Pre-Operative Counseling and Lab Testing, or Institutional Idiocy On Parade

Glad I took the day off for my appointments today, because I’m still trying to figure out what the hell went on.
First Susan and I got to meet a very nice Nurse Practitioner who took a comprehensive medical history….this I can understand. However, then she had me drop my trousers, bend over and she put sticky sensors against both sides of my sphincter, at the base of my scrotum and on my abdomen. I’m not shy and after a career in the military, I’m used to bending over for authority, so it was just another day in Paradise. Then she had me spend the next half hour demonstrating my ability to do “pelvic floor muscle exercises;” most women will know them as Kegeles, but since I’m a male and I’m not similarly equipped, I refer to them as Male Kegeles or Guygeles…they’re the same only different. I guess I passed the test, because my “personal trainer” let us go with the admonition to buy some absorbent pads and keep to the exercise routine. She obviously had a good sense of humor, because she told me, “if after your surgery you see me in the hallway, be assured I’ll remember who you are. You don’t have to bend over and drop your pants to jog my memory.”
Next it was off to the laboratory for pre-surgical testing. It was clearly marked on my checklist, with room number, time and phone number. The following is nearly a word-for-word transcript:
Intake specialist: “Yes sir, how may I help you?”
Me, handing her the four page checklist I received in the mail: “I’m here for pre-surgical lab work.”
Intake specialist: “Of course sir. What will we be doing for you today.”
Me: “Beats the hell out of me. Over the past two months you folks have taken at least three liters of blood and several plugs of tissue from an organ that I’ve grown up with. I honestly don’t know what else you can possibly need.”
Intake specialist: “Ummm….Nobody told you why you need to come here?”
Me: “Nope. I honestly don’t have a clue.”
Intake specialist: “Well sir, would you please have a seat and I’ll try to sort this out.” She then handed me a pager device, much like what they give you at a restaurant when they don’t want you to just sit down and eat, but try to steer you to the bar for an additional $40 drinks tab.
Twenty minutes later the pager goes off and I go back to the Intake specialist.
IS: “I think we have it all sorted out. You’re having bariatric surgery and we need to do some upper GI testing.”
Me: “Nope. I had bariatric surgery nearly four years ago. I’m here to have my prostate removed before it gets too much more of a head start toward killing me.”
IS: “Oh dear. Please have a seat and I’ll call you shortly.”
Obviously “shortly” has a specific medical connotation different from normal society, because Susan and I sat there for another 45 minutes before my, “Your table is ready” pager went off again.
IS: “I think we have it all sorted out. We need some blood tests to determine you blood type, clotting factor and organ functions.
Me: “Is it normal for a person’s blood type to change over time?”
IS: “Oh no sir.
Me: “You have access to my electronic medical records. Would you please call them up and tell me what my blood type used to be?”
Now I know she’s just doing her job, but I firmly believe that institutional idiocy needs to have it’s nose tweaked whenever possible.  The IS smiled sweetly, but uncomfortably and breathed an obvious sigh of relief when the laboratory door opened and they called my name.
I entered the Inner Sanctum and a very pretty young lady escorted me to a chair and asked me to roll up my sleeve.
Me: “I assume you are going to draw blood, but can you tell me why and for what purpose?”
Very pretty phlebotomist: “Sure, we need to make sure of your blood type, clotting factor and current organ functions.”
Me: “Don’t you already have all that in my records?”
Very pretty phlebotomist: “Of course, but this wouldn’t be a hospital if we didn’t try to pad your bill by at least $1000. You must have very good insurance, because you’re getting the whole spectrum of tests today.”
FINALLY! An honest answer that I could live with. She proceeded to make me bleed into several test tubes; gave me a 100 Terawatt smile, a cotton ball and Band-Aid and sent me on my way.
Mission complete. Now all I have to do is wait another 7 days for all the “fun” to really begin.
Just keeping you up to date on the journey while studiously doing my Guygeles (ladies, do you get cramps in your…you know where, when you do kegeles or is it just a male thing?) Everyone else: trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve gotten a cramp in your Willie.
Have an intentionally great and sanguine day.

By | 2013-09-23T21:37:12-04:00 September 23rd, 2013|Cancer, Honesty, Integrity|1 Comment

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  1. Elizabeth Travis September 24, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Sounds about right. When I went for pre surgical testing for the removal of ovaries, I was told I couldn’t have the surgery because I am pregnant. I’m 53, just finished 10 rounds of high dose chemo, 60 radiation treatments and I’m pregnant???? Now what? I said repeat the test, you have bad results…No, the hospital could not do that, I had to go to my dr, a 45 min ride to have the test repeated. Another dr’s visit, a repeat blood test, $750 more added to bill,results- not preggers. Other test was “false positive”. An hour drive to get back home, rush hour traffic held me up, I am exhausted, I have not recovered from treatment, walk into the house and the “dear” family yells ‘hey ma, what’s for dinner?’. Trying to the body and soul, yes, insurmountable, no. All you need is a funnybone, and Rich, you have one. ( In my thoughts and prayers….)

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