Friday, July 23, 2010

An Inconvenient Cancer

I will start by asking a question... Isn't faxing medical records, no matter HOW thick your file is, to specialists at the request of a patient part of being a medical office? Just asking. I would think there wouldn't be any problem with the Strecker Cancer Center faxing records to a surgeon or a MILLION surgeons so I can choose who will give me a much needed surgery. But I got a call yesterday asking me what particular records I wanted faxed because they couldn't send all my records because my file was so thick. Or to come up and get copies of my record to fax myself. Hmm. Maybe my file is thick because I have a cancer that hasn't been controlled yet and I need more treatment. What a novel thought.

I know I do sound like a total bitch now- I'm usually a 'go with the flow' kinda girl. I only stir shit when I feel it is extremely justified. I swear. This time- it just got under my skin and it took a lot not to go total bitch when I was addressing the issue.

My faxed letter went like this:

To whom it may concern:
Please fax any and ALL of my medical records ASAP to Dr. Sardi at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

And please mail any and ALL of my CT scans ASAP to:
Dr. Sardi
Baltimore, MD XXXXX

Dr. Chalikonda
Cleveland, OH XXXXX

and to me
Belpre, OH XXXXX

Thank you.

Now it COULD be that I was using too many X's(har har) but she said, "you don't have a fax number for Dr. Chalikonda."
Yes, I know.
But not like she was going to fax my entire file to him either because I was asked to select which files I wanted them to send because my file was so thick. Dr. Chalikonda only needs my CT scans because the disc I was given to take to him didn't have my recent CT scans on it... only the CT I had in May of '09 before diagnosis. (another screwup) I hand carried my other records.
hmmm. Any and ALL didn't mean anything I guess.

I'm losing my cool with anyone who gives me the slightest amount of guff over this shit because it's not hard to comprehend. And it's no fricken skin off anyone's nose to fax a big file. No one is going to get a pay cut to make up for the paper costs. It's a couple of extra minutes. Sorry if my cancer is inconviencing ANYONE in the medical field. Damnit!

I'm learning as I go. I will have all my files in hand AND have files at my physician's office. She and her staff seem to be the only ones willing to do whatever it is I need done. (Thanks Teri, Jamie and Brooke)

As I open up my naive eyes, I'm seeing that you have got to be in EVERYONE'S ASSES to get what you need or want done. I'm not used to doing that to anyone other than my husband, kids and younger siblings.

Hell, I can't even haggle in Tijuana. I looked like a sucker because I'd pay tag price for whatever I wanted there. My friend Karen gave me crap because I paid $20 for a hand carved marble chess set. She swore she could get them to come down to $12.

I'm going to have to turn on "The Bitch" for people to respond just like I would if it was one of my daughters in this situation. That's how I've got to approach this. I wouldn't take any shit if people were dragging their feet getting stuff done for one of my kids- so I shouldn't take any shit if people are doing it to me.

It's exhausting.

So, if this was turned into a book... this would be the angry chapters.

p.s. Hello San Antonio.


  1. Faxing??? What is this, 1990? Why can't they oh, I don't know, EMAIL them? If hand written, scan them! Scanning takes no longer than faxing, probably less time. Geez, some places are stuck in the stone age.

    Once you get your hands on your records, you should have them scanned in, find a Kinkos or somewhere that can do it. The state of medical record-keeping in this country is amazingly bad.

    Now you got me grumpy!

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  3. Okay, re-posting! It's hard to post when there's a 3.5 year old boy yelling the names of U.S. Presidents 2 feet away from you.

    Be mad, Rachel! You have a right. Make them understand that their extra few stupid work minutes that they are getting paid for might extend your life for a few years. Shame them into being better people. If you don't want to bother with that, give me their numbers and I will shame them for you.

  4. You keep on Rachel! You are doing right. As a nurse....we have to bitch a lot to the doctors to get them to do I am sure it is WORSE for patients!You will win this yet...even if you have to scream your way through it! :0)

  5. I can't belive that they are still faxing... aren't all their records electronic anyway? Amazing.
    My mom just went through treatment for lukemia. (Fortunatly, she works at a hospital and expected the falters). We took her to a hospital 500 miles away from her home (OHSU in Portland, OR). Anywho... because she lived so far away she had lots of tests done at home and lots done up in Portland. So she requested a copy of every single appointment and every single lab test. She kept her own, full set of medical records. It really saved her on quite a few occasions. Good luck. And if you want, I can come out there to Ohio and go all super bitch for you if you want, I'm pretty good at that.

  6. Yes, they need to scan those records, and email them to you. Then you are in control and can send them to anyone who needs them-as soon as they need them. You can get full copies of your CTs by contacting the office that did the scans. They can email them to you and your doctor as well-today. This really makes me mad. I wish I were there to light a fire for you.

  7. Have the Dr. request your records they won't give him lip and it will not cost you either. Then when you know that the Dr. got the records tell those pansies to bite you!

  8. HIPAA is your friend...