The Hoops We Jump Through
I don’t much like complaining but…
The surgical schedule is on but the communication is found wanting. My urologist told me when we chose a date that he would like me to get clearance from my internist so I made an appointment. Then he sent me a thick packet of instructions, including one that had me going to the pre-op clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital so I made an appointment there. Also included in the package was a prescription that read “take as directed” with a long sheet attached giving detailed instructions about how to take the medicine the night prior to surgery so I took the prescription to my pharmacy.
Yesterday my urologist’s nurse called me to inquire about the prescription and what the pharmacy may or may not require in order to fill the prescription. The pharmacist said she could not fill a prescription reading “take as directed” even if I had the directions. While on the phone with the nurse I asked if I needed both the pre-op physical and clearance from my internist. “No,” she replied, “one or the other is just fine.” Now I have to cancel the appointment I made with my internist. And so it goes.
I believe that this is something a comedy writer could make into a half hour episode of a sit-com and have us all rolling on the floor laughing at the mis-communication. So there you have my rant.
Having worked in a city or state bureaucracy for the much of my career, I am never surprised by the failure of the bureaucratic mind to fail to comprehend what happens at each level of the task ladder. One clerk is unaware of what any other clerk is doing or supposed to do and they never talk to one another. They simply go about their jobs without regard to what goes on up or down the line from their personal position. So as a consumer, the ultimate user of the services, I am objectified to the point that it really doesn’t matter if I am there at all. I am distanced from the chain of command as if behind a firewall, completely out of sight and certainly out of mind when it comes to the individual giving orders.
This segmentation is but one more example of the power of modernity to attach itself to the ends, to the results desired, without regard to the means used to achieve those objectives. As I think about this phenomenon of modernity, I am drawn back to the insertion of a robotic surgical procedure that, while the benefits may be efficacious, places an additional layer between surgeon and patient, further objectifying the patient asleep on the table.
In the final analysis, the prescription will get filled, the pre-op clearance is completed and my internist will not earn a fee to repeat the process already completed. Of course, I’ll show up on November 28th at the time and place appointed and will wake up about four hours later sans prostate. Just another ho-hum day.