Those of you who’ve been reading for the last month know that I’m not really pleased with Maddie’s pulmonologist. She is the best pediatric pulmonologist around, and that is why we stay with her. But today, oh man, I was thisclose to setting her office on fire.
We are under my health insurance. The main phone number in Madeline’s file is my cell phone. The secondary number is my office line. They have no problem calling either of those numbers when they need to confirm an appointment, get a payment, etc. I am the main contact for everything. But so help me, they are AFRAID to call me with results. They ALWAYS call Mike, because he is the Good Cop, and I’m the Raging Mom Who Yells.
Today, Dr. Lung’s nurse called Mike (grrr) with the results of Maddie’s overnight oxygenation study. Nurse Lung said that the results came back normal. When Mike then asked if that meant we could lower the amount of oxygen Maddie received at night, Nurse Lung said, “No, Maddie is going to be on oxygen for a long time.” Okay, but isn’t the point to wean her off? “No, not that I’m aware.”
Mike has so much patience (that’s why he’s still married to me), that he didn’t immediately go ballistic. Instead, he changed his tactic and asked Nurse Lung if prolonged oxygen treatments would harm Maddie’s vision. When we were in the NICU this was a BIG issue – too much oxygen can mess with retinas. Apparently Nurse Lung missed that day in school, because she answered Mike’s question with, “What do you mean?” Gah! When he pressed her further, she told him that we’d probably want to make sure Maddie had regular eye appointments. That did not sit well with Mike. He said to Nurse Lung, “My wife is going to call you later, so you’d better have some answers for her.” Nurse Lung stammered back, “Oh, well, I will be at the hospital so she’ll have to leave a message for me.”
What she didn’t know was Mike was instant messaging me a transcript of their conversation in real time. I called the office so quickly Nurse Lung never could have imagined it would be me on the other line.
You should have heard the way Nurse Lung’s voice fell when I identified myself. She went from chipper pediatric nurse to a sullen teenager. I told her that I knew she’d just spoken with my husband, but could she please explain everything to me? She said sure, and then…crickets. I literally said to her, “Speak. Explain.” She finally told me everything she’d told Mike, so I said, “According to what we were told when the test was ordered, if the results were good her oxygen would be lowered. Is this still the case?” Nurse Lung stammered (STAMMERED!) that as far as she knew, this was not the case. “Well, what DO you know?” As she stammered some more, I lost what little cool I still possessed.
I told her that my biggest issue with Dr. Lung and everyone who works in her office is that they don’t tell us the truth. They’ll tell us oxygen will be ordered based on the results of a test, then I’ll find out that it was ordered before the test was administered. They’ll demand a transfer to their hospital for a procedure, then after our arrival they’ll tell us Madeline is too small for it to be performed. Or they’ll tell us that she is going to be weaned from the oxygen when really, that was never the plan. I said that it was ridiculous that the person calling to pass on important information had absolutely NO knowledge of anything pertinent, that it was unethical to lie to the parents of a patient, and that I had half a mind to report them to the ethics committee (a huge, huge deal). I think at that point, Nurse Lung had a stroke and crapped her pants. She said Dr. Lung would call me back right away.
Guess who never called me back?