“BRAINS, WE NEED MORE BRAINS!”

A month or so after seeing Dr. Perlow, April 18th to be exact, I got to visit the wonder neurology department.  This is where the term “goat rope” must have been invented.

The appointment was for 9AM, and not one who likes to be late for things (used to drive my ex-wives crazy) I got there twenty to thirty minutes early.  I asked at the main desk where the neuro department was, given directions and headed off to the office.  The place was stark, barren of any life, features or semblance of warmth.  I guess they figured that if you have neurological problems you probably are not going to notice pretty pictures on the wall.

There were a half-dozen or so of us waiting in and around the check-in desk looking for someone to acknowledge that we were there.  Finally Mr. Personality walks up and asks the assembled crowd what they need.  THEY NEED TO CHECK IN YOU ASS!  After going through three other patients he came to me.

“DO YOU HAVE YOUR PAPERS?”

“I got my appointment letter.”

“YOU HAVE TO CHECK IN DOWNSTAIRS!  IT IS VERBOTEN TO SEE YOU WITHOUT YOU CHECKING IN DOWNSTAIRS!”

“Sorry, the letter never said anything about checking in downstairs.”

“EVERYONE KNOWS YOU MUST CHECK IN DOWNSTAIRS!  NEXT!”

Did you ever want to just reach through someone’s skull and pull their brain out and hand it to them?  That’s how I felt right then.  This was the first time I had been to this particular clinic, and this clown acted more like a member of the Waffen than he did a member of a medical staff.  So I trudged (actually hobbled) back downstairs to “CHECK IN!”

The young lady at the check in desk was polite and understanding, even though I could barely understand her.  Her Latino accent was so thick I would have had a better chance understanding Charo.

Checked in and back up to Mr. P.!  When I got back to the office he was sitting at the desk, finally, collating papers and using his winning personality on the phone.  I swayed there for a moment, and after NOT getting any acknowledgement of my existence dropped the papers in front of him.

He looks up at me and asks, “Did you check in down stairs?”  No, you stupid ass, that’s why I dropped the paperwork showing the stamp and payment receipt in your face!

“Yes I did, and there are the copies of the papers.”

“Have a seat, you’ll be called in the order you came in.”  By now there were at least an additional 10 people from when I first got there.  BRAINS, WE NEED MORE BRAINS!

An hour went by and finally it was my turn.  Down the sterile hall to an equally sterile room.  I sat in the chair, and was told that I was to sit on the little exam table that all doctor’s offices seem to have.  After the normal blood pressure, pulse and temperature check I was asked, “Why are you here?”  Not, “What brings you in today?” “What seems to be your problem/issue?” “Why are you here?”

To hang out with a bunch of insensitive, arrogant asses, and spend $20 (that I don’t have) plus parking to do it.  Or how about, I love getting up at 6:30 in the morning, driving half way cross town to spend thirty minutes in a parking lot that does not have enough spots only to have to go to another lot and pay double the cost of the first lot to park.  I love getting yelled at first thing in the morning and treated like an idiot by some clown who has all the personality of a cracked toilet seat.  Or how about I LOVE being treated like I am a bother to you and your office staff.

However, I am learning to control my temper, and explained to her in detail what was going on, and why I was referred to the neurology department.  After about 5-7 minutes of explaining, her comment was, “You’ll need to tell the doctor.”  WHY the hell did you ask, if, one you were NOT going to write down anything, and two I would need to repeat everything.  I was told to wait and the doctor would be in shortly.  After about 30 minutes I stopped another employee and asked if I could use the bathroom.  She said it was for employees only, but I think she took pity on me (something I actually disdain) and directed me to the employee bathroom.  I slipped in and out of the toilet and returned to my “special” room to wait.  Another 45 minutes passed before I saw another human, and it still was not the doctor, it was another employee passing in the hall.

Dr. Glad You Could Make It showed up, finally.  It was now well past noon.  I went through the entire explanation of why I was there, gave the doctor a copy of all the medical records I had and sat and waited.  The doc looked through, made marks on the papers, grunted that grunt only doctors can make and finally looked up at me.

An exam of neuro function was done, and I was told an MRI was in order.  I explained that Dr. Perlow had recommended that when I saw him a few weeks earlier, and I was told “HE is not a neurologist.”  Well, yeah, actually he is.  He did his med school and neuro residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, and studied under Dr. Benjamin Boshes, the chair of the neuro department at Northwestern, and my former neurologist.

With the exam done out I went to wait for further instructions.  Another 20 minutes passed, and the scheduling person came out and apologized for the delay.  OH MY GOSH!  Someone with manners here!  The computer system was down (go figure) and she was unable to get me a definite date for the MRI.  I told her no problem,  just call me later when you have a date.  I made sure she had both the home and cell phone numbers and left.

Fast forward a month.  It was now May, and I still had not received any appointment date.  Mind you, Dr Perlow wanted an MRI done as soon as possible, and that was back in March.  I had a follow-up with Perlow on May 24th, and he asked how the MRI went, as he had not had a chance to review the findings.  “What MRI?  I’m still waiting.”  I thought the man was going to come unglued.  He said he would find out what the hold up was and SOMEONE would get back with me.

We discussed various health issues and the fact that I was having uncontrolled tremors that were getting worse.  He prescribed Clonazepam to help me sleep and said he would speak with me after the MRI.

I will say this, the man works quick, when I got home on the 24th there in the mailbox was the appointment letter for the MRI.  June 2, 2011 at 2PM.

So let’s see, Perlow wanted the MRI done as quickly as possible back on March 22nd, and here it was nearly three months later that it would be done.  Well, at least we were moving forward.

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About Joseph Ordower

I'm a middle aged, some would say curmudgeon, who is sick, tired and truly frustrated with the way things are going in a country (America) that he loves, honors and respects.
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