Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting Along Well With Others

I was regaling my older daughter with the details of my many recent meanderings through the medical world. After listening to my riveting stories, she asked, "Are the doctors still speaking to you?" For some reason she seems to think that I ought to just keep my opinions to myself when I'm dealing with trained professionals. But where's the fun in that?

Two weeks ago I gave my substitute internist a copy of a form that she needed to fill out to clear me for surgery. She never sent it. I called and left a message last week to remind her to please send it in. Then I called the surgeon's office and found out it still wasn't there. So I emailed my substitute doc and asked again. Still nothing. Yesterday we had a phone chat about how much Vitamin D I should be taking since I'm almost down to zero, and I used the opportunity to ask her for a third time whether she had sent in the form. "What form?"

Years ago, after the docs had failed to find a drug that worked, I was admitted to the ER with blood pressure hanging in at 180/120. I was worried about stroking out. At the same time my heart rate was only 55. First the nurse came in and tried to be comforting. In her most patronizing way, she said that since my pressure was so high, I must be feeling anxious about something. I pointed out to her that my heart rate was only 55, so probably not. A short time later, a resident came in and announced, "We're going to give you some Procardia." I said, "No, you're not giving me Procardia. That's a calcium channel blocker and they do nothing to lower my blood pressure." Ah for a picture of the look on her face. The patient talked back to her. The nerve. Whereupon she turned and left, mumbling something about calling my doctor.

And my daughter wonders why my relationships with docs often end in divorce.

That little incident got me to wondering whether I just have a short fuse or whether I'm actually entitled to get pissed off. After two seconds of reflection,, I realized that when I'm dealing with anyone who claims to have more knowledge than I do about a subject[s], I will defer to their expertise, until I get the first whiff of B.S.

For instance, when my substitute internist ordered eye drops for my earache. And continues to forget to send in the pre-op clearance. Or the anal retentive art director who wouldn't let me go with her to a press check, since she considered herself the expert in proofing. Only to have all the materials she proofed arrive in Texas with several major mistakes that I had to figure out how to get fixed in 24 hours.

I also have a problem with another, more insidious group -- a group that drives me insane. They're usually very nice, easy to get along with, and enthusiastic. But they are this close to totally incompetent. Mostly because they say they've done things that haven't been done.

Last week one young woman offered to send me her media list, something I needed quickly. I never got it. Yesterday I saw her and she said she had sent it a week ago. I checked all my email from her, new and old, and it wasn't anywhere to be found.

Suddenly I had deja vu. I was reminded that I called her recently and she claimed that my message had gone into the company mailbox instead of her voicemail. That was her excuse for not calling me back. But I could have sworn I got her voicemail, not the agency robot, when I left the message. Still, she had me thinking I had goofed.

Then I remembered something else. She was the same woman who drove me insane six years ago, telling me again and again that she'd done things for me that just didn't show up on the radar. It's like she forgets and tries to cover it up. Meanwhile I always blamed myself. I even started to think I was losing my last two marbles, until I realized -- wait a minute -- it isn't me; it's she. I could be annoyed, but I'm not. Thing is, her mother has early onset Alzheimer's. She's only thirty, but I'm just saying. . .

Then there's the senior veep who used to drive a bulldozes over me when we worked together. This caused some friction between us, but being a subcontractor I had to bite my tongue. If I didn't, I would get blamed for being hard to work with. Then, a year later, she did one of her patented control freak moves on the head of the agency and ta-da, she was gone shortly thereafter.

I have a pretty good bullshit-o-meter. Usually I'm the first one who figures out that somebody is full of shinola. But a lot of good that does when it takes other people such a long time to figure out what I already know. So long, that they forget that I warned them. Say, didn't Mrs. Linklater say something to warn us about Sally Sue a long time ago? Sally Sue? I thought it was Milt. Milt? Naw, had to be Marilyn. Yeah, maybe it was Marilyn.

P.S. For people keeping tabs on Mrs. L's social life, the international man of mystery who contacted me the other day has been revealed. He wanted me to guess who he was so he gave me a couple of clues. I didn't need them. I figured out who he was the day after he called. Clearly, I'm a genius. And I didn't even have to look in our college yearbooks. I promised I wouldn't, but mainly I couldn't, because I don't know where they are.

So, hi there, Stu. How's by you?

Time to step away from the blog. Mrs. Linklater's got her mojo working.


Remo said...

We'll leave the light on for ya.

p.s. No glove - no love...

Chris said...

"Clearly, I'm a genius."

Not to mention, completely humble;)

You are right to question your Doctor, ruthlessly so. Check these stats from a survey conducted by the folks at Vital Smarts.

--84 percent of doctors have seen coworkers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients.
--88 percent of doctors work with people who show poor clinical judgement.


--Fewer than 10 percent of physicians, nurses and other clinical staff directly confront their colleagues about their concerns.