April 23, 2012: Same Song, Different Day

            I phoned my parents’ general practitioner this morning, and spoke to his medical assistant.

            “Hey, Lori, I’m calling for the results of my mother’s urinalysis. Does she still have a urinary tract infection?”

            “Um, did Dr. Animalai order a urine test?”

            “No. I always order one myself after a cycle of antibiotics. Mom had a UTI last month, and so I had the neurologist phone in a lab request to see if the antibiotics did the trick.”

            “Huh. Okay, I’ll talk to the doctor and call you back.”

            Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. “Hi, it’s Lori. Listen, it says here that the test came back positive, and the doctor already ordered a prescription for Sulfanamide.”

            “Right,” I replied. “That was last month. And I had you change that prescription to Keflex, because Mom is allergic to Sulfanamide. I need the results from last week’s labs.”

            “Oh. I see. Okay,” Lori replied. “I’ll talk to the doctor and call you right back.”

Hey, I just answer the phones around here.

            An hour later, Lori phoned again. “Hi. I found the new labs. Doctor says your mom’s positive for UTI and he’s phoned in a prescription for Levaquin.”

            “Mom’s allergic to Levaquin. It says so right on her meds chart.”

            Lori sighed. “Oh, you’re right. Okay. I’ll call you right back.”

            She did, only a few minutes later. “Hi. So, Doctor A. is going to phone in a script for Keflex.”

            “Okay. Thanks, Lori. But, um, Keflex didn’t get rid of the infection last week. Will it do anything this week?”

            “I don’t know. I’ll have to talk to the doctor and call you back.”

            Late this afternoon, Lori phoned again. “Okay. The doc says let’s go with Sulfanamide. And what pharmacy do you want me to phone it in to?”

            I counted to 10 and replied, “The same one you always phone to. It’s printed at the top of her meds chart. And can I get some Keflex, instead? My mother is still allergic to Sulfanamide.”

            Lori was quiet for awhile; perhaps she was counting to 20. Finally, she spoke. “I’ll have to talk to the doctor and call you back.”

Thing I Hate Today: Monotony


7 Responses

  1. Maybe when I hire a hitwoman for my dermatologist’s (I saw him as a sort of emergency…he’s not MY doctor)..medical assistant. He did a biopsy on my lower leg. Result: benign. It didn’t heal and after three weeks someone finally called me back (as the result of a fax of facts). I told her the biopsy site had never healed and continued to bleed. She said she’d speak to the doctor. She called back and said the doctor “could” take care of it, but because it’s “cosmetic” my insurance carrier won’t cover it. I then asked, “Is bleeding and OOZING cosmetic?” She said, “Oh, is it bleeding?” I did NOT say, “Read the fax that is probably right there in your hands. Can you come in next week?

    I went in the next week. Biopsy #2 on this leaking lesion. Came back squamous cell carcinoma, but now because it’s too large for surgery, I will have radiation at St. Joe’s every week day for six weeks. My first session was today, thank you very much. 1-888-HITWOMAN.

  2. Like talking to a wall. Does anyone ever listen to us??

  3. Wouldn’t it have been cool for the practitioner to call you back after …oh, I don’t know the 3rd call to make sure all issues where discussed? This is why we don’t need “medical assistants” in a doctor’s office trying to make critical thinking decisions. That is why we need to all support registered nurses in a setting like this. Geriatric patients are all very complicated and to be honest, need to have nurse practitioners caring for them because they treat the whole person, not just a lab test.

  4. OMG.

  5. Whoever Karen W. is…I love her!

  6. Have you thought about trying Eastern medicine?

  7. V., you just missed knowing Karen W. She was in the class of ’80 at Apollo and is now a nurse in northern California.

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