As promised in my previous post, here is the MRI saga.
Shortly after Christmas I called my oncologist to let her know that I was having some weird visual disturbances and accompanying headaches. My peripheral vision was like looking through a kaleidoscope with a couple of blind spots thrown in for good measure. The headaches were always in the same place on the left side of my melon. It was a sharp pain that would make my left eye water and then my eyes would be extra sensitive to light for a bit. The episodes never lasted very long but after the third time I figured it was time to call the doctor. She decided I needed an MRI to see if the cancer had snuck its way into my brain.
December 30th I called Sutter’s imaging department to set up an appointment. I was told by the girl on the phone that the soonest appointment they had was January 17th. I told her I was willing to go to a facility further away if it meant I could get in sooner. She told me that if I wanted to drive to Carmichael I could get in on January 2nd. I was so torn with this news. I really wanted to get the MRI done and over with but January 2nd was my birthday and I really didn’t want to spend the day getting an MRI. So I took the January 17th appointment. WAIT!!! They don’t do MRI’s with contrast on the weekend so actually January 19th was the soonest date they had available. This was the first indication of the fail train that was heading my way.
January 6th I went to see my surgeon. He really wanted this MRI done much sooner so that I could start making some very important decisions. He said he would see what he could do to get me in sooner. After nearly half an hour of his staff being on the phone with the imaging department he came back in the room to tell me he had no luck. The imaging department was just too busy. *sigh*
January 7th I receive a phone call from a scheduler at Sutter imaging. The girl on the other end of the line proceeds to tell me that there has been a mistake. My MRI was scheduled for a closed machine and I absolutely MUST be in an open machine and the soonest appointment was for January 22nd. I asked her if she was kidding and she assured me she was not and that she was sorry for the inconvenience. I then told her that the doctor was trying to see if the cancer was in my brain and that it was my belief that someone who was getting an MRI lets say for knee pain should be bumped as in my opinion brain cancer trumps knee pain. She apologized again but said there was nothing she could do. I then asked her if I could at least be put on a cancellation waiting list so I could get a sooner appointment, only to be told that they don’t do anything like that and they rarely get cancellations, but I was welcome to call as often as I wanted to see if a cancellation had been made. *grrrrr*
January 8th I call…..sorry no cancellations.
January 9th I call again….sorry no cancellations. Are you sure? No cancellations at all? I really need to have this MRI done. WAIT there was a cancellation for tomorrow Saturday January 10th. I told her that the first girl I spoke with on December 30th had told me that they don’t do contrast MRI’s on Saturdays. She said yes they do and couldn’t imagine why I had been told that. *FAIL* I told her I would gladly take the appointment for the next day.
So the next morning I get up and drive the hour to the imaging building and check in on time at 9:45am. The place is mostly empty which I am grateful for as I haven’t had any coffee yet because this is a fasting test. At about 10:00am an assistant comes out and comes over to me to let me know that they are running about an hour behind and did I want to wait or reschedule. Reschedule? NO! There will be NO rescheduling, I will wait, thank you very much. (She didn’t seem very happy to hear that I was willing to wait.) Then at about 10:30am she came back out again to let me know that I would be called in shortly. Then about five minutes later she comes out to get me and take me to the back where there is another waiting room. I wait for another five to ten minutes and the tech who will be performing the test comes out to get me. She explains everything to me and we get started. She does all of the pictures without contrast first. Then she pulls me out of the machine to inject me with the contrast solution. This is where things get fun. When I have to fast for tests, my veins all but disappear. This means that I can be a very hard stick for someone who is not really awesome at hitting veins. She was not really awesome at hitting veins. She tried four times with no luck. So then she decided to get the other tech who tried twice and was no better. It was at this point that I was informed they had done all they could and the test could not be completed. I would have to reschedule to have the rest of the test done at a later date. *More FAIL* I thought I was going to cry.
Monday, January 12th rolls around and I get a call from Sutter imaging to schedule the rest of my MRI. This time it’s a guy and his name just happens to be Chris. He seems nice enough but proceeds to tell me that the soonest appoint I can get to have my MRI completed is Saturday, January 24th. I then told him about why I was having this MRI done and again I get apologies but there’s nothing that can be done. Okay I will take Saturday the 24th. Just a little while later the phone rings and it’s Chris from Sutter imaging again. He explains that he’s so sorry but a request has been made for a nurse to be present at my MRI and there are no nurses available on the weekends so my appointment must be moved to Monday January 26th. I am trying to keep my composure and not curse a blue streak so instead I tell him that my doctor is needing to find out if the cancer has moved into my brain and that if they keep pushing this MRI out I could very well be DEAD before I am able to have the MRI done!! I was mad! Can you tell I was mad??? He then said the magic words. “Let me give you a little piece of advice. You are on the schedule for a “ROUTINE” MRI. If your doctor were to, lets say, change the order to a stat MRI we would have a little more wiggle room to get you in sooner.” SERIOUSLY?!?! I’ve been screwing around all this time being told that they had no appointments available when there really are appointments available I just have to be “upgraded” to stat. *FAIL FAIL FAIL*
Now I go whining to my darling husband who tells me I should call my doctor and let her know about the MRI fail train. I tell him that I have an appointment the next day and that I will talk to her then. His response was “Well why don’t you just call her today and maybe she can fix this mess and get you an appointment for the MRI to be done tomorrow since you have to go down anyway to see her.” But why can’t I just talk to her tomorrow? He gives me “the look”. Okay, okay I will call her but it’s not going to do any good. So I call the doctor’s office and talk to the patient advocate or coordinator or whatever she is (she’s really very nice I just can never remember her official title) and tell her my sob story. She was flabbergasted! She couldn’t believe all they had put me through. She told me she had to make a few calls and that she would get back to me in just a little bit. I don’t think an hour even went by when she called back. “Wendy you have an appointment for your MRI to be finished tomorrow morning before you come in to see your oncologist.” WOOHOO! *insert husband gloating here* Then the phone rang again and it was Chris with Sutter imaging. As soon as I answered the phone I said you better not be changing my appointment again! He kind of laughed nervously and said I know but the good news is it only needs to be moved to the afternoon instead of the morning. I reluctantly agreed to the move and then told him that if anyone from Sutter imaging tried to call me again that I wasn’t going to answer the phone, that if the appointment needed to be moved they could just move someone else, I was DONE being moved! He chuckled and said just don’t answer the phone if we call again.
The next day I head to Roseville for my appointment with my oncologist and tell her the saga of the MRI fail train. When I get to the part about Chris the scheduler telling me that if my MRI were upgraded to stat I could get in sooner she was furious! She said that THEY should have called HER to let her know that so she could have immediately upgraded me instead of telling me to tell her. So I have a nice visit with my doctor and then head downstairs to my MRI. They get me right in and a nice nurse is ready and waiting to stick me so they can inject the contrast. I have the MRI and then it’s just wait and see what the results are.
The next day I get the call that the MRI is clear. No cancer in the brain! YAY!
Thus concludes the fantastic voyage of the MRI Fail Train. Thanks for riding with us! Total fail trains ridden this round = 9