Isn’t it lovely: today I do not have to go to the Mayo!
Friday I drove out to the clinic on the far side of Scottsdale, having been summoned by the medical oncologist WonderSurgeon works with. When I asked them what the appointment was for, they told me it was “a six-month followup.” So I say, “Follow-up to WHAT? What’s this conversation going to be about?” You understand, it’s a fifty-mile round trip and I don’t want to spend two hours and a quarter-tank of gas to schlep out there for nothing. She refused to tell me. When I got the printed “itinerary” that the Mayo sends to announce upcoming appointments, I saw I wasn’t even supposed to see the doc — they had me set up to see a nurse practitioner.
So I fly up to the check-in desk just after the appointed hour, having gotten caught up in a gigantic traffic jam and also having discovered that the Morons were swarming — you never saw so many idiot drivers in your LIFE! The receptionist checks me in and then says oh! wait!
“Your appointment isn’t until Monday.”
“WHAT! Holy shit.”
So I say, “Is there somebody I could talk with who could tell me what it is they want to discuss with me? I don’t understand why I’m being hauled out here — and I don’t have either the time to spend on driving two hours back and forth or the money to waste on the gasoline. Could this conversation take place over the phone?” It takes me some doing to make this register with her, but finally she gets it and she tells me to go over to a house phone hanging on a wall across the room — yeah, one of those hard-wired things with the curly cord — and dial an extension into oncology.
This I do. Naturally, they stick me on hold until a nurse can talk to me. I sit on the floor, open my computer, and rack up 15 minutes of billable time reading a client’s manuscript while listening to loud, obnoxious Muzak.
Finally a nurse gets on the phone. I explain AGAIN that it’s an absurdly long drive, that I’m trying to run a business, and that I don’t have the time to come schlepping out unless there’s a very good reason for it. Would she please tell me why I’m being asked to traipse to the far side of East Scottsdale?
She looks in the records and, after much rumination, finally says, “This appointment was made last September. Uhmm…I see you’ve already had…ahem…several lumpectomies.”
Interesting way to describe a double mastectomy.
“Well, yeah. Actually, I don’t have anything left on my body to discuss.”
“You had no invasive cancer?”
“Well, this was a routine follow-up. Since you’ve talked to Dr. WonderSurgeon, there’s no need for another appointment with us.”
So that was only slightly infuriating.
The trip wasn’t entirely wasted. I needed some specific items available most easily at a specific store located on the fringes of Richistan, so I was able to drop by there on the way home and pick up that junk, plus I made a quick visit to the Whole Foods across the street from the desired emporium.
But I could have billed three hours that morning, not the fifteen minutes I managed to crank out while sitting on the floor of the Mayo’s waiting room.