Thursday, 25 July 2013

Appointment Time Tombola

Well hello there! Another pause in my updates, but this time a legitimate one - I was on holiday! The lovely boyfriend and I went glamping in Cornwall. We stayed in a yurt, it was pretty epic.

I had an appointment with the endocrinologists last Thursday. That sentence makes it sound so simple - but of course, before I could get to see a doctor I had to first negotiate the administrative no-man's land that encircles my endocrinologists as though they were a small patch of strategically valuable land just south of Ypres. Their administrative systems certainly appear to be about a hundred years old.

On my return from my holiday, I was expecting a letter from the hospital informing me that I had an appointment at the end of July. What I got was a letter from the hospital informing me that I had an appointment at the end of October. As I had just had a full round of blood tests in preparation for the putative end-of-July appointment, this seemed even more stupid than usual.

So, of course, I telephoned them. And discovered that the usual method of getting hold of anyone at the hospital (dial number; doggedly hold onto receiver while it rings 40~ times; hang up and try again later) had been changed to an even more infuriating system, whereby the phone will only ring three times before you are transferred back to an automated message informing you that "This extension does not answer" and requesting that you dial 1 to try again, or 2 to leave a message. After three doses of this eerily robotic speech, I gave up and left a message. Like some kind of naïve idiot.

Obviously I didn't hear back from them, so I called again and again and after dialling 1 so repeatedly that I feared breaking the button, I reached a human. I introduced myself and mentioned that I had left a message. She said "Oh yes, Emer, I have your message right here actually." I said, "Ok, great."

Then there was a long pause.

Eventually she said "So, how can I help you?"

"How about by DEALING WITH THE ISSUE I CLEARLY EXPLAINED IN MY MESSAGE?" was what I did not shout at her, because I am used to this by now and understand that the endocrine admin staff believe that actually responding to messages dilutes the soul.

Anyway, I repeated everything I'd said and she informed me that a number of appointments for July and August had been pushed back to October (no, no-one deigned to explain why), and I could not possibly get another appointment before that date. It took quite a bit of arguing, and pointing out that I was currently taking a medication (hydrocortisone) which was quite possibly medically unnecessary but which I would have to continue to take until I saw an endocrinologist to get the results of my latest synacthen test, to get passed to the booking manager. Then I had to go through it all again but eventually she offered me a cancelled appointment in two days time.

I had intended this post to be about the results of that appointment, but it looks like we'll have to save that joy for another day. I do feel a great sense of post-rant relief however! Phew!

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