It just worked out that I had a neurology appointment and a neurosurgery consult almost back to back today. The first wasn’t such a big deal but the latter was. It was the six month consult. The appointment that I’ve been counting down to for months. Literally. It was the appointment I had decided would signal if I should go back to Chile or forge forward here.
I arrived about 15 minutes early–just in case there was paperwork as they always say. The receptionist greeted me by name. That’s a problem, you know, when your neurosurgeon’s receptionist recognizes you and no longer asks to see your insurance card because she’s remembered that, too. Then, she looked me up in the system and sputtered, “But…you don’t have an appointment today!”
“That’s impossible. Tuesday. The 18th. At 2:00. I scheduled it months ago.”
“Ah…okay. I see that…Constance* canceled it.” *names may have been changed.
She excused herself to go ask Constance. When she came back she told me that since I’ve been in there so often (see early comment about knowing me by name), they had decided to cancel my appointment, Oh, they didn’t tell you? Come back in three months. Bye-bye now. Move along. Okay…seriously, BYE BYE. I wanted to tell her that it couldn’t be true. I mean, I had just heard my good luck songs in the hospital cafeteria in a strange mix that still included Christmas music. It was a random coicidence that meant that my appointment would go well, but I didn’t say anything.
Now, normally, I’m fairly assertive in situations like that but I think since I thought I “knew” everyone, I mumbled something about having the doctor call me and left. L told me that it’s a problem I have, the not wanting to offend anyone thing. I prefer to think of it as the Minnesota Nice side of my personality, that has been indoctrinated in me since birth, dueling with my bitchy, push and shove, Santiaguina side. One always has to win.
When I was almost to my car, I called my mom and told her what happened, my voice trembling. I’d thought about that six month appointment so much and to have it just not happen and be told to come back was anti-climactic to say the least and almost heartbreaking (thinking about staying in Minnesota–jobless and away from L for three more months).
On the phone my mom was saying, “That’s not acceptable. I want you to march right back up there and tell them that you are going to wait in that office until you see the doctor. Tell them.”
“What if he’s in surgery?”
“He won’t be. Go. Back. Up. There. Now.”
I took the elevator up the five floors, practicing my speech as I rode. I was prepared to walk in with my shoulders squared and announce to the secretary or Constance or whomever I happened to talk to that I was demanding to see the doctor because it’s not MY fault that they canceled my appointment without calling me. Then I saw the nurse, she sensed something was wrong and asked me how I was doing. Not well.
“I had an appointment and they told me it was canceled but, you know, that’s, like, a really big problem because I want to move abroad again and I need to know if I need more scans and when I can start tapering off the meds…”
My voice broke. She smiled at me like she understood. Maybe she did.
“I’ll see what I can do. Wait here.”
Oh. You can count on it.
She came back a few minutes later and told me that like *MAGIC* the doctor had a few minutes to squeeze me in between appointments.
The first thing he said when he came in the room was, “I heard you were crying in my office again. I thought I told you last time that there will be no crying in this office anymore. Right?”
He told me that all my scans, CTs, MRIs, EEGs, blood tests, etc., looked great. I can also start tapering off one of my anticonvulsants. He said he didn’t want me to have another MRI for a year. After that, if it is clear, I can wait five years until the next one. Imagine that! Five years. I’ve had five in six months and I might be able to go five years without hearing the awful clicky-grindy noise of that horrible machine. Why, that would be so normal.
Then he looked at me and said, “Now, go have a great time in Chile with that fiancé of yours.”
And so I will. I bought a ticket. I leave mid-February. Once again, I find myself embarking on an international move. See, it’s sort of this thing I do…