Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Calm After The Storm - Literal & Figurative

It's been a rough few days here in the Northwest. Thankfully, today we have some weaks spots of sunshine. In general, the southern counties in Western Washington were the hardest hit by this series of storms & my heart & prayers go out to those who have lost so much in the recent winds, rain, mudslides, avalanches & serious flooding. The nothernmost western counties got snow and/or heavy rain & winds but escaped the worst of the flooding it seems. Mother Nature is, it appears, on a LaNina roll in the West !

In other news, I am on a medical whine roll - so please feel free to tune out if you love all things medical and/or health insurance related. First on my list of rants is health insurance. My doctor prescribed a medicine last week. The insurace company is balking. They have a laundry list of "rules" that need to be followed before they will consider a "need" for the medication. No matter that it is a DOCTOR who thought it was needed, a patient who has gone though years of wondering what would help & has allergies to lots of medicines - making many options not terribly desirable to try. No matter that they have taken almost a week to make a determination of "need" or that in that time both doctor & patient have been in limbo. No matter - whatever. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I had a medical appointment for a routine out-patient procedure on Tuesday morning at 7:00 am. Because the first ferry of the day does not arrive on the mainland until 7:30 am I had to arrange for a hotel room and also to have my friend/sister, Lauren, meet me to play chauffeur. Therefore, on Monday, during the height of the rocking rolling windstorm I was on a ferry headed to "America". I have great faith in our ferries and their crews. The boat rocked more than usual but seeing the fury that mother nature can stir up on the water was pretty wonderful. All of the sea birds were grouped at their favorite inland safety zones and only an occasional cormorant was still out hunting on the open water. Lauren had been hit with 8 inches of snow the day before and she had pasteur issues to contend with - so she met me later than planned at the knitting store - where I had managed to spend a lovely couple of hours 'petting' the yarns and actually taking the time to think about what I wanted/needed. I never even made it to the fabric shops !

My simple instructions required me to report to the hospital at 7:00 am. Pitiful for someone like me who does not like getting up too early even on the best of days ! I woke Lauren from a sound sleep at 6:27 am. We reported on schedule - second to sign in at the newly 'improved' lobby (aka central staging area) . There we sat - not for one but for over TWO hours before I was called to be escorted down the l-o-n-g, l-o-n-g hall to the preop room. I was greeted by efficient,generally plesant but somewhat lackadaisical prep nurses. Granted, I was perhaps a bit less than angelic at that point myself. I have a real , deep-seated anxiety level about hospitals and doctors in general & I can't say that a two hour wait helped my nerves- or blood pressure- any. I discovered that, in fact, my appointment was for 9:30am - I had not had to spend either the money on a hotel nor the time waiting nervously. I just had not been informed! What a happy little camper I was! At last, a familar face appeared. The surgical nurse was, magically, a local woman who commutes to the hospital for work. I finally beagan to think that my nervous system would survive. She wheeled me in to the very imposing operating room. Local angel and her partner nurse - whose name I forget (but she had angel eyes) eased my nerves with their humor and kindness. I liked the doctor too I should add. He was neither too young, nor too old - just the right age to inspire confidence - with a good sense of humor to boot. As soon as I was able to - I fled that hospital like a carrier pidgeon released to deliver an urgent message. I could not wait to get out and away from the place.

I guess my point (if there is one) is that we all get into a routine in whatever jobs we do. Our work is OUR routine and we all have gripes, good days & bad, tired & sad - it's a part of human nature to complain a bit to our co-workers. Some environments however, like the medical fields or the court system (where I work) are not TYPICAL for the public (we hope). They can be intimidating, unfriendly and nerve wracking. A little kindness, some understanding, consideration for other people's valuable time and respect for someone's UNFAMILIARITY with your work environment can go a long long way to make the experinece as "okay" as possible. I am grateful for Lauren's calming presence & willingness to be my designated family member and for those two pairs of angel eyes in the operating room for getting me through a generally unpleasant day.
PS: These are photos I took on the way home yesterday. I could not think of a more beautiful sight to end a long and frustrating two days!


Waltraud said...

Hi Marie, hope you feel better now and I wish you all the best

Karoda said...

My insurance has changed every year for the past 5 years and I go through what you've described over prescriptions...in fact its that time of year again for me. yuck!

It sounds like you have a good perspective on what you went through via the hospital. It would have taken me a bit to get there after not being informed on the 2 hour delay!

Sandy said...

I agree about medical things. I'm really nasty to be around when I need something done. Hope it is all over and you are well now. Sandy

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