The hospital said they didn’t get the order from the doctor and cancelled my appointment. They said they had talked to Tracy and she was supposed to call me. It turns out, they did get the papers, lost them or misplaced them — and possibly, forgot to write the appointment in their Big Book.
Sip your Futili-Tea and have a cookie.
This happens an awful lot with this hospital, though it has happened at others. Hell, I went to one hospital that was famous for working on the wrong part of the human in surgery, so when you went in, they took a big, black marking pen and wrote “NO NO NO” on all the parts which were not supposed to get repaired, and “YES, THIS ONE” on the piece due for repair.
I’ve gotten the wrong (potentially deadly) meals, drugs to which I am allergic. Drugs that nearly killed me. And, you can’t pump me full of real opioids — especially morphine — and expect my lungs and heart to function. I know they won’t work. My favorite moment of this was at the Brigham when I refused to use the morphine pump, so they stopped asking, removed the button and set it to just keep dripping.
Then they had to come in and restart my heart. That was fun. This was merely annoying.
The Front Door at UMass Memorial
The doctor’s visit was supposed to be a neurology chat and an EEG (electroencephalograph), but it didn’t happen because the hospital said Tracy at the doctor’s office forgot to send the order from the doctor and then forgot to tell me the appointment was cancelled.
Except Tracy had the copy of the faxed order she had indeed faxed on her desk when I called, she assured me that no one had contacted her. She said a few words that were unladylike. “They do this ALL the time. They are driving me crazy!”
I wouldn’t mind since no one tried to kill me, except it’s quite a haul to the University of Massachusetts Memorial Teaching Institution, also known as UMass or UMM. It’s a huge facility — the primary medical teaching facility in the state. Certainly the largest. It’s a complete hospital with every kind of department you might imagine — and the only really good hospital in Worcester. There’s nothing wrong with their care — other than not having enough people to manage and the worst software in the world.
Garry had a lot of work just to clear the snow off the car before we could leave the driveway, so he was tired before we got there. Also, we are permanently lost, no matter where we go. That never helps.
Getting to the hospital is easy. Go to Worcester. See those giant buildings? That’s the hospital. Next, you have to locate the building. Not so easy. There are dozens of parking lots, driveways, multi-level parking garages — not to mention valet parking services for each main building.
Buildings are numbered differently, depending on which side you are on, so 55 Lake Avenue North is really four (five?) buildings, depending on your approach and there’s a lot of driving around in circles to discover what could be considered “the front door” for wherever you are trying to go.
Maybe that’s the front, but it might be a different building. You won’t know until you’ve parked, gone inside, talked to “Information” and had them explain where you might go next.
I can’t walk a long way and I won’t use a wheel chair yet. The only place I always use a wheel chair is at the airport. Everywhere else, I walk. Slowly and painfully, with a lot of wheezing and whining, but I do it anyway. To park, we use the valet service because it’s at the front door and by the time we get there, we’re both bushed.
It used to be free, but now it cost $7, which is hefty for this area. That’s only a bit less than they charge in Boston. They probably use the same company, especially because all the hospitals now work together in large groups. This is better for us, the patients because if the specialist you need isn’t here, there’s an affiliate that has exactly the one you want. Most of the time.
The real craziness starts when you get inside and need to close in on the specific office or area where your doctor and the machinery he/she uses is located.
The Lobby is always in the middle of the building. There are maybe a dozen elevators that go to different levels — up and down. To get to Neuro-Diagnostics (Neurodex), I needed Elevator B, down two levels to Level A, then a long slow walk around corners and through a maze of hallways.
The woman ahead of us in the information line was Chinese or maybe Korean. Regardless, she was probably my age or a little older and her English was not too good. She was having a lot of trouble comprehending Elevator B and going down.
“Down?” said the elderly woman.
“Down,” assured the information lady. The poor woman looked so lost. I wonder if she ever found her way. If she had waited, we could have gone together, but at that point, I didn’t know I too needed Elevator B and down (two stories) to Level A, followed by a long complicated walk through many hallways.
We eventually found Neurodex, but there was no appointment. This was the “short” day at the my own doctor’s office, so everyone there was gone. If I were serious about omens and portents, I would assume The Universe was telling me to forget the whole thing.
I also took some pictures. Because I was outside, had a camera. Figured I should do something worthwhile. Then we went grocery shopping. Because — why not? Got gasoline, groceries. I remembered how much I love the way our town looks in the snow. I know everyone complains about the dirt at the edges of the road, but I love it, the way the dark snow in the road moves up into the white piles of it all over the Common. Every building is topped with snow.
I just wish this had happened in January when I was ready for it. Oh, wait. It did happen in December, January and February. Sometimes, it’s a long winter season.