FOWC with Fandango — Kudos

I got a note today telling me that our appointment with the pre-op people on July 9 didn’t appear to exist. UMass has communication problems. No one seems to talk to anyone else around there.

For an entire year, I tried to get an appointment with a medical oncologist for a checkup on my (at that point) relatively recent bout with two different forms of cancer. It never happened.

Every time I got close to the appointment, the doctor’s office called to tell me he had a meeting and I had to reschedule. It happened six times, after which I changed medical plans and went back to a facility that always took care of me.

I never saw the neurologist either. When I got there, they told me I didn’t have an appointment. When I got home, they called me to ask me how come I missed my appointment.

I managed to survive those two experiences, but this is a pre-op for Garry’s cochlear implant. I have no more patience to deal with this nonsense. I don’t know what their issue is, but they need to fix it.

I called everyone and got disconnected. Finally, I called the hospital’s general directory and got someone who connected me to the actual doctor’s office and she said she was sure we had an appointment and connected me with the secretary in the office and she said she was also sure we had an appointment. Which means that there’s nothing more I can do.


I have no doubt about the skill of the surgeons or the medical abilities of the team, but I am deeply dubious about the hospital’s ability to manage simple communications with each other.

So kudos to me for spending my entire morning calling a hospital, getting disconnected, and continuing to try until I finally got answers which I hope turn out to be the RIGHT answers.

Grant me a small indulgence as I struggle to get what’s left of my temper back under control because this drives me nuts. I figure when you make an appointment and you show up for that appointment, the next thing to follow will be seeing the doctor (or whoever you are supposed to be seeing). Eventually, someone will tell you what — if anything — they have found.

This has not been the case with UMass Memorial and I don’t understand it. I’m still breathing heavily.

Up in the air, Junior Birdmen. Up in the air, upside-down.

Categories: Cochlear implant, Health, Hearing, UMass Memorial

Tags: , , , ,

22 replies

  1. I thought my GP was the only doctor who could conceivably cancel SIX appointments in a row due to being “out of the office.” At least in only one of those instances did I have to drive the 20 miles to find out I wouldn’t be seeing him. This doctor (and your stories) have made me appreciate the few docs I have who DO have well run offices and who do the things we expect them to do…


  2. UMASS has some serious issues. We had a lousy time when bringing Jace there for his fractured arm that many doctors said was fractured. However, after 12 hours of doctors and 2 rounds of x rays another doctor said it wasn’t a fracture just a growth plate. Ummm, really? That’s quite the difference in a diagnosis. I certainly hope and pray that Garry gets some competent care and reliable communication on the services they are going to provide him with. These days, I really question that. By the way, I love the photo of the glass facade of the hospital with Garry’s silhouetted reflection on it. Great photo capture, Marilyn! Good luck and hope all goes well.


    • Well, as I said — I never saw the neurologist at all because they wouldn’t let me see the doctor without a bunch of expensive tests and I said no, I want to see the DOCTOR before I agree to all these tests and I was told “Well, that’s how the doctor does it.” So I didn’t go. If something was wrong with me, I guess I won’t find out until the next episode. As for the oncologist — in a year, never actually saw him. He had meetings. Meetings? Like — on a golf course maybe?

      Garry is getting special care because he knows people. Literally, he knows someone who is in charge of a lot of stuff who used to work at Channel 5 and among his acquaintences just happens to be the doctor who is treating Garry and is the same doctor he would have at Mass Eye & Ear. So I’m not worried about the doctor, but the hospital is so awful. So utterly incompetent. But out here, we don’t have a whole lot of choices. It’s UMass or Boston and Boston is a long ugly drive.


  3. there seems to be a dichotomy here: excellent surgeons, dodgy staff. Almost always. My physician has a staff that can barely remember their own names. The last one I talked to asked for my birthdate, and when I said, 9/12/45 there was a pause and she said, ‘which century”? I’ll bet she still uses hearts when she dots her i’s. If she can write.

    The only comfort I have in all of this: I am old enough that by the time all those health care facilities come toppling down because of lack of competent staff, I will be long dead and no longer in the market for any of it.

    It was also easier when hospitals took care of the entire person. Now they tend to specialization. One hospital does endocrinology, one does heart stuff, another has top throacic surgeons, and you find yourself traveling hundreds of miles for a procedure that has you up and traveling home in three hours…


    • We actually LEFT our last doctor because of the incompetent staff. Why — HOW — do they hire these morons? The staff at UMass is fine, but they seem to be unable to communicate even basic information and they make actually talking to a doctor close to impossible. We got lucky because Garry knows someone and that someone is in charge of something, so he’s getting much better than usual treatment. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would let them near him. They have some fundamental problems and I don’t even know how they function at all.

      I have friends who work at UMass (the university) and they say it is just as bad. Maybe worse. It’s something about Massachusetts.


  4. A while ago we had an early morning appointment (9:00 am) with an eye doctor in Ottawa. That meant we had to get up around 5:00 am to have breakfast (four children in tow) and drive the 2.5 hours to get there on time. We got there in plenty of time but the doctor didn’t see us until after lunch. I asked the receptionist if the doctor always ran late like that, otherwise we would have left much later. Apparently that was normal for him. We never went back.


  5. What a load of horseshit! Plain and simple. Sick to death of the incompetence that is so prevalent. It impacts people’s lives health and well being. Time for slap up the side of the head if you ask me!


    • I have done anything I can do short of actual violence. I have a headache and no patience left to deal with anything. I’m just tired of things that ought to be simple getting unreasonably complicated and spending my life on the phone being mad at EVERYONE. Isn’t the world ugly enough without all the little stuff making it worse?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s true. I agree completely. When it comes to appointments, write the damn shit down on paper, maybe then it wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle! I swear to god, paper worked! Might use up trees, but it cut down on errors!


  6. Sadly, your experiences dealing with the health care delivery system lately is not atypical.


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