The time has come, your doctor said, to have some medical testing…just to ensure your insides are doing as well as your outside. Your process starts with a phone call. You call for an appointment…make that appointment, but not without being put on hold at least two times: first, when the phone is answered and they ask you to hold and then again when they have to consult with the appointment books and doctors’ schedules. Oh yes, and then there are the times when you are put on hold so the receptionist can answer another incoming call and put them on hold. That chore is now done and all you have to do is wait for the day to arrive…generally weeks into the future.
The day arrives and you report to the center, on time, for your test. Even if you are the first person scheduled…you will still have to wait while your information is validated…AGAIN. This is just to make sure you are who you were when you brought in your doctor’s referral slip after you made the appointment and who you were when they called with their reminder about the appointment. And that is just at the front desk. Now a medical aide will validate that none of your information has changed. What? Since you walked in from the waiting area? Do they really think that someone else wants to impersonate you to take that colonoscopy for you?
So you go through all the preliminaries and then get ready for the actual physician hands on procedure, right? Wrong! You must now wait while all is made ready for you…as if no one actually knew you were scheduled for a process an hour ago. F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, you are rolled into the operating room and sedated. Time becomes meaningless and when you awake you find that you have had the best two or three hours of sleep that you can recall enjoying in months.
Yes, you are awake but cannot get dressed to leave until the doctor sees you. So, you wait some more, because obviously the center has gotten more proficient since you arrived and the doctors are rolling folks through the procedure like crazy while you are placed on hold. The doctor stops by and, thankfully, says that all is well and that there is no need to see you again for ten years. Wow, and here you thought that you had already been there for ten years. But, you still cannot get dressed until the nurse sees you with the release forms and the after procedure care instructions.
You finally get to leave, with the person who drove you there, some six hours ago when reporting for the thirty minute process. You are fortunate to have had someone willing to wait through the entire procedure to see you get home safely.
A few days after the experience you are feeling tons better, the delays and waiting phases are becoming less offensive and the good news of a clean system does make the day worth it after all. What is six or seven hours once every decade to know there is one area of your health that you will not need to worry about. But, on the flip side, the centers really do need to work on their check in process, don’t you think?