Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 1

Day 1 started early, which is okay with me because having the first appointment of the day is the only way to ensure you don't have to wait long. The poor internal medicine resident who was assigned to my case did a pretty good job. He took his time, he asked lots of great questions, did a logical exam and decided he wanted blood (I called that one-they always, always want blood) and he wanted a nerve study in my arms and he wanted to send me to the neurology dept headache clinic. I got the blood and nerve study done but the first appointment in headache clinic wasn't until late September!

SO the plan is for me to be what they call a checker, which means I show up at the neurology desk and sit there waiting for someone to cancel or not show up for their appointment. The checker hours are from 7am to 11am and then again from 1pm to 4pm. The trick is to be the first checker at both 7am and 1pm so the first no show/cancelled appointment goes to you. But of course you could spend the next month as a checker and never actually see a doctor.

Now, I spent 20+ years living in Rochester and getting all my medical care from Mayo and so it has never been a problem to wait for appointments. I always assumed, since so many of the patients come from out of state or other countries, that some system was in place for those who were traveling and paying money just to be in town, to get appointments in a timely manner. That is after all why we go. If the only system in place is to have visitors become checkers who spend their days (sick as they are) sitting in a lobby waiting for something that may never happen, well that is just crazy.
I spent the last 1/2 hour of the day as a checker and was at least able to learn that I need to be better prepared to sit in that waiting room all day. It was brighter and louder than any neurological waiting room should be. I can't believe how chatty everyone was. I'll be packing snacks, water, rescue medications, noise canceling headphones to create quiet, my hat to block the lights and the 3 questionnaire packets I received today.

Tomorrow promises to be a very long day - It just feels like such a waste of time. What's the point of seeing someone in internal medicine if he isn't going to send me to all the specialists I need to see? He wants neuro to do it, which would be fine if I could actually see them. I think I'll try to get a message to the internist and see if he can pull some strings and get me an actual appointment, or at least start sending me to other people. I don't mind staying here as long as it takes but I want to be making progress, not paying to park and eat downtown while waiting indefinitely to see someone who will make referrals.

Why does everything in medicine have to be so darn hard!


  1. That seems like a completely ridiculous way for them to handle your situation. I'm sorry things aren't off to a better start.

  2. Oh girl, that blows having to be a checker. It boggles my mind that they didn't have a neurologist appointment lined up as part of your consultation. Didn't they read your file??? Sounds like you have a good plan to pass the time & hopefully there are strings to pull to get you out of that bright and noisy waiting room.

  3. So sorry to hear this. You're right of course - almost everyone who goes to the Mayo is from out of town. It doesn't make sense to keep people in town for an undetermined amount of time just to wait. I'm wondering why they couldn't have automatically set you up with the neuro dept since the reason for your visit was migraine related.

    I hope you manage to see someone today.

  4. I made an appt with Mayo a month back. Although, they called and said they didnt take my Aetna insurance. Now Im glad I didnt travel all the way from Florida!

  5. That really sucks - and they know that many of their clients suffer from headaches, so why would they have the waiting room set up in a way almost guaranteed to trigger a headache?

    hopefully you'll get in quickly, but in the meantime, I hope this will cheer you up . . . I was given an award for my blog recently, and I wanted to pass it on to you. You can find the information at