So, that didn’t take long. Except that it absolutely did.
Seven hours. My Lovely Bride™ and I spent seven hours dealing with my exam and consult at my surgeon’s office, including travel time to and from. Due to this, I got no sleep at all, and had to call off from work. Yay, another sick day gone that I’ll need some time later this year! But that’s neither here nor there. The important part is that we sat in the Doctor’s office waiting around for four of those hours, while he was in surgery.
At least they didn’t cancel on us and reschedule, I suppose.
Anyway, it was a draining, exhausting experience, and in the end got us really nowhere closer to getting this whole situation over with. We were supposed to just sit down with the Surgeon, talk a bit about what has lead us to his office, he’d explain what will be done in the surgery, then we’d schedule a date and go from there.
Cue the frantic setting up of FMLA (Federal Medical Leave Act) coverage and Short Term Disability before I go under the knife… Except, that didn’t happen.
Well, some of it did. While we were waiting, we had a preliminary once-over from the nurse, then after a good wait, a physician’s assistant came in and did the exam, as well as went over my history, to save the surgeon time.
And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more.
A clerk dropped in and offered us some water at one point, which we refused, then an hour or so later dropped in again, and I accepted that time. We’d been there a while, I was thirsty, damnit!
Eventually, the surgeon dropped in, as did the doctor he’s training. We had a chat about what led us to his door, and what he’s planning on doing. Also what I can expect out of the recovery process (spoiler: it’s going to suck). Then came another exam, by both doctors, because… of course?
Anyway, they finally leave, telling us to wait for the nurse to drop in, so we can get the surgery scheduled. Great, we can finally go home soon!
Except that didn’t happen.
We waited. And we waited some more. Then we waited some more. My Sweetie eventually went to the restroom, and when she came back, she left the door open, just to make sure we hadn’t been forgotten, and there were indeed still staff in the department. We could hear them chatting, but not what they were specifically stating, so don’t look at me like that.
When we were just getting our stuff and preparing to walk out, the nurse finally dropped in. She had a notebook for me, with all manner of information regarding my surgery to come. Yay, loots! Alas, she had very little else to offer, as – due to the Coronavirus overstressing the hospital’s capacity – they would not be able to give us a surgery date.
The main reason we were going to this appointment, and we were effectively leaving empty-handed, because of hysteria. You betcha I’m a tad miffed!
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, getting f*cked by the system.
Right, so no surgery date, because they are only scheduling Critical cases at this time, and they will get to me “when the schedule opens up”, which is to say, when the pandemic dies down. She’s hoping for April, like if it follows the pattern of common Influenza… except, as I pointed out, COVID-19 isn’t Influenza, and may not die down for a year or so.
My nurse started crying at that, and I felt bad. She’s just as frustrated as we are (I’m not sure she can be, but that’s what she said), but their hands are tied. But, even though my surgery isn’t considered to be critical, it is still a necessary heart surgery, so it falls before they get to the “more elective” work, like hip replacements. So at least there’s that.
Anyway, she might call us to schedule a date in April, maybe sometime later than that. We just don’t know. So now we wait… except they gave us some (mostly) busy work to get done.
First, I have to get an emergency dental appointment, so I can be cleared for heart surgery. A tooth infection (which I don’t have) could lead to massive complications, so they need to make sure it won’t be an issue. I get that one, it makes sense.
Next, the Imaging department should be calling to schedule an MRI of my brain, because okay, sure. I have epilepsy, and the heart surgeon wants to make sure my brain is fine, before they crack me open, because the surgery could cause a seizure or a stroke? Something like that? He might also refer me back to Neurology, because okay, why the f*ck not!
I also need to read that notebook they made up for me, so I’ll be familiar with everything, once we get closer to actually doing the surgery. Oh thank Gawd, I just love reading dry, medical stuff! Woot!
But, once they eventually call me to schedule a surgery date, I also have to come in and meet with this nurse again, as well as the Anesthesiologist, to do some pre-surgery stuff. Okay, I get that, too. At least it isn’t the usual thing, where the Anesthesiologist walks in the morning before your surgery, say “Hi!” quickly, before bounding off to go do whatever and you barely see them ever again. At least I might be in the right mind to ask them some questions at this appointment.
The big problem I have here is this: My entire life has been effectively in Wait-and-See mode for half a year now, due to this issue (and others, but mostly my heart issue). Now, when we should be moving forward, I’m right back in “Do all this stuff, then maybe, eventually, we’ll get your surgery taken care of”, which frankly sucks.
Now then, I work in Healthcare. Actually, I work for the same company I get my healthcare from, so believe me, I get why this is happening. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, nor will I. As a Red-Blooded, Gun-Owning, First-World American Man®, I have a Gawd-Given Right™ to bitch about inconveniences, damnit! Even if I work for the company, and understand why this is happening, I’m also allowed to BE THE PATIENT, and BE GAWD-DAMNED ANGRY ABOUT IT ALL!
Anyway, this sucks. My life is now not stuck in Neutral due to a heart condition, I’m effectively broken down on the side of the road, waiting for the car to get repaired, before my life can move forward again.
Thanks, COVID-19. By the way, anyone who says Socialized, Universal Medicine would be bad because we’d all have to wait for surgeries and such can F*CK RIGHT THE HELL OFF!