So much for Podunk

Podunk. I guess that's how you spell it. Spell check isn't telling me it's wrong.

... At any rate! Today I had my surgery consult. Ted, of course, being Ted & a nursing student, came along. We dropped our kids off at our friends' house and headed over to the appointment. They like to go to these friends' house becuase they have friends very close in age. Gwenna and their oldest were born in the same month; Meredith and their second are 2 months apart. But that does give whoever is watching these 4 kids (me or their mama) 4 kids under 3. That in mind, I hoped we'd be out rather quickly.

We needed to arrive 20 minutes early for paperwork and it took nearly that long. It probably shouldn't have but the paperwork itself was confusing. It had bold boxes and columns that seemed like they didn't all go together so that I wasn't sure if they were asking the date I had my children or the date of my last period - and there's a big discrepancy there!

The forms were awkward and lacked fluidity and consistency. I left several fields blank when I'd been scratching my head far too long trying to decided what to write. Am I dumb? No, I know I'm not.

The last page was straight forward though. Let me sum it up for you. Not a direct quote, of course, being a summary:

I am the only General Surgeon in the Gila Valley. I rip stuff out of people from Ft. Thomas to Solomon and beyond. Because of this, and becuase people need stuff taken out, closed up, and mixed around when they need it done, I'm often running late. So please sign this paper to acknowledge that you totally understand this fact will wait in my office or reschedule at your convenience. I'm not happy about it, but I hope you will be polite.

I'm not making light of this paper. I think it's smart. But it also clued me in right off the bat - as did the dozen people in the waiting room to see 1 man - that something was rotten in Denmark.

So when I returned my paperwork I asked, casually, "How's the schedule for today." The reply was, "He's an hour behind." Hmm. "So does that mean I'm not going to get in at my appointment time." An eyebrow raise was followed by, "He's an HOUR behind." A little snappy, but I understand. "So can I go?" I asked. She seemed surprised. I explained. "I have my 2 children with babysitter and an extra hour at dinnertime is a lot to ask someone who is caring for 4 children under the age of 3."

She copied my insurance card and told me she'd call me when they were a couple patients ahead of me.

SWEET! I really didn't think that was going to work. We were bummed to be leaving, but part of Podunk is also being close to everything (if you live in town) and we drove the 7 minutes it takes to get home from the hospital.

Gwenna and Mer enjoyed otter pops and playing outside in the 45 minutes it took them to call and tell me, "You're next! Can you be here, like, now?" So I got there in 9 minutes (including dropping the babies off at the sitter... again ... but at least they weren't STILL there, right?) and was shown to a room in moments. The woman who came into the office almost the same time we did was still waiting when we sashayed back to an examination room. Ouch!

I really liked the medical assistant who helped check me. She said I didn't look my weight (which is a compliment, by the way) and said she was willing the scale to stop going up since there's no way it was right. Sadly, my friend, it is. But I'm OK with that. I claimed to have brick in my pocket, which always makes people laugh.

We saw Dr. Carter and right off the bat, after perusing the forms I'd filled out, he asked me if I had trouble filling out the paperwork. DOH! I guess I am that dumb. Dang. Here I am, walking through life under the suspicion that I'm at least mildly intelligent, and it turns out I have all the smarts of a Girls Scout cookie ... And not even a good one. One of the sugar free ones.

I came to find out, luckily, this was the first day that his office was using these new forms generated by a new computer system. He was baffled and lost when looking at them. He'd looked at the old forms for 100 years, give or take, and didn't know where to look to even assess my general health. I gave him lots of feedback and let him know I could design something better, maybe to reassert my ability to do useful, adult things.

We did talk surgery, not just forms and paperwork. And after all the talk and medical threats about pancreatitis and choledocholithiasis (good luck pronouncing that one!) - neither of which I have, thank goodness - we scheduled the surgery for May 23. Dr. Carter removes about 300 gallbladders a year and he does it on Mondays and Wednesdays. When he told me that I was thinking, "What the?! Gallbladders suck!"

Going into this consult I was nervous about the date he could perform surgery. Ted has finals next week (well, A final, since he has A many-credit-hour class) and then we're going to Disneyland. And I want to go, darn it. I really want to go! So we will come home on Saturday, enjoy our day of rest on Sunday (I might even find a sub for my primary class even though I'm going to be there ... is this wrong??), and then Monday I will get 4 incisions (like this, except I'm a woman) and likely go home that night.

You see, there are a whopping total of 13 links left on our paper chain count down to Disneyland and when I come back, the fun is OVER! Nothing like surgery to wrangle you in from the happiest place on Earth!

I jest. I'm not fearful or apprehensive. I know this is necessary so that I don't fill up with bile or get a life threatening infection. Also, if I ever want to have another child, this needs to be cleared up first. I guess I was just thinking it wouldn't happen until, maaaaaaybe ... July? September? A friend of mine said if it wasn't life threading (which this ISN'T. I've TOTALLY got it under control, guys.) to not expect to hear from the surgeon's office until June at the earliest. Here in Podunk-ville, with one General Surgeon, I didn't anticipate going under the knife that fast. Also didn't know Mondays and Wednesdays were rotating doors for gallbladders. So luckily it's not a big deal surgery and I can wrap my shrinking post-paperwork brain around it.

In the mean time, I'll keep eating my toast with no butter, my yogurt with no fat, my rice and beans with lots of cilantro and salt, and my chili with very little corn bread. I've got this down, folks. A low fat diet has nothing on me! ... Except maybe flavor.


Mary Anne said...

Well, my friend. I will let you know I read every word :) Ha ha. I'm kidding. I know I write too much, and don't expect people to always read it. That's why we've got to have pictures. So...didn't know you had gallbladder troubles...why would I really? Good luck with the surgery. Tell him not to take out any brain cells while he's got the knife out :) Again, KIDDING. I know you are a smart woman. Paperwork frequently makes me think harder than it should. And apparently theirs was not user friendly.

Have a good time in Disneyland!

Heather said...

Enjoy your trip before your surgery! Man, sorry you have to deal with gall bladder issues and I wish you much butter and cream and goodness once it is over. :)

Candace said...

Good ol' Dr. Carter. Actually got to observe two of his gallbladder surgeries! Fascinating. Sorry you have to get it done....but it'll be for the better. GOod luck!

Jewel said...

There are ups to Podunk-ville, aren't there? I'm so glad they were willing to let you go home and take care of the kiddos rather than waiting in the waiting room!! I'll have to try that next time my doctor is an hour behind schedule.
And I think that you can safely say that if a surgeon is having issues understanding the paperwork, you can still consider yourself a smart woman if you had issues with the same paperwork. That's my opinion, anyways.
And when you said "gallbladders suck," I literally laughed out loud. Awesome.
Good luck, good luck, good luck--and have fun at Disneyland!