August 15th, 2008

Why are you here?

I never thought I'd have an occasion to post here but I just remembered this today and it gave me such a giggle, in a WTF? way, that I thought I'd share. It's one of those bits of bad service that doesn't so much make you mad as just makes you wonder how on earth it could happen.

As a teeny bit of background, to explain, I have M.E./CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have another post related to this but I'll save it for another day), and as a result of it causing my immune system to be very weak, ever since I developed it I've developed more and more allergies/ intolerances, often showing symptoms without any idea why. On to the story.

About two years ago, I went to the doctor complaining of severe stomach pains virtually every time I ate anything. I do have IBS but these pains were well beyond anying I normally suffer from that. Anyway, I had been in a few times about the same thing and had nothing done about it so this time I pretty much demanded a referral because I was sick of having all this pain and nothing even being checked. I'll put the rest in script format so it's easier to read:

D - Doc
M- Me
S- specialist
SR -Specialist's receptionist

It all starts in the appointment with the doc:

M- 'blah blah blah referral because I have severe stomach pains when I eat....blah'
D- 'Okay then, I'll send you for some tests with an allergy specialist, to see if maybe it's allergies at play here'. Says bye bye and I go home

a month later, I get a letter saying I had to ring the hospital to make an appointment, as usually happens. So, I ring up:

M- Hi, this is songbird72884, I have a letter here asking me to make an appointment with *Specialist*.
SR- Okay sure, what's it for? I just need to know so I can make sure to give it the right priority (our local hospital's great in that they actually find out how urgent it is and make sure to book something accordingly)
M - It's about some severe stomach pains I've been having, my doctor thinks it might be related to allergies.
SR- *pause* Oooookaaaaay.....well we have an appointment *insert date and time* if that's alright?
M- Great!

So all seems fine and dandy until the day of the appointment, when I arrive and check in. I'm ushered round to the waiting area, do the usual weigh and blood pressure thing, wait a while and then get called in.

S- So, songbird72884, what seems to be the problem?
M - *goes through the whole spiel about the problem*
S - *expression gets more and more confused and almost stunned*
M- So I'm not really sure what could be causing it, is there anything that can be done to find out?
S- *long pause* I'm sure there could be, but I'm not sure why you're here.

At this point, I'm pretty much mirroring the confusion on the specialist's face, as I'm thinking 'Hello, I've been sent to you for some kind of tests or something, you have my files right in front of you, I just told you the entire story, what's the big muddle?'

Specialist then shuffles her papers, looks me in the eye and clears her throat.

S- you see, songbird72884, I don't know why you've been sent to me, I have nothing to do with dietary allergies. I'm a dermatologist.
M - *mental headdesk* Oh.

Basically, somewhere along the line, my dietary allergy specialist referral became a refferal to a dermatologist for a rash I'd never even reported to the doc. On the plus side though, I did have a rash, which got checked out and found out to be a mild allergy to the sun which is now being treated, yay!

But seriously, what on earth?! I understand if some people might not consider this bad_service, but the point here is the major mix-up in being sent to the whole wrong person, and it never got pointed out until I was in the appointment.