I try to be a compliant patient. Really I do. When the nurse called me on Tuesday, I told her I had to look at my schedule before I could make an appointment for my three-hour glucose tolerance test. She said she’d make a note to call and remind me if I didn’t. And I did make an appointment for the test. I called Borgess Women’s Health back and was transferred down to central scheduling and tried to make an appointment for 8 this morning. They couldn’t take me then, but said I could come in at 9 as long as I wasn’t late. And I thought, gee, I hope that Borgess Women’s Health makes sure to send the lab order down because it wasn’t in the system yet when I made the appointment. But it was only about ten minutes after I’d spoken with the nurse that I did make the appointment, so I trusted them to do what they needed to do.
And so this morning, my mom and I headed off to the market at 7:30 so that we could be to Borgess well in advance of my 9am appointment. Part of our thinking was that maybe, just maybe, they’d be able to get me in early. We never got the chance to find out. I had an appointment, all right, but there was no lab order. And patient intake couldn’t schedule me for next weekend because you have to go through central scheduling to do that. (I would like to point out that they have an EMR. There is no reason that intake shouldn’t have been able to schedule me.) The woman who was trying to check me in is named Lori. She apologized profusely that the lab couldn’t run my test because there was no order. She made a note to follow up with people on Monday when Borgess Women’s Health is open again. She told me she, personally, would make sure that there was a lab order when I came back in. She started to give me the number for central scheduling, which I told her I didn’t need. (Because of where I work, I deal with both hospitals a lot. I know their main numbers.) She gave me her card and told me to call her on Monday to make sure we got everything taken care of. She was everything you would want in customer service. Remember that. ‘Cause it’s going to go downhill from here.
I’m sure you can understand that I was livid. I was tired. I was hungry. I was frustrated. I was mad at Borgess Women’s Health for not doing what they were supposed to do when I had done what I was supposed to do.
So my mom and I do what you do in these situations. We went out to breakfast. And while we waited for our food, I called Borgess. I asked for scheduling for the lab. I was transferred to the lab. I said I would like to schedule a three-hour glucose tolerance test, please. I was told I didn’t need to make an appointment for that. I informed her that, in fact, for a three-hour test, I did need to make an appointment. She transferred me to central scheduling. An automated voice told me that they were closed. I called back. I asked for scheduling for the lab. The operator, or whoever they had answering the phone, complained that she didn’t know what number that was. But despite her inability to look up a number without being polite about it, I was transferred to the lab. I said I would like to schedule a three-hour glucose tolerance test, please. She asked if I’d been cut off because hadn’t she just transferred me. I explained that there was a message that they were closed. She grumbled something about how outpatient services are open right now. (At least she recognized that someone should have answered the phone.) She asked me to hold on for a minute. A man answered the phone. I said I would like to schedule a three-hour glucose tolerance test, please. He told me I would have to talk to central scheduling. I told him that I’d been transferred there already and they were closed. He said well, you have to go through them, I can’t help you. I gritted my teeth as I said thank you and hung up. (Yes, I really said please every single time. My momma done raised me up right.)
My mom’s comment was that they clearly had the “D” team working on Saturday. Except for Lori. I just have to keep telling myself that one person gave me excellent customer service today. One person made it clear she was doing everything in her power to rectify the system. One. Out of five. I spoke with at least four different people on the phone. I’m being kind and not counting the automated message I got from central scheduling. I suppose we can give half a star to the woman at the lab who was clearly frustrated that she’d transferred me to a line that should have been answered, but it would have been nice if she’d at least told me who she was going to try and transfer me to that second time. So I’ll raise their grade. 1.5/5.
And Monday? I apologize to whichever nurse I wind up speaking with at Borgess Women’s Health. Chances are it will not be the same person I spoke with on Tuesday. I’ve been working on my “I Feel” statement. (Thank you, Mrs. Ward’s middle school “Life Skills” class! I quote you more than most of my pre-college teachers!) How does this sound? “Borgess Women’s Health, when you didn’t submit the order to the lab, I felt frustrated because I had followed through with scheduling, prepping for, and meeting an appointment like you asked me to.” I’m still not totally happy with the “because” part of the statement. It doesn’t quite follow the formula that Mrs. Ward taught us, but I’m working hard not to go straight into bitchy territory with it. Maybe “because I know how important patient compliance is for treatment.” Or “because you’re really messing with my ability to do anything else in my life except go to work and sit in the lab getting my blood drawn and I really need to get the baby’s room ready so that I can beg my strong, manly cousins to move a marble top dresser from my parents’ house to my place on the 4th of July, and I know they’ll do it because they are awesome guys, but they’ll possibly (probably) still complain about it even though the meat never gets on the grill at the time that we plan for it to happen so there will be plenty of time for us to make a run moving one slightly (very) heavy piece of furniture.”
Yeah, that last one is probably a little too much… But I do think “frustrated” is definitely the correct feeling to express. And come Monday? Well, Monday, I’ll call the lab, and I’ll call Borgess Women’s Health, and I’ll call Lori. And it will all be fine. Plus, I have Centering on Thursday. I’m going to make sure they give me a copy of the lab order. There will be no excuse for them this time.