Postcards from Camp
Beautiful Day for a Walk

The Joys of Blood Work

So, I have to get blood work done before each of my chemotherapy sessions. Normally I make an appointment at the lab up the street from me. I try to get in pretty early because I don't particularly enjoy fasting and abstaining on the day appointed. Well, I waited a little too long this time and the earliest time I could get was 10:00 Thursday. Oh well.

Then I realized that I work obligations on Thursday - sprint planning, which my Agile Methodology friends might roll their eyes at, and my one-on-one with my newish boss. The appointment totally conflicted with sprint planning an bumped right up against my one-on-one.

Well, damn.

Then I remembered - the health center where I get my CT scans, mammograms, and chemo had a lab, no appointment necessary! Since I had no meetings today, I toddled on over there first thing this morning. And I had it under control, too - I had my scrips, my insurance card, my FSA card, everything I might need, including an empty stomach.

Speaking of my scrips, I had three of them. In the past, my doc has taken a single form, checked off the tests she wants, and gives it to me. Simple.

Now, however, the overall health network/conglomerate has installed a new patient portal, which links everything together.  All charts are now online. My PCP can see everything; my oncologist can see everything; everybody can see everything as long as they're all in the same network.

So I get to the health center and - mirabile dictu! - there is NO ONE in the waiting room! I sign in and go right back to registration. My registrar pal Jen pulls up my chart, I sign on the weird pad, everything is hunky dory, right?

Um, no. Two of the three scrips are labeled with a "STAT" priority. I explain that no, it really isn't STAT. I get these done every month right before my chemo. See, the date of the order is March; my chemo is next Tuesday. Jen's in a bind because the lab doesn't do STAT tests and the system is set up so that she cannot change STAT scrips. I run upstairs to the Cancer Center to see if the doc can change STAT to ROUTINE and initial, thereby giving Jen the permission she needs to go ahead.

The Cancer Center is closed up tight. Jen and I decide to wait and see if anybody arrives to open it. No one does. I wait some more until Jen is finished with another patient and tell her that I'm going to go on over to the main hospital, where they can do these damn STAT priority tests.

It's not a terribly long drive - 15 miles - but it's rush hour (still) so it takes a little over a half hour. Then I have to wait my turn to register again. Finally, I go to the lab and I get right in! The tech is great, I'm done in five minutes, and off I go to work. I get there at lunchtime, instead of at nine.

I stayed nice throughout the frustrating morning, even though I was hangry and grumpy, because it wasn't anybody's fault. It was just a wee bump in the road.

So, what have I learned, Dorothy? I will be sure to check the scrips before I leave the Cancer Center!