I finally feel like I'm not as naive and helpless as I once was, when it comes to doctors and hospitals and the like.
Call me a slow learner. I know. It's taken me a while to get the hang of things.
But at last, I think I'm ahead of the learning curve, having reached a new level of competence and confidence when it comes to dealing with the health care system, knowing what information to ask for, and what question they will ask. It is good to be prepared.
When a doctor gives you a note or an order saying that you are to take your child for testing, there are certain questions that should be asked:
1. Is this a walk in place, or do I need to set up an appointment?
Usually a blood draw is just to a lab and you walk in and do it and are out of there in 15 minutes or less.
For a different type of test, you might have a "come anytime" situation. But if the test, however simple, is to be performed in a HOSPITAL, one needs to call and be on the phone for an interminable amount of time to pre-register for the walk-in procedure. That would have been last week when I took Eric for his X-Rays.
2. If the receptionist at the doctor's office says: "You are all set", what she really means is: You need to call the hospital and ask several questions, get pre-registered and be on the phone for an interminable amount of time with at least three different people in two different departments before they will know you and/or your child actually exist.
3. If you ask the receptionist who supposedly got you "all set" whether there were any special instructions such as not eating, or howling at the moon, which must be performed before said test can be accomplished, and she says "no, you are good to go!", do not believe her. What she really means is that you should call the hospital and find a person who actually works in the department where the test will be performed (such as for a sleep deprived EEG or an MRI) and ask THEM what special instructions might be. Such people will tell you to wake your kid up between 12 and 4 am and keep them awake without caffeiene or chocolate until the 9 am EEG so that they are incoherent at the time of the test. This means that not only is it a sleep deprived EEG for the kid, it's also a sleep deprived day for one lucky parent.
4. Despite all efforts at pre-registration, if one is pre-registering for TWO procedures at once, one has to talk to at least two different people in the same department and go through the same information twice.
5. None of this is any sort of guarantee that many of the above mentioned steps won't have to be repeated on the actual day of the procedure/s. So, it behooves to arrive a few minutes before the scheduled test time, just in case.
6. The question: "Your daughter's social?" is not an inquiry into her autism and social skills abilities, but rather a request for her social security number. (Hangs head in embarrassment after regaling the poor registrar with a litany of daughter's abilities....sigh.) Not so suave after all, I guess.