Root Canal Part Deux; MRI Scheduling Madness

It’s day 12 after The News.

Amazingly I didn’t get a 7 am phone call from PAMF this morning. Sadly my body seems to be adapting to waking up early. I hope its treatable.

Root Canal Part Deux

Just because you have cancer life doesn’t grind to a halt. And ever looking for that silver lining in last week’s emergency root canal, I’ve decided to let the endodontist test his theory that there’s a fourth unfilled canal in the tooth I had done in 2017 that’s caused years of temperature sensitivity.

So it was back in the endodontists chair and nice chat with his assistant, who was asking how my diagnosis was going and that her brother had colon cancer. It’s all the rage.

Local anesthetic, driling, and then “Yup, there it is – you’ve got a fourth canal in there. Though there doesn’t seem to be a lot alive, just a lot of gunk.” I’ve come to appreciate that “gunk” is a highly technical dental term.

In and out in an hour. I sure hope the endodontist was right. It’d be great to eat cold foods on the left side of my mouth again! If nothing else it might explain what seemed like infections that occur every so often – no doubt caused by the “gunk”.

MRI Scheduling Madness

When I got home I called PAMF. The surgeon had ordered two MRIs – an MRI of the abdomen with and without contrast so they could definitively rule if those hypodensities were metastases or not, and an MRI of the pelvis with and without contrast which he needed for surgery. Only the MRI of the abdomen was showing up in PAMF’s online system.

To back up a bit, yesterday early afternoon I got a call from PAMF Burlingame to schedule the two MRIs at their location. Burlingame happens to be where the surgeon is, but is 20 miles away. He had said I should call around the south bay PAMF/Sutter Health locations to find one that could see me in the next week or two. The Burlingame scheduler said they were holding a slot for Sunday August 1 for me, otherwise their next available was a month plus out. I told them I lived in the south bay so was planning on calling around, but let’s book those slots just in case. I had already called PAMF Mountain View and was still waiting for a call back. I then decided to call PAMF Palo Alto, and sure enough they could do the two MRIs back-to-back on August 2. The Palo Alto facility is just a few miles away so that was good news. The scheduler said she saw the two appointments at Burlingame and would move them over. Great!

Well this morning I only saw one. Called the Palo Alto facility and said I wanted to double check that they had scheduled both. The scheduler – who may not have been the same person I’d talked to yesterday – pulled up my record and said oh yes they got both and cancelled the duplicate. Duplicate? Oh no. The surgeon had noted that the gastroenterologist had just entered a abdominal MRI, but he was going to enter one for himself anyway. So the “two” appointments that PAMF Palo Alto processed were the two abdominal MRIs. I asked what about the pelvis MRI? She said “What? Hold on let me take a look.” She went off and said they hadn’t seen that one with the duplicate abdominal MRIs, but that they could still do them back to back. Ok, great.

About half an hour later I got a call from PAMF. It was the scheduler from the MRI department. They needed a different machine for the pelvic MRI, but she could get me in on Sunday. Ok, that’s not as convenient as one visit but definitely doable. Just as we were buttoning up the Sunday appointment the scheduler told me to hold on – the radiologist is looking at my chart and something else is coming up. I was on hold for a minute or two and when she came back she asked if I had had surgery already. What? No, I told her that the surgeon ordered the MRI to prepare for surgery. The radiologist said that then it shouldn’t be a pelvic MRI with and without contrast, it should be a rectal MRI without contrast. I was beginning to feel like I was in the middle of a battle between the surgeon and radiologist. The radiologist told the scheduler that the rectal MRI had to be done on yet another machine (just how many types do they have at PAMF Palo Alto?), and there were only three doctors who could read the scan. So the scheduler pulled up schedules and said they could get me in on Tuesday afternoon. She promised that it was all settled and there’d be no more changes.

After getting off the phone I messaged the surgeon explaining that the radiologist had altered his order and please confirm it. Sure hope it’s correct. Apparently there’s a queue for the MRI machines and even though the doctors were coding everything “stat”, there are apparently a lot of orders floating around as well.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *