Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Administrative Automatons.... Or... Kindly Fuck Off!...Can't You See We Do Not Give A Shit.... Dear.....

Hello Dhaaarlings...

You may have gathered from the title that Princess is not a happy Princess... 

Read on....

After spending a rain-swept and stormy day travelling on trains, trams, buses and waiting in waiting rooms at a busy public hospital for Doctors that don't seem to mind if they are running 2 hours behind with their appointment times.... We are no further advanced  or enlightened as to the Empress's condition...

After reviewing her scans, x-rays, test results and much chin rubbing and head scratching the Specialist announced...

"Well... I'm not sure what it is that I'm looking at!
There is definitely a lesion of some sort there but the scans don't help me much and I cannot say whether it is definitely benign or definitely malignant! You might need to have surgery to remove it and a plate made to be inserted where the piece of bone effected is removed or, you might not." Adding 

"In all my years I've never seen anything like this!"...

Which doesn't exactly fill one with confidence!

"I'll send you for an MRI Empress and get you back to see me Next Week!"

"Here's a request form to take to medical imaging on the way out and have them book you an appointment for later this week and come back and see me next Monday or the Monday after."

"Let them know that I've marked the form priority 1 Urgent"

Thank you Doctor... And it's off to see the medical imaging department.
And that's when the fun began!

"Hello... Can I help you?" says the disinterested voice of young and I know I'm good looking boy behind the counter... Though not even bothering to look up from his "Eye Pad"

"Yes hopefully you can" says I... "I need to book an MRI for later this week for the Empress as her doctor would like to see her with the results on Monday next week"

Vacant stare from "compared to you darling I know I'm almost a Foetus" Boy behind the counter... 

Suddenly it speaks...."Do you have a request form with you?"

"Yes" I say passing the request form through the slot in the Perspex screen ... "The Doctor has marked it as being urgent." I add...

Continued look if utter disinterest from foetus boy... "Mobile Phone Number?" it says looking down at the form... 

"Sorry but I don't have a mobile phone... but the number for my land line is already there on the form if that's any help" 

With a look of utter horror on its face it says "No mobile? then asks "Er... What's a land line?"

"Its old technology" I say... "You dial that number on the request form and a telephone on the wall in my home will ring, I'll hear the ringing and I'll walk over to it and pick up the receiver and say hello. If I don't happen to be home when you do ring a little machine that plugs into the telephone will record a message from you and if you leave a number I will  be able to ring you back"

"That's Weird!" Was the response..."Thank you... You can go now"

"But what about the appointment time?" I ask

"Yes...We'll send you out a letter with an appointment time"

"Excuse me but I don't think you have heard me... The doctor has sent us around here to make an urgent appointment in the next few days so that he can review the results with the Empress at another appointment with him next week..."

"Yes" it says letting out a sigh of what I can only interpret as... Oh god another anxious old queen... "I heard what you said and we will send you out a letter with an appointment date and time"

"A letter? The doctor has marked the request urgent.. stating that he wanted the scan done before the end of this week? Have you even read the request form? We live in the country and need time to arrange for transport to get here... How long will a letter take"

"Oh... usually Six to Eight Weeks...." it says nonchalantly... not even batting an eyelash!

"You have got to be joking!" I say.... "Six to eight weeks for an urgent request? But the Doctor wants us back here next week with the results. Six to eight weeks of waiting for an "urgent" appointment is just ridiculous....I can't understand what it is that can be so difficult about making a booking now while we are here"

"You'!" ejaculates the now sneering Foetus Boy, turning his back to me in an attempt at dismissal...

By this stage I'm ready to jump the counter and bitch slap little precious...

Next thing I know.... Matronly supervisor who has been sitting silently, staring fixedly at the computer screen in front of her... quietly keeping an ear on the intercourse.... slowly... like an old crone... raises her head while turning on her swivelling office chair of a perch to face our direction... at the same time skilfully managing not to make direct eye contact (I'd say she's had years of experience at this) states in her dry old spinsters voice...

"Excuse me dear... We don't make appointments here on the spot... that is our policy dear... Our hands are tied...That's just the way it is... And we don't make the rules... If the Doctor wants an urgent appointment he will contact us directly.
Otherwise you just have to wait your turn like everybody else.".....

