To Test or Rapid Test; To Drink or Not To Drink

It’s Monday, 32 days after The News.

Today was supposed to be dominated by a nerve-wracking visit to the dentist. But there was no time to get nervous over that – the Universe in its own arcane way kept me suitably distracted right up to the dental appointment.

And I’m beginning to understand that odd comment made by the PAMF scheduler – that if I got a call from Sequoia or El Camino Hospital it wasn’t them. PAMF doesn’t want to be associated with the comparative disarray at other organizations.

PAMF has been generally well-organized and speaks with one voice. On the rare occasions they don’t, as happened when I was scheduling the pelvis MRI, they take care of it themselves. El Camino Hospital in comparison appears to be a bit more haphazard and sends conflicting messages. But to their credit, at least they call in the late morning or afternoon!

To Test or Rapid Test, That Is The Question…

The mediport was scheduled on Thursday and I was told to expect a call from El Camino Hospital. Friday came and went. And Saturday. On Sunday I finally got a call from El Camino to verify and update my patient information. She also went over a bunch of policies including the newly (re)instituted COVID protocols for visitors. As for myself, I should bring my vaccination card. No mention of a COVID test. So I asked. She pulled up my record and said, “Oh, you haven’t been scheduled yet!” She said not to worry and they’re the one who screwed up. They’d do a rapid antibody test the day of the procedure. Sounds good.

Late morning today I got another call from El Camino Hospital to schedule a COVID test. I told them I had had that discussion yesterday and was told they’d do a rapid test on Wednesday. The scheduler had no clue who called yesterday and knew nothing about rapid tests given the day of a procedure – they had to be done three days prior. (Three days prior was yesterday.) Sigh. She also said it had to be today. Do these people think my life revolves around them? I then told her that I had an appointment in the early afternoon but could come by after that. The scheduler said their COVID test site closes at 3. Clearly these people don’t have a notion that their patients have other things to do. She said it’d only take two minutes. Well that’s nice for them, but it easily takes an hour or two out of a patient’s day. Some odd thing called travel.

The scheduler put me down for 2:40, but after hanging up I figured I’d just go and see if they could do the test then. It was going to be a bit tight getting from the dentist to El Camino by 3 – let alone 2:40 – and that assumed there wasn’t going to be any traffic and the appointment didn’t run late. As it turns out arriving earlier was fine. But what the scheduler failed to mention was that the two minutes didn’t include the ten minute wait for all the people in front of you.

And To Drink or Not To Drink…

When I finally got to the head of the queue the person giving the test also gave me a “pre-surgery” kit that included an Ensure Pre-Surgery drink. She told me to drink it three hours prior to surgery. (Isn’t it amazing how many “she’s” there are in these posts? Where are all the guys hiding out?) I told her I was told to be NPO 8 hours before. And that included water. The person doing the test said liquids are ok. Maybe El Camino has a different meaning for NPO. (For those of you new to the term, it comes from the Latin nil per os, and means “nothing by mouth.” I don’t know what they’re thinking but if I take that Ensure it’s going in my mouth and not ending up in my stomach any other way!)

Now who exactly am I supposed to believe? At the rate things are going I wouldn’t be surprised if the infusion got delayed again – because I followed their instructions to drink the Ensure, which turned out to be the wrong instructions. Or because they scheduled a lobotomy instead of a port placement.

Tradeoffs…calls at a decent hour vs a well-coordinated care team? It’s a tough choice…

After all the rushing around and sitting in a dentist chair as a tooth was ground away (vampires are very fond of their teeth) – not to mention the days of waking up when any reasonable vampire would be nodding off – I was exhausted. For the first time in years I took a nap. It felt so natural to be asleep when the sun was up 🙂.

Categorized as chemo

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