On Friday, November 18th I posted on how I was having severe problems with my right side. My face was numb, my right leg and arm were going wherever they wanted and I was having difficulty breathing. After I was done running errands that day I called my primary doctor’s office and informed them of the problem. Actually, I left a message for them, and they returned the call within a few hours.
The nurse I spoked with was concerned, and after she spoke with the doctor she called me back and instructed me to call the neurology clinic and let them know what was going on. Since it was now nearly 5pm, and the majority of my symptoms had dissipated, I decided to wait until Monday, the 21st, to call.
On Monday I called and, after listening to the message which stated that my call would be returned within 48 hours, I left a message describing what had happened and what my primary doctor’s office had advised. The 48 hours came and went, and no return call. Since this was Thanksgiving week, I knew there was no chance of a return call after Wednesday.
On Monday, the 28th, I again called, and this time left a rather nasty message. I got a return call yesterday, little over 24 hours after my call. I was told that they had received the first message, but due to the holiday they had been unable to get back to me. The woman I spoke with stated that she had over a hundred messages when she came in on the 28th. Hmmmm, let’s think about this for a moment. IF they had been checking their messages the week before, would they have had a hundred messages on the 28th. It’s possible, seeing as how the office was closed for at least two days the week before. However, there was nothing on their message that stated, “Due to the holiday we will return calls as soon as we are done stuffing ourselves this week.” If there had been any indication that my original call would not be returned until the clinic was back after the holiday I probably would not have been as pissed.
I guess I look at it like this, if you say you are going to call me back in 48 hours, call me back. If there is a reason, whatever kind of reason, that you can’t, at least let me know so I am not thinking that you are ignoring me. I know my medical problems are not ignoring me.
I did talk to one of the nurses at the neuro clinic, and she advised that my test results from the spinal tap I had were in. Most of the results were within the “normal” range, however there were some that she did not understand, and were “different” than normal. I now have an appointment with the neurologist for tomorrow, December 1st. I should get the results of the LP then, and hopefully some sort of idea about what is going on.
I don’t know if I am expecting too much from the neurology department or not. I suppose that I am simply looking for them to be honest and forthright with what they say, and using a holiday week as an excuse for not returning calls is, to me, not forthright or honest. If there was to be a delay in returning calls, then they should have modified their message. Don’t leave patients thinking that you are going to get back to them within a specific time frame, and then not do it. If you are going to be closed, then let your patients know that fact on your message. To me it is the height of laziness not to take a few minutes to re-record your office message. If there is something in the phone system that prevents re-recording or changing the message, then perhaps the phone system needs tweaking.
There is really no excuse for leaving patients with the thought or hope that their medical concerns will be responded to in a timely manner when a simple change in the message will assuage their concerns or fears of being ignored. It is common sense.
So, tomorrow we will see what happens, and perhaps be able to move another step forward towards an answer.