Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Sometimes, I surprise myself, and am proud of myself. But today the surprise is painfully embarrassing.

Yesterday when I was at the oncologist, an older woman and her husband came in. They signed in, and were greeted (which is unusual in itself but that’s another story) by someone at the desk.

They ascertained this was her first visit to the office. She was laden with a portable file folder and several manilla envelopes. She was asked if she had been mailed the volumes of pages that comprised the questionnaire for the office. She replied she had, then proceeded to search for it.
Naturally several of the envelopes fell to the floor. Her husband was still there with her at this time, and he picked them up. She put things into a hasty order, and they began to go over the form.

She has checked that she had advanced directives. When the clerk asked about them, she began searching through the portable file. The advanced directive was there, and she produced it. She then began looking for the Power of Attorney. It was not there.

As she became more distressed, her husband went to a couch, got a magazine, and sat down. She searched furtively stating that the original must be in the safe at her daughter’s house, but it had been filed at the courthouse.

She was becoming more and more distressed. I was amazed at the calm demeanor of the clerk. She was assuring the lady over and over that the document was not needed, just to ascertain that she did have one. The lady by this time was in complete "finding mode." She was going to find that document. She was going to stay there until that happened.

Smugly, I sat there thinking how glad I was that I had already signed in and was sitting in the waiting room!

My appointment went very long, That was mostly due to the fact that the lovely new hospital I resided in for the mastectomy does not really have their act together. Here we were ten days post op, and the report from that surgery had not been sent to the oncologist. That was the document he wanted - nothing else, and we weren’t going any further until he got it. Thank goodness for fax machines!

After my wait in the exam room of over two hours, guess who was at check out! Yep. Since she was new, they had ordered all sorts of other tests. I think she was going to have a PET done. She was so confused with all that was going on, and I guess loving husband was still on his ass in the waiting room.

I was so tired that I was a little upset that she was going to be checking out for a while. I knew from the checking in procedure. Sure enough, when she was looking over the paperwork, she came to NPO. I know her physician went over all this while she was in the exam room, but she didn’t know what that meant. They explained everything to her again. I signed internally.

Patients are beginning to pile up behind me to check out. I was not understanding - at all.
After we left, I brought this up to G. He put the proper spin on the situation. She probably has brain cancer, she was scared, and she had never had to deal with this type of thing before. We both remarked about how wonderful the staff at the oncology clinic handled the situation.

Now I am ashamed of myself. I need to be more caring about others . Cancer is a scary thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are all human and it isn't unreasonable for you to get upset. Lots of emotions are going to get the best of you. Hang in there....it's ok to become upset and if your clinic offers mental health visits take them up on the offer. Good luck with the chemo.