Office Rules vs. Breast Cancer

It’s Tuesday.  #5 chemotherapy treatment is Wednesday.

To make sure I had my standard appointment to see the oncologist during the time the stuff is dripping into my chest, I called the doctor’s office at 0930 this morning between meetings.

Kelly answered the phone.  “Your appointment was at 0900 this morning,” she said, a little accusingly.

“No, that can’t be right.  I wouldn’t have made an appointment for the Tuesday before chemo.  I’m at work.”

Kelly checked.  Apparently someone made this appointment for me because the doctor is out of the office on Wednesday, and telling me about it fell through the cracks.  These things happen.  But when Kelly said, “Well…is there anything specific you wanted to talk to the doctor about?” I could sense that my one-on-one visit with my oncologist was about to be blown off.  And yes, there’s something specific.  There are about thirty specifics I need to ask about.  So here’s how the interchange went.

Me:  “Will the doctor be in on Thursday?”  (Knowing I have the whole day off and will be in the office myself to get my Neulasta injection.)

Kelly:  “She’s in her other office on Thursday.” (The one that’s five miles from my home, not the office that’s twenty-five miles away.)

Me:  “Can I see her in her other office?”

Kelly:  “We don’t allow patients to be seen in more than one office, their charts aren’t there.”

Me:  “I can hand-carry my chart to the doctor on Thursday morning.”

Kelly:  “We don’t allow patients to hand-carry their charts.”

Me:  (Losing it.  Just a bit.)  “OK, look.  I’m a cancer patient, fighting for my life, and you’re telling me I can’t see my doctor five miles from my house.  I have to make another appointment and drive fifty miles round-trip because my chart can’t be moved from one office to another.”

Kelly:  “I’ll have the doctor call you…”

And she did.  She broke the rules and will see me Thursday morning.  I’m a little embarrassed about my brief hissy-fit; it’s not my standard approach, but I recognize it’s related to this being the Tuesday before chemo-Wednesday before chemo-Friday.  As calm and strong as I want to be, the couple of days leading up to a chemotherapy treatment smack me with the reality of my disease.  I’m edgy.

And like anyone, not happy about the thought of taking more time off work and driving an extra fifty miles to see my doctor because someone scrambled the appointment book and the office rules make it better for the office staff.

This dealing with breast cancer would be so much easier if I didn’t have breast cancer.

“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”        Proverbs 18:10

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