Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You Test Me/I Test You

We've all had  them--one sort or another, right? Blood tests, mammograms, bone density scans. Recently, my mom has also had an electrocardiogram, a test of her carotid artery, and a test of her pacemaker. These tests are all fairly straightforward. Present the order from the doctor and done! The next thing you know you are home petting the cat and having a martini.

Except when you're marooned on planet ultrasound for 4 hours.

My mom had an ultrasound of her legs today. She was referred by the podiatrist who perceived some circulation issues. This is a good thing. But some information would have made it an even better thing. Forget that we showed up yesterday (because that's what the form said) and the ultrasound place had her on the calendar for today. Human error. I get that. What I object to is not informing the patient that this a long test. At least 45 minutes minus any waiting time. And that afterwards there will be a consultation with the vascular surgeon. And he's way behind. And the bathrooms are a mile down the hall, and the key is fucking impossible to work. And there should be a picnic lunch, goddamn-it, if you keep an old person in your office for over four hours. I asked for glasses of water. And a blanket because apparently global warming and how it relates to excessive use of fossil fuel is unknown to the medical profession. Not to mention that older people are often chilly--and who is likely to visit a vascular surgeon?  You know the answer.  The next words out of my mouth were going to be, "We'll take two pastramis on rye and be sure to include the pickles," but right about then the doctor walked in.

And he was a great guy, the doctor. Attentive. Not rushed. Answered what questions we could muster with our blood sugar in some cavern near the center of the earth. He apparently read my post yesterday--and looked at my mom when he spoke to her.

And probably my mom will have an in-office procedure to improve the circulation in one of her legs. We're gonna sleep on it.


Elizabeth said...

I have to admit that I'm sort of amazed that, apparently, all the improvements in healthcare quality that have been in the works for the last decade don't seem to have hit geriatrics. Appalling.

Suz said...

you crack me up
and I am happy the doctor was attentive
it is your sense of humor that gets you through
all this....glad they caught the circulation problem before she had some real problems..which could become real problems for you too....
good daughter you are....

N2 said...

Hang on to your great sense of humor, Denise. It's gotten you this far... x0 N2