what you did all day and you say "Changed an appointment."

-That Girl

Jenie said...

oh. my. GOD. and they wonder why people take automatic weapons into other places and just open up. dude. (you are a stronger woman than I am, gungha din.)