Friday, August 19, 2022

Another medical comedy (of errors)

I may have mentioned I have another bone density test scheduled, and I'm looking forward to it. My oldest daughter has been diagnosed with the same brittle bones I have, and like me has hesitated to take any of the several drugs on the market said to strengthen bones. She is anxious to know my results since the Reclast infusion early this year.

Actually, I have had three bone density tests scheduled, to date. I was leaving the house for the first test and was called to reschedule because they didn't have an operator to make the test. I was called to reschedule the second because the machine was broken.

The third was scheduled for last week. At the lab desk I said I was there for my bone density. She couldn't find it. Flipping through my calendar, I saw it, same date, one month in advance. My mistake. Worse yet, I had another appointment that day, so I made a new appointment, even further out.

And so I told the scheduler, as long as I was there, send me for my blood draw for my thyroid appointment next week. And you know that outcome--no standing order. So I was assigned an extra dexamethasone test, which required a blood draw by nine this morning. The purpose of this test is to find if my adrenals are making hormones they should not be making. I did this test about ten years ago.

I got a move on this morning and actually showed up at the lab by 8:30 a.m. The young, new scheduler pulled me up on the screen. Then he consulted a piece of paper, then he consulted his supervisor, in another room. Then he came back and said "We don't do that test here. They only do it downtown. He didn't know why it wasn't done here anymore; maybe because it had to be frozen.

So, I waited my turn for the lab, went in, was stuck and was walking out when I noticed that of the three racks the technician was sorting little tubes of newly collected blood into, one said "frozen". I turned and asked my tech about the rack of "frozen" vs. the blood test I couldn't have. 

She kindly looked it up, and said "The test ordered for you has to be flash frozen. They actually carry it to the next room at once and flash freeze it. They only do that test down town."

I couldn't even go to one of the several other Cleveland Clinic labs to have this done; I'd have to go downtown, to the main hospital. That involves scheduling an appointment, getting a ride, getting a wheel chair, reversing the transportation after the bloodwork to get home.

As I emailed the doctor, what you get is what you get. I do not go downtown.



37 comments:

  1. Aaargh. Increasingly tests are designed for the testers' convenience, with little or no attention paid to the needs of the subject.

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  2. The docs and labs seem to be in a state of flux these days. Each location does different things and there is no getting everything done in one place. Totally inconvenient. As an aside, I heard Amazon is buying Care One Urgent Care. Maybe they'll do mobile yearly physicals and labs. Coming to us works for me. If Amazon can do Care One as well as they deliver packages...I am all for it.

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  3. This is CRAZY! I would be so frustrated. The medical system has gotten worse and worse and I don't know whether we can completely blame Covid.

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  4. Hari Om
    if you can maintain that cat's mood and expression, you'll be right mate!!! YAM xx

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  5. This is ridiculous. To be putting you through all this, largely their confusion. Well, let's hope the reclast was effective anyway.

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  6. I LOVE YOU! You are way more polite than I. While reading your dilemma In my head I was saying "eff this sh*t" . Health care in
    america.....

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  7. Things get complicated with medical scheduling and then transportation makes things worse.

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  8. just "Wow!"... (I would have done the same).

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  9. Cute kitty pic. We used to collect some blood at the hospital bedside with a bag of ice ready to put the designated vial of blood immediately into the ice. Sounds like a good blood draw for those below zero winter days. Linda in Kansas

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  10. I wanted a bone density test after I cracked a rib a few years ago now. Only one hospital in Adelaide does them and it was right after covid took over my city, so the test wasn't available. They suggested two other places. Victor Harbor way down in the south of the state, and Port Augusta, way up in the north of the state. I decided not to bother.
    I do hope your bones are showing some improvement.

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  11. These kind of appointment and snafus can really be aggravating. I hope you get all that you need and without further incidents.

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  12. I am completely amazed at the fact that you can get all these services. The NHS in England is in terrible trouble and our doctor's surgery (a huge place) only seems to have one doctor and appointments are difficult to get. The cat says it all...

