Friday, June 23, 2006

One word to describe this morning's attempt at getting an MRI at Jefferson:


He was scheduled to be picked up by a wheelchair van service at 8 am for a 9:30 am MRI. The guy came in to get Mike and as we were heading out, I asked the nurses if Mike had had breakfast. Nope. So, I stopped in the cafeteria and they made up a boxed breakfast for him to take with him. Then, we got in the van and were waiting as the driver loaded another Magee patient in the back. I noticed Mike was really off - not making sense. Because I'm anal Danna, I called up to the nurse's station to verify that he got his provigil. His nurse was like, "Wait? Where are you? You've already left? He hasn't gotten any of his meds yet!" Fortunately, we were still in the parking area downstairs, so she came down and gave me his gazillion pills to take on the way to Jefferson. I know I've written this before, but Mike takes like 20 something pills in the morning. He HAS to get them. This little incident could have been a freaking nightmare.

Then, we get to 925 Chestnut Street where we're the Magee folks have scheduled Mike to get the scan. But I know something's weird because he's never had a scan done there. Plus, it's an orthopedic place. I call Jefferson radiology as the driver's getting the other guy out of the van. Radiology says that the scan was ordered on "first available" basis, and that they had a spot in the orthopedic building. I explain that my husband needs an MRI of his brain and the woman insists that they have the capacity to do head scans at this particular building (Rothman Institute at Jefferson).

Now, all of a sudden, I realize that the tech who's driving the van isn't coming inside with us. Mind you, I haven't been alone with Michael outside a hospital in 3 months. He's got NO catheter on, No diaper... and they're just dropping us off in this random building. Ok then.

We go up to the 5th floor and search forever for a bathroom for Mike to use that is a handicapped accessible single room so I can go in with him...

Then we get to the MRI place. Tiny hole in the wall. I fill out the forms. Sure enough, we have an appt there. Yes, they do brain scans. Not often, but they can do them. Then, I tell the 2 ladies working there that Mike has a programmable shunt. The response was, "What does that mean?"


It means that the MRI needs to be preceded and followed by X-rays to make sure that s'all good inside his head. It means they need to be equipped with a radiologist on hand to read the X-rays prior to the MRI. It means that we ARE in the wrong place because this building isn't set up for X-rays and has no radiologist on hand.

After 1/2 hour on the phone with people at Magee, they send an ambulance back to pick us up and return us to Magee. Once at Magee, I take matters into my own hands, call Jefferson radiology, get a new appt for Monday at 11:30 am at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience (where we probably should have had it scheduled all along). The case managers,

Dr. Rommel, and nurses all apologized profusely. They are going to have some serious conversations about where the ball got dropped.

I was pissed and they knew it.... and to be quite honest, I was freaked out. After all these weeks of coddling and teaching how to walk with Mike and then all of a sudden we're dropped off at this random building where brain injury isn't even the norm. That sucked. To be in a place full of otherwise healthy people with a little broken foot here or twisted knee there, wheeling around my husband who clearly is a bit out of it. It was... weird. It was also nerve-wracking, wondering the entire time if he were going to have an accident because he had no catheter and no depends on.

So, now I'm home, venting into my blog over pizza, getting ready to go to the dentist to get a new mouthguard since the 12 year old housekeepers in our OC hotel threw mine out 2 weeks ago. After today, I might grind my teeth away if I don't have a mouthguard in.


Anonymous said...

I cannot image what would have happened if you were NOT there. It is so scary.(no wonder you grind your teeth) It seems that you are Mike's healthcare watch-dog. Good for you for being so thorough.

Peter said...

That is an appalling account.