I had my MLST test yesterday (Wednesday). I did what I was instructed to do, be at admitting by 7am, and bring my co-pay. Fact is I got there 20 minutes early, signed the check in form and handed it back to the older woman sitting behind the counter. There were several of us that checked in early, and the woman seemed to be perturbed by the constant flow of patients coming in. When she asked me what I was there for, I told her what I had been told the day before, the MLST. “What’s that?’
“It’s a sleep test.”
“We don’t do those here, they are done at another hospital.”
“Well, this is where I was told to go, so I’m here. Can you check to see what is going on? Or call someone to find out where I’m supposed to be.”
“I checked with my supervisor, we don’t do sleep tests here.”
“So where do I need to go?”
“I told you, to the other hospital.”
I am not making any of this conversation up. They don’t do this test at this hospital, but this is the hospital I was told to go to. So either someone has really screwed things up, or there is some other problem. I was starting to get pretty pissed at this point, so I asked where I needed to go, and started to make the long trek out of the hospital and to the other hospital. By the time I got to the front doors I was shaking so bad I had to sit and gain my composure. I stopped by the information desk and asked the woman if and where they do sleep tests in the hospital. She said that she didn’t really know, but she would call up to the sleep clinic and find out.
A quick call to the sleep clinic, and I was informed that the test, while actually being the MLST, was listed for the hospital as an EEG. With this new information, I trudged back down to admitting and informed the woman behind the counter of what I had been told. She looked through a list of patients scheduled for the day, and lo and behold there was my name. I stood there looking at her for a moment and asked her, “You couldn’t have checked your list before sending me out trying to find out what was going on?”
“I need to know where to look,” was her reply. The list was six maybe seven pages at most, and most of the pages were half empty. I went and sat down disgusted by the mentality that was there. If it wasn’t right in front of her face, she couldn’t see it. How inane! How ignorant! How lazy! I would venture a guess that most patients coming into a hospital are intimidated by the surroundings, the vastness, and just the overall atmosphere of the modern large hospital. One would think that the hospital staff would strive to put at ease their patients. Be willing to take the extra two or three seconds it would take to look through a list and find a patient’s name. Especially if that patient has obvious ambulatory issues. But to dismiss out of hand a patient simply because you are not familiar with the test they are scheduled to have done is unconscionable.
I finally did get to the EEG lab for my sleep test, and the woman was fantastic. I think her name was Barbara (I was still pretty ticked so I didn’t take the time to read her name tag – shame on me!). She explained what was going to happen, and took her time wiring me up. She was very apologetic if she accidentally pulled some hair here or there, and truly tried to put me at ease and calm me down from my run in at admitting.
If you have never had a MLST, they start you off with round one to see if you will fall asleep within the allotted 20 minutes. Then you get two hours to “hang out” until the next round, then another 20 minutes, two hours, 20 minutes, you get the point. This goes on for at least three to four rounds.
The first round I was still upset and shaking over all the crap downstairs so I did not sleep at all. Round two was a different matter, I was out in eight minutes, but jerked myself awake about five minutes into the test. The last round I had I was out in three and a half minutes and reached level two sleep. Not as bad was when I was last tested for narcolepsy, but still within the range of the disorder.
After all the tests were done, the tech started to unhook all the wires on my head and chest. She felt bad when, upon pulling off the chest wires, she took a chunk of hair with. I really wonder if I should shave all that. But then again, if I keep having all these tests they will either shave it all off for me, or pull it out.
It was really refreshing and to an extent amazing that I went from beet red and shaking to laughing and thanking. It only goes to show that simple respect, courtesy and common sense can make all the difference in how one views any given situation. I started out my day frustrated and angry at the laziness of one staff member and talking dogs, family and church with another who seemed to truly care.
So a no good, horrible day ended up being pretty good after all.