And just as slowly and skilfully returns to her silent state of immobility before the computer screen.

"I know that you have policies to follow... and normally I would quite cheerfully accept what you are saying and would't be concerned had the doctor not sent us here straight from the appointment with him to make an urgent booking for an MRI for the Empress... Is there nothing that either of you are prepared to do to assist us?"




Then... Foetus Boy turns and speaks with a look on its face as if it has just scraped something nasty from its shoe...

"You'll get a letter in the mail"

"Well.... Thank you both very much for your help" I replied with a smile.... 

"The pair of you are shining examples of absolutely appalling customer service and... may I say... possess such a dearth of interpersonal communication skills ...I am quite certain.... are something that both you and the hospital of which you represent can be very proud" 

And having said that... left them sitting...smiling proudly at each other.

So my darlings.... What to do from here?

The plan is to contact the Specialist and inform him of our current dilemma... to see if he can't do the request directly himself. Failing that, I will be making quite the nuisance of myself with the medical imaging department on a several times a day phone call basis... Of course I'll be on the land line darlings...

Oh... and a letter of concern to the patient complaints department regarding their helpful medical imaging booking clerks.

I really don't know what other options we have other than to wait and see...


  1. First off, let me say that you handled this better than i, who would have been tempted to leap over the counter and strangle both young and old alike.
    Hopefully, something will get done, because, you know, urgent isn't SIX TO EIGHT F%KING WEEKS!

    That said....
    This slayed me: "Its old technology" I say... "You dial that number on the request form and a telephone on the wall in my home will ring, I'll hear the ringing and I'll walk over to it and pick up the receiver and say hello. If I don't happen to be home when you do ring a little machine that plugs into the telephone will record a message from you and if you leave a number I will be able to ring you back"

  2. That's just insane: a confused specialist and inert bureaucrats.

    Sending best wishes that it gets sorted out ASAP for The Empress.

  3. Thanks Bob
    I love Frreaking out the young things these days with tales of old technologies, like Record Players, Stamps and letter writing with a pen and paper or even really old pen nib and ink bottle! Walkman cassette tapes really freak them out!

  4. Thanks Mr Lax

    My levels of frustration will not permit inactivity! Let the games begin!

  5. Hello Princess:
    Well, we think that you have been unbelievably restrained about all of this.

    It is all so very worrying and stressful that it is just not acceptable for you both to have been treated in this way. We know from our own very recent experiences that speed is the essence in these situations both with respect to dealing with the problem itself and in alleviating the stress of waiting. You are right to keep fighting. Unfortunately, this can tend to be all that one can do and does, again sadly, tend to produce results.

    Whatever, our thoughts are with you at this most difficult of times and we do wish you a speedy resolution.

  6. How you didn't jump over the counter and throttle the foetus is beyond me!
    But the way you explained a land line is hilarious! lol

    For the sake of everyone(but mostly YOU)I hope you don't have to wait 6-8weeks.

  7. I recently kept a doctor waiting for an hour...the shoe was on the other foot for a change. I HAD to smile.

    You've been very patient but sharpen those claws for round two.

  8. Doctor's receptionists who do they think they are? God! that's who. Put them in a tabbard with a name badge and they become insane with power. What do you want to see the doctor about? (they so fond of asking).

    I'm a non smoker and I've had a cough for over a month now. I just can't seem to shift it. It's worse in the mornings and in the past few days I've been hacking up blood and bits of lung, is it possible to see the doctor today?

    "There's no way the doctor can see you today. The earliest he could see you is two weeks on Thursday at 5:30pm, in the meantime you could always pop along to boots and buy yourself some strepsils."

    Oh thank you O'fount of all medical knowledge I shall.

    I would have thought it was the duty of the specialist to make those types of appointments. It is a worry, isnt' it? Hope all goes well.

  9. People who work in hospitals sometimes become jaded and indifferent to sickness. It's a protection mechanism. That and they are cruel heartless gatekeeper bitches.

    I still hold out hope that this is all a waste of time and nothing is wrong with the Empress.

  10. Well done you. An assault charge would have done the Empress no good (even though I'd have been cheering you on, while holding your coat).

    Loved the description of the 'old technology'.

    I have faith the Consultant will shake them up.