Thursday, May 30, 2013

new procedures?

This afternoon, I had to call Kai's cardiologist to make an appointment for his annual heart checkup. I have been meaning to do this all month and now this month is almost all used up!  The appointment isn't a huge deal, as it is just the usual: an ECG and an echocardiogram. The doctor will come see us and tell us there isn't much change (at least, I hope so!) and that he may keep his medicine doses the same or he may decide to do another test on him for more information, but so far nothing has given us much at all. His official diagnosis still stands as Left Ventricle Asymptomatic Cardiomyopathy.  We don't know when he got it or even how, but the doctor thinks it's likely from a virus he has as a baby and that we didn't even notice. (how can a virus so unnoticeable to anyone outwardly be so damaging inwardly? how could we not see he was ill? I'll never understand.) But this happened early in his first year, for he stopped gaining weight at 9 months old and the doctor did test after test after test and it was so stressful and so frustrating. Finally a random chest x-ray showed his enlarged heart at 15 months old.

When I called, what was supposed to be the direct line to Dr H's receptionist at BCCH was a general desk I don't even know where, and the receptionist had to transfer my call, since things had changed. That threw me off; I'd have to remember to ask what the new direct line number was. Then I realized she said a different name other than Theresa. Oh no! Is Theresa gone? For just the day or for always? I liked her!

The receptionist I talked to was definitely not Theresa!  When I told her that I needed to book an appointment for my son, she informed me that I needed to have a doctor's referral first. Excuse me? A referral? I let her know that my son had been seeing Dr H for 5 to 7 years now (in fact it's been 8 years already). Her short response was, "I know. You still need a referral."  What? Why? She went to pull Kai's chart and I was sitting on the other end of the line, fuming and feeling confused. So many things came out of my mouth that I wanted to say, but knew I wouldn't because I'm polite and wouldn't likely get the chance. I also knew I should try not to rude right back to her, even though I didn't like her attitude or tone.  When she returned, she said she wasn't too sure which tests Dr H would want to do, but most likely just the echo and ECG, but she'd have to ask him. I still had to go get a referral from my family doctor first though. I'm still insisting that we've been seeing this doctor since Kai was a baby, and I've made appointments every year and I've NEVER had to go get a referral. She disagreed with me, which irked me even more. I ask her how long it's been this way and when did it change? She tells me it's always been this way; I've always needed a referral.  WTH?  I hang up with her, thoroughly confused and agitated. I know my memory is not the best at times, but I know that I have never had to go see my doctor for a referral to see the specialist that we've seen for so long. ...or have I and I just don't remember because it's been a year?

When I call up my family doctor and get connected to her receptionist (another Theresa, whom I love) and tell her of my confusion, she tells me that, yes, it's always been this way! That somehow a referral was always needed and faxed over. 

What is she talking about???

So either my memory is so shot...or she's implying that Dr H's Theresa used to contact my family dr for a referral for me and have them fax it over so we can get in for our annual check up! (without me knowing) I do recall that you DO need a referral to see a specialist if your last appointment had been longer than 6 months apart, (because I remember having to get another one for me to see my rheumetologist years ago) but still, it hadn't occurred to me that this fell under the same rules. It makes sense that it would, I guess. But I am bewildered. I do not ever recall needing to go get a silly referral.

It irks me to think that I would have to pull Kai from school for a few hours, take him to White Rock so the doctor can look at him, just so we can have a referral form faxed for us.  I am hoping that the doctor will not see a need to have us come in and will just do that instead. As it is, his cardiology appointment will take him a day out of school as it is just to go all the way to Vancouver, to the Children's Hospital, for his tests.  (I could wait until he's out of school if I'm so worried he'll miss something *snarf* but then I'd have to take all of the kids with me too, and that would be super stressful. No thanks.)  I'm annoyed that something so simple, something that I've been meaning to do for a while now, has been stretched out and made difficult. It makes me feel frustrated and slightly embarrassed that this piece of info slipped past me...and I got upset with the receptionist over it. Of course she was right! ...but it just didn't sound or feel right. :/


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