I received an appointment letter yesterday from the clinic. It read, “Your appointment from 7/5/11 was rescheduled. This is your new appointment.” Yesterday was 7/6/11. Granted they did call on Friday last week to advise me that the tech was not going to be in on the 5th, however I didn’t even know about the appointment on the 5th, and I keep very careful track of when and where I am supposed to be as far as the doctors are concerned.
This appointment is for an “EMG”. EMG stands for Electromyography. I have had this test before, and while not really painful, it is not one of my favorite. They stick needles into the muscles and then shoot current from one end of the muscle to the other to see what the level of conductivity is. My biggest problem with the test is that I am terrified of needles. Silly I know, but that is simply the fact.
The National Institutes of Health has a pretty decent description of the test: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003929.htm, but I still hate needles.
The frustrating thing is that, if the test had not been rescheduled I would have missed it, and would probably have had to wait another 3-6 months before I could get back in. I’m reminded of Strother Martin’s line from Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate.” I am guessing that it is not easy for staff to keep track of all that goes on in a busy public hospital and clinic. I would lay odds that many feel over worked and under-appreciated. But look at it from the patient’s side. We are at the mercy of the clinics competence or incompetence. We do not set appointments, but if we miss one then we have to wait for another opening. An opening that could take months to arrive.
I can’t imagine what things will be like if the system is further flooded with more patients. I’m no rocket scientist, and my bachelor’s degree plus $2 will get me a cup of coffee somewhere, but I am able to see the cliff we maybe heading towards. If I get frustrated with this system, and I keep careful track of EVERYTHING, I cannot imagine what it will be like for individuals and families that are not as organized or have less than a 10th grade education. The best advocate one has for proper medical care is one’s self. If you are taught through the public school system that it is NOT okay to question doctors then you are at the mercy of an over burdened system. A system that may fail you fatally.