March 21, 2023

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You


Good News
I went to Memorial Sloan Kettering on Thursday and had excellent news: My tumors are stable, they have not grown (ye-haw)! I have to wait for the blood tests to come back next week to confirm. It made me think about this:

You’re leaving the doc’s office after a blood draw, a pap smear, or depositing some other bodily byproduct, and the doctor says, “We’ll call you in a week or two if something is wrong.”

You go home biting your fingernails and don’t know when to stop. Are the results in but they didn’t call because everything is fine? Or is there a slip of paper that says “You are dying” that fell behind the nurses’ desk and got chucked in the recycling bin by the nighttime custodial staff?

Caller Number #1
Even if your head does not dance with these neurotic visions, even if you have the utmost confidence in the administrative functioning of your doc’s office, never accept the pat answer: “Don’t call us we’ll call you.” Part of being a proactive patient is staying on top of your test results. In the medical system, small administrative errors can have major health consequences. It is simply good practice to call relentlessly until you have a definitive answer.

Do you get nervous waiting for routine test results? Do you trust them to call you back? Are you aggressive? How does the office staff treat you when you are persistent in calling for test results? Are you ever too intimdated by your doctor or their staff to ask for what you need?

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