This joke’s on me

Last post, I acknowledged I need a booking boy to manage my patienthood. If you thought I was joking, I can assure you I wasn’t. Hear me out. Today’s story is timely.

One of my primary leukemia patient duties is to have blood drawn at the lab. (Leukemia, blood cancer, makes sense doesn’t it?) A few years ago, the labs instigated an appointment system which shortened the wait times considerably. I can book my appointment on line, show up just before the scheduled time, take a seat, and trust that my name will be called promptly.

Not everyone has as much lab experience as me, though. Those novice appointment makers check when they arrive that their name is on a posted list. Then they check off their attendance in the spot provided by their name. What they don’t realize is that the technicians who process their lab requisitions never look at the list, so there’s no real reason to check off their names.

But I’m smarter than that. I know when I arrive that my name will be on the list, so I bypass that step altogether, take a seat, and await the calling of my name. The lab I normally attend is very punctual, and I can count on hearing my name within 10 or so minutes of the scheduled time. Today I arrived on time, took my seat, and chuckled to myself every time an appointment bearer checked his name off the list. And I waited, and I waited. 15 minutes passed and nothing. Why wasn’t my name being called?

I tentatively approached the technician at the desk. I politely inquired whether I’d missed my calling (we all know I have), only to learn that cocky Annie was not on the list at all. What a dope.

Turns out I had had trouble booking in at my usual lab–this is a Tuesday after a long weekend after all, and I was asked to make the appointment just last Monday. Those limited appointments book up fast. Since I couldn’t find a spot at my usual haunt, I had booked into another lab a bit farther away, put the time and location into my handy phone calendar–no substitute for a booking boy–and promptly forgot that I’d changed the location.

I endured a brief public shaming and was directed to take a number like all the especially stupid people who hadn’t made appointments at all. The technician who had been calling numbers fast and furious when I first arrived stopped completely once I got in line. No numbers were called over the next half hour. My optimism about getting out of the lab before sundown was fading.

So I left. I decided that going to yoga was more important to my well-being than knowing whether I had produced any new red blood cells, although I’m not sure Dr. Blood would agree. Remember, I usually do whatever the doctor tells me to do, except when I don’t. I decided, rightly or wrongly, that immunocompromised Annie would be more at risk if I spent hours in a cramped room with sick people all around me than if I destressed at yoga.

Yoga did help. I’ll go back to the lab later when it will be less busy, with a hot drink and a good novel to help me pass the time. Tomorrow, Dr. Blood will see my bloodwork. Now if I could just stop feeling stressed about my doctor disobedience….

Many hands taking a number from machine

I am but one of these many stupid people.

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