Notes from the Home - November 29, 2016

It took a while, but on November 18, I had the MRI that was originally scheduled for November 11th or, depending whom you believe, November 3rd. You see, on October 28th, I had an appointment with Dr. Verson, a neurologist. Among other things, he said it was time for me to have another MRI of the brain and cortex, and that he wanted to see me again in a few weeks. The appointment concluded, he told Russ and me to wait in the examining room and someone would be along to get things arranged.

While we waited, Russ said he wouldn't be available to chauffeur me on November 11th. A moment later, a woman came in to tell me where I needed to go for the MRI and what to expect when I got there. As she was talking, I noticed the paper in her hand, which indicated the appointment was scheduled for November 11th. "This date won't work for me," I told her. "Then, you'll have to call over there and reschedule it."

On Tuesday, November 1st, I called the folks in the imaging department at St. Francis Hospital and explained the problem. "Mr. Harris, what is your birth date?" the woman asked. I told her, and she said, "Mr. Harris, actually, we show your appointment as being on November 3rd, this Thursday. Will that work?" I said, it would, and then called Russ to make sure.

At 10 am on the morning of the third, Russ took me to the hospital. At the desk in the lobby, a woman handed me a clipboard with several forms on it. "Fill these out. Someone will be with you shortly." About the time I finished, someone was with me, and she led Russ and me to the imagining department, where I was given another clipboard and several more forms to fill out. One of the questions on those forms asked if I had a implanted drug infusion thingy. "Yes, a baclofen pump."

Then a woman came by and pushed me into an office. She asked for the forms I had filled out, took a quick look at them, and said, "You know, you will have to have someone restart your pump when you're done here. Do you have someone to do that?" My answer was "No." I told her, Dr. Milton, who manages my pump, is in Atlanta at the Emory Clinic. And, the other time I had an MRI at St. Francis, there was someone here from Medtronics, the company that makes the pump, to make sure it was operating correctly. "We'll have to reschedule your appointment," she said. "Do you have a card for your pump?" she asked. I do, I gave to her, and she went off to call Medtronics. Twenty minutes later, she returned to say the person she needed to talk to was out and wouldn't be back until Monday. "I'll call them next week and see what we can arrange," she told me. With that, Russ and I headed to the parking lot.

Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but I do believe the woman at Dr. Verson's office who put down the wrong date also neglected to tell the people at St. Francis about the pump. You see, Dr. Verson had me get an MRI two or three years ago. That was the first MRI I'd had since the folks at the Cleveland Clinic put the pump in me. I had no idea the MRI might play havoc with the pump until I was sitting in the imaging department's waiting area that day, and a nurse came by to say I might have to stay a while after the MRI was done, because the person from Medtronics, who would make sure the pump was functioning properly, was running a little late. Obviously, someone from the doctor's office told the people at St. Francis about my pump then. Just as obviously, no one bothered to give the hospital that information this time.

On the morning of November 15, Dr. Verson's office called. I assumed the call was to remind me of the follow-up visit with Dr. Verson, scheduled for Friday, November 18. But, no.  The woman said because I had not yet had the MRI, the follow-up visit would have to be rescheduled. Someone from the hospital would call, she said, to reschedule the MRI.

The call from St. Francis came an hour later. The woman said I was to be at the hospital on Friday by eleven o'clock. Russ got me there in a timely manner, and the procedure proceeded without a hitch. It would have been nice, though, if they had kept all the forms I filled out the first time. They didn't, and I had to fill them out again. Like, I have nothing better to do than fill out a bunch of forms. Well, actually, I didn't have anything better to do, but that's not the point.

When the woman operating the MRI tired of looking for my brain, she pulled me out the machine and turned things over to Ed from Medtronics. Ed, who is originally from Maine, said he enjoys the Georgia winters but prefers the Maine summers. "That's how I feel about the weather along the shores of Lake Erie," I told him. From there, the conversation turned to football. We talked about our favorite teams - his is the Patriots; mine is the Steelers - for a few minutes before turning our attention to the Browns for comic relief.

"It's been twenty minutes," Ed said, looking at his watch. "Let's see how the pump is doing." He pulled a sensor and something about the size of an I-Phone out of his case. "Where's your pump?" he asked. I showed him. He put the sensor on it, stared at the display on the device in his hand, and said, "The pump is doing everything it's supposed to. You're good to go." And with Russ pushing, I went.

Now I must wait until December 27 to find out what is going on with my brain, assuming they found it. I know I often have a hard time finding it.


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