Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take a Number

strict nurse cartoons, strict nurse cartoon, strict nurse picture, strict nurse pictures, strict nurse image, strict nurse images, strict nurse illustration, strict nurse illustrations Today was one of those days where I  was cursing the health care system...not because its government run and has moments of inefficiencies but because I think I had to deal with 5 or 6 of the grumpiest, nastiest people in Calgary.  The test I needed today was to measure the glucose in my blood 2 hours after eating.  You cant make an appointment for that nor can you be a walk-in to take a number.  You have to go in, tell them you wont take a number but you don't have an appointment.   This seemed pretty straight forward to me...and being as this test is used to monitor for diabetes, it cant be all that rare.  So imagine my surprise when the lab at "Sloane Square" seemed angry about my visit there this morning.  To add to it both the transplant centre people AND the appointment hotline (Calgary Lab Services) told me to eat, come right to the lab and sit for an hour and a half.  So I did.  Much to the annoyance of one Grumpypantess at the lab.

"You are way too early.  Why would you come this early?"
"They told me to on the phone and at Foothills"
"Well you should just go shop or something because we can't deal with you yet"
"That's fine I'll just go read my book"
"Do what you want".

So for an hour and a half I did just that.  Finally it was time to go back up to the counter of warm (hostile) faces.  A new lady was there. Let's call her the Number Nazi.

"Do you have an appointment?"  I opened my mouth to start to attempt an answer.
"Take a number!!" She barked.  Thankfully one of the other ladies saw me and said "No don't-I will help you when I am done with this lady". The other lady looked irritated "Oh you have been helped?".  I thought no but someone who doesn't hate people is about to.The nicer lady at the desk was quite helpful and did my paperwork.  I took a seat and waited for my name to be called. 

The Number Nazi came out and yelled "Lorraine?  Lorraine Henswell?"  No one moved.  My name has been butchered in the past but really?  This much?  I timidly asked "Do you mean Lauren??" "Ohhh.  Yes" she sneered.  "My apologies".

I was brought to a room where I was told to wait.  Eventually a man walked past the room...the Number Nazi told him he should be helping me next.  He looked at my paperwork from about 6 feet away and barked "She doesn't have an appointment-appointments first!" and walked away.
A few minutes late he circled back and apologized for the wait and told me I wouldn't wait had I just made an appointment (I wasn't complaining!!).  I told him I couldn't make one.  He insisted I could.  After a bit of back and forth he actually looked at my forms and said " you can't" and looked nervously at his watch to see if the 2 hour mark where they were supposed to take my blood had passed.  Thankfully it hadn't.  He then tried to still lecture me on how in general its better if people make appointments when they can and explained why my type of visit disrupted things a bit.  I listened but then politely pointed out that none of that was my fault or really my problem and it wasn't great to be treated as an irritant by a team of professionals. He responded by reminding me I needed to pee in a cup before I left. 

While hanging out in the waiting room and then going through this less than positive experience today, I realized I'm in a unique position. Going through the health care system as a totally healthy person brings an interesting perspective. Sometimes I'm treated differently (better) and other times I'm not. But what it gives me is a a really objective look at things because I'm not worrying about what's wrong with me or stuck in a waiting room feeling sickly or in pain. It gives you the freedom to just observe while legitimately using the system, which for the record I still think is pretty awesome.  I'm not saying it's perfect but if seems far superior than the alternative to the south. With all the medical fun I've had in the last few weeks between this and Charlie's mysterious joint ailment, I shudder to think what this would cost in a land where not everyone has the same access to health care. Somehow bad treatment from service providers is easier to tolerate when its free.

1 comment:

  1. My gawd you are extremely patient!