Last week: (Calls to ask about upcoming appointment in Austin)
So, this is for the procedure, too?
Phone Answerer (lowest on totem pole): Um, no, it’s just a consult.
Me: I’m coming from a long way away, they said we could do it as a one stop.
PAer: They didn’t tell us that.
Me: I was on the phone with them when they did.
PAer: No, see, that’s a different process, we need your records.
Me: I was told they were sent yesterday.
PAer: They were, but we didn’t know you wanted a one stop, so we sent them downstairs.
Me: But that’s why they sent them yesterday, when they asked for the one stop.
PAer: They dropped the ball.
Me: Can someone pick it the fuck back up, then? (not said aloud)
The Scheduler: Hi, how are you? I’m the scheduler, they said you wanted a one stop visit?
Me: I’m fine, how are you?
The Scheduler: Oh, I’m behind, I’ve had allergies and the flu and just anything else you can get in Tex….
Me: OH GEE THAT’S TOO BAD. Yes, I want the one stop.
TS: Okay, we can do that on X date, and I’ll be sending you a packet with hotel information and directions.
Me: Great, can you also answer some other questions I have?
TS: No, you need to talk to the doctor’s assistant for that. I’ll send her email in the packet.
[“packet” shows up two days later, via email, and it’s a scan of a xerox of a xerox of a xerox]
Me: [emails list of questions to medical assistant, with lots of “I know you are busy” and “maybe email is easier” “sorry so many questions”]
Two days later, calls medical Assistant, reaches voicemail that says Medical Assistant is out until the 18th, gives number for other person to call.
Me: Calls and leaves voicemail for that person.
Me: Calls the next morning.
Emails The Scheduler: Very sorry, know you are busy, really need questions answered, lots of things to arrange, etc.
Calls Fancy Pants Office in El Paso that referred me, finagles promise from receptionist that manager will call Austin.
Gets call from Austion
TS: I understand you wanted us to call you, and the manager in El Paso called us?
Me: Yes, thank you, I’m sorry, but I have to have this one piece of information and…
TS: Well, I *was* going to get back to you, but we’re just really busy here.
Me: I’m so sorry, but I do need this information since I’m driving 10 hours each way.
TS: Hold on, I’ll put you on with What’s Her Name.
Sucky hold music.
TS: What’s her name is on the phone with a patient. She’ll call you back.
WHN: Hi, what can I do for you?
Me: Well, sorry, know you’re busy, but have this pressing concern and….
WHN: You should see the pile of paper I have on MY desk.
Me: (goes into stupid child mode) oh, yeah, sure, but really need to get an answer to this and I do have a life and such to make arrangements and…
WHN: Well, so you want (something VERY GODDAMNED COMMON)? We don’t process those for at least a week.
Me: Um, okay. Well, can you give me this one tiny bit of information?
WHN: (gives it grudgingly, stresses how busy she is)
WHN: Haven’t you had a consultation with the Doctor?
Me: no, we are coming from New Mexico so are doing a one-stop
WHN: Well, I know some people *think* that would be easier but then you don’t have all the information.
Me: Which is why I commenced this odyssey.
WHN: I am not your doctor’s assistant, so I can’t answer these questions, but when your doctor’s assistant does get in on Monday I’ll have her call you then or on Tuesday. She has a big pile of paper to work through, too.
Me: sure, yes, of course.