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  13. Replies
    1. I had to look that one up. Good start for my morning brain.

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  14. What an utterly frustrating experience. Now here it is with bones - my doctor said that even males should be tested for osteoporosis as we get older (I am the same age as you, Joanne), so she booked a test for me. The result - I have bones like a racehorse! And that's good news, isn't it?

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  15. It's all set up to cut costs for the corporation that owns the hospitals.

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  16. Health care is a mess these days. I hope you can get sufficient testing done soon.

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  17. I have a friend who often has to have things done there on main campus and she really dislikes it. It's good care, but driving there, parking, and walking and walking and not getting lost is a problem. Sorry you had such difficulty. I'm curious why you and your daughter don't want to take the meds that could help your problems? Hubby took some meds for years that really helped and now doesn't need it. He just had a follow up bone density test a few days ago.
    Sandy's Space

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  18. My doctor belongs to a HCA and it works out well. I go for all tests in one place. X-rays, ultra-sounds, labs, mammograms. But I'd have to go to different places for things like a colonoscopy. The "factory" I call it.
    I believe you were right to tell your doctor what you did. That's ridiculous.

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  19. My sister had a heart attack at 50. She's fine now at 75 but her cardiologist always wants one of those stress tests where they inject you with radioactive juju and he only does that in his Houston office in the Med Center. She always declines. Nope, not driving into the city and especially not the Med Center. I'll be interested in your bone density scan too.

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  20. I was only talking about this the other day Joanne why is everything so effing complicated? Could they not have all these tests in central accessible areas where you could co-ordinate every test, every machine. Surely there has to be a better way? I find a whole day between the driving, the assistance, the parking the wheelchair if distant, is used up. I sure feel your pain.
    XO
    WWW

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  21. I tink that is a most appropriate response on your part. I have been known to say I might choose to die rather than go there for that test. I guess it’s all talk, but I think I would have to be in great need.

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  22. I have the dexa-scans every 5 years. They always say I have osteopenia. The NEVER say if it's getting worse or not. The technician I recently had told me that they can't do comparisons unless the scans were all done on the same machine. That's fine if you live in one place and stay there, not so good for people who live in different places. So, I have no idea how bad it is or if it's progressing. That would be news we could use. Hope your bones are denser and the Reclast was worth doing.

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  23. And fine when an operator is available to run the machine and the machine isn't broken, and when the whole comedy of misunderstanding dates sets in. Grrrrrrr....

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  24. I need a bone scan too. Sigh... I've had the reclast infusion three times now and I think that's all they can do. I'll have to go into something else. I definitely have osteoporosis. I just hope it hasn't worsened.

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  25. Oh dear a bit like a comedy of errors, poor you. So frustrating to be re-scheduled and find you have to go somewhere else. Hope you got all sorted eventually.. its no fun getting older is it?

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  26. What a mix-up. It's hard on many patients to go where the tests are done, although I understand the need for centralization of some procedures. When my husband was ill, the round trip to the cancer specialist was four hours. He was exhausted before we started out and much worse by the time we got back home. It's inhumane, and yet what choice is there except - as you did - refuse to go. He couldn't really refuse to go because his treatment was being ordered by that specialist. I imagine this happens many times every day with patients who are very sick or have other mobility issues that make it hard to get to distant services.

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  27. Criminy Christmas!!! Sounds like one of my days! LOL (not funny, ha ha) I would love to be able to e-mail my doctor(s). Talk about feeling left adrift...

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  28. Keeping things straight is particularly difficult when the requesting doctor does not give out the up-to-date information, like where the test can be done or remembering to leave the order for said test. Ugh!

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  29. The bone strength machine was broken? That seems ironic.
    Wishing you better scheduling days than these past ones.

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  30. Goodness, what an obstacle race! I have one or two medical issues but thankfully they don't include brittle bones (as far as I know).

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  31. I suggest that you live happily without any of these tests and forget about all of them.

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  32. Sorry, Joanne. How frustrating.

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  33. Medical comedy of errors sums it up. That is frustrating that they only do the test downtown, with all that entails in terms of travel.

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