Get it! Get it! Good boy!
This last week I have felt like a dog chasing his tail. My primary care doctor gave me a referral to see Dr. McCaffrey at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, who is a Professor and Chair of the Head and Neck Department because the issue from my cheek might be cancer related. My doctor was a fellow who studied there and he thought there should be no problem getting me in.
So...I called to book an appointment and the chase began. I was told that they would not book an appointment unless I had an "active" cancer or tests results showing such. I explained that I have been a cancer patient with MD Anderson since 2007 and though I don't know if my cancer is active, I'd like to establish myself with doctors there. Since they would not take me at Moffitt I was told I could book an appointment with Dr. McCaffrey off site at USF. Humm...So I can't see him at Moffitt unless I have active cancer, but I can see him at USF to determine if I have active cancer so he can see me at Moffitt? Get the tail...get the tail...get it!!!
OK book the appointment and the soonest I could get in was April 26. I'm not happy, I'm in pain, and by next month this issue might be healed up. What happened next I could not have ever imagined. Since I use a lot of social media I decide to post my distress on Twitter: "@MoffittNews VERY DISAPPOINTED I am a patient with MD ANDERSON and have a referral from Primary Care and can't get in #gettingtherunaround"
Within hours I received this tweet: "MoffittCancerCenter @MoffittNews @DoctorSwill We're so sorry to hear that. Can you direct message us with your contact info? We'd like to look in to this for you." I send my information and the phone rings with an understanding person taking my information to book my appointment at Moffitt. I was able to book an appointment only a few days away with a different doctor at a satellite Moffitt Center. I didn't have to see Dr. McCaffery, and since I could not see him until late next month, I booked the soonest appointment.
I never, not in a million years, would have dreamed that Twitter had more power than a doctors referral, especially a referral from a doctor who studied at the hospital! GO TWITTER!
The next day the head administrator for Moffitt called me to see if I still needed some assistance. He said it was his day off and there was some communication going around about me and he wanted to make sure it was resolved. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE IMPRESSED!
I was so grateful and relieved and thought we were done....my bad. When I hung up the phone it dawned on me that the person who booked my appointment for 1:40 PM on March 19 promised to send a verification email and I had not received it yet. So, I called to ask about it and was told they had no record of me...at all.
After some further confusion we start again. Since the 1:40 appointment was given to someone else, I was booked at 2:40 and then I had to give all my information all over again. She said I need to bring my records from MD Anderson. I explained I don't think I can have them in 3 days, I'll do my best. I'm told it's more important to show up for the appointment and the records could be ordered. So... I don't worry. Ahh...we're done right?
WRONG! The phone rings the day before my scheduled appointment and I'm told I can't come in without my records. WHAT? I explained what I was told when the second appointment was booked and again I'm told I cannot be seen without my records in hand. Now I'm pissed.
Back to bitch on Twitter, along with a phone call to the head administrator and here we go again. Get the tail...get it...get it. Round and round we go and the dust clears and I'm told...just come in we'll work it out.
I've heard a lot of great things about Moffitt. A neighbor went there for her breast cancer and was very happy. You all remember Bob Pemberton, my hero, the brave man who with his last breath helped me write the three part - Spotlight On Cancer "Dead Man Talking" leaving a powerful message here on BTGD for all to learn from? He too had great things to say about Moffitt as he battled his own tongue cancer. That was the most powerful thing I think I've ever written here.
I'll reserve my opinion for now. If getting an appointment is this confusing, I'm worried about what is to come. I will say, all but one person I spoke with went way out of their way to help resolve the problems. That in itself is a big plus in my book. There will always be problems, mistakes, and miscommunication, but the proof is how they are resolved in the end.
A HUGE THANK YOU FOR ALL WHO HELPED GET THINGS ON TRACK!
Stay tuned for my first H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center visit and a new battle that might begin!
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For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)