Expertise wanted…just not here

“So if we call neurology, nobody is going to know about you?”…dead silence. Just when I thought I had heard everything there was in existence as far as excuses, dumb questions, sideways looks, shrugging shoulders, and sighs before even entering the room. No actually, it turns out that there is far more.

This week has been memorable, not in a good way, but more of a, ‘don’t ever repeat again,’ way. I have been experiencing some new symptoms in the last couple of weeks and things have changed this week. On Wednesday we were told by my out-of-network neurologist that I needed to be evaluated because there had been a change in status. For us the closest ER with the capability of a neurology consult is roughly an hour away and is in-network. The nurse working with me was amazing and called the hospital ahead of our arrival, gave report, as well as shared suggestions that the on-call neurologist was recommending for testing.

We arrived at the ER a little after 1 pm and were back to a room by about 2 pm. The ER resident examined me and while doing his history, became very confused regarding our entire situation. He couldn’t understand why we were being seen out of network but were at this ER. After explaining that the neurologist treating my migraines was at this facility, but doesn’t have anything to do with my autonomic issues, a neurology consult was finally called in.

Tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…5 pm. Oh look! Two timid appearing neurology residents entered the room. To ice the cake, suddenly I remembered that July is when all of the newly graduated doctors are unleashed onto the general public. One of them possibly was a second year resident, as she had the correct tools in her pockets to conduct a neuro exam. The other most definitely was a first-year, baby face, with no clue. I helped guide him through the exam. Yes, me, the patient/RN/case manager/social worker/advocate, told the doctor how to do his exam because he did not know how to do it. I also told them about the other facility calling up and giving report so that they had it for reference.

As the residents exited the room, they mentioned that they would talk to their attending and be back.

Tick…tock…tick…tock…tick…tock…8 pm; doctor hand-off for the entire University teaching hospital…tick….tock…tick…tock…tick…tock. The nurse kept popping her head in to assure us that she was paging neurology repeatedly as well as the charge nurse. Finally 9:30 pm, the ER resident stepped in and said that he heard from neurology and we were free to go home. Apparently it wasn’t felt that any testing or observation was needed, despite the recommendations from the other facility.

Diagnosis: weakness and numbness. Great, I already knew that. Biggest waste of half a day of my life in history. As the nurse was removing the needle from my port she muttered, “what a f*****g joke.” Agreed, my friend, mutually agreed.

Onto another day of history making, wasted trips for symptoms that nobody is looking at. Except for the neurologist who desperately wants to address things, but we can’t go there until we get another prior authorization. That’s another story for another post. Don’t you just love my life…the things that happen; I couldn’t make this stuff up even if I tried!

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