Epic doctor visit FAIL and presentation WIN

Doctor Visit Fail

Epic doctor visit fail today. I'll start at the beginning - where I engaged in my usual Evilbunny (my adorable elderly feline companion) morning routine, which consists of oatmeal, latte, morning news, Evil's breakfast (with arthritis pills) and lap purrs. I then printed the following four articles to bring in to the clinic with me:
  1. Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy for Female-to-Male Transsexuals (2007)
  2. Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline (2009)
  3. Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual People: A Review of Treatment Regimens, Outcomes, and Adverse Effects (2003)
  4. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion: Health Care for Transgender Individuals (2011)
With these gems stashed neatly in my pack, I ventured forth toward the clinic, ~45 minutes away. Along the way I came across a Whole Foods and couldn't resist popping in for a vegan blueberry muffin. 

I arrived at the clinic 30 minutes early for my 11:45am appointment full of oatmeal, muffin, sunshine, and latte. By noon, I hadn't been called yet. Given my stellar past experiences with the U.S. health care system, I wasn't surprised and had come prepared with my highly entertaining tablet. 

By ~12:10pm, I was beckoned to meet with an assistant of some sort who asked me if I had been fasting. No, I replied. No one told me that I was supposed to get blood work or fast! She proceeded to inform me that the doctor wanted to have my blood work done today to compare it to the blood work I had done about 5 months ago. I was then returned to the lobby, where I resumed playing with my tablet.

About 10 minutes later I was beckoned again and guided to Room 7. After sitting in there for about 5 minutes, she returned and informed me that the doctor did want me to have my blood work done despite not fasting. I was then returned me to the lobby and told to return to Room 7 after my blood was done. Around 12:45pm a phlebotomist popped out and yelled for "Thomas M. Berg!". Some guy, presumably Thomas M. Berg, got up and headed over to her. And then she yelled again, "Thomas M. Berg!" Hearing the Thomas and confused about why she was yelling a second time, I stood up and said, "My last name is Thomas.", to which she replied, "Yeah, Thomas M. Berg." Confused, I sat down. And then she said, "Thomas M. Berg, come back!" Turns out, the entire time she was yelling, "Thomas and Berg". Gaaaaaawwwd! 

So off I went, got poked. And as the phlebotomist guided me back toward Room 7, the assistant called out, "He's in 5 now!", and off to room 5 I went.

And there I sat.

For a while.

Until, around an hour later the assistant stumbled upon me. And explained to me that she has just returned from lunch and clearly some miscommunication had occurred. Apparently my doctor had entered the wrong room some time ago, didn't find me in there, and proceeded to meet with her other patients (who's appointments were also running late). I was then given the options to either a.) wait for an unspecified amount of time until the doctor would be available again, with clear implication that this could be quite some time or b.) reschedule.

Given that I had a presentation to do at 4pm, I opted to reschedule and now my next appointment is on May 20. Which did irk me a tad, since I literally had to skip an entire day of work to be there. But I did get to bask in a whole bunch of sunshine, that blueberry muffin, and a cool breeze for most of the day. So there's that.

NIH Academy Community Project Presentation

As part of the NIH Academy curriculum, fellows are required to do a community outreach project as part of the a program - which is geared toward increasing knowledge of health disparities (in a nutshell).

A group of other fellows and I focused our project on attempting to address a health disparity issue in Capitol Heights, MD. I had just watched a video from the Washington Post about a vegan food truck delivering fresh, nutritious foods to people in this area - which the USDA defines as a "food desert". For those who haven't heard of this term before, a food desert describes parts of the country that are void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. Not surprisingly, these areas are typically found in impoverished areas, largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

Some other members of my group and I touched base with the community and met a handful of older (60s - 70s) community residents who take it upon themselves to redistribute fruits and vegetables to over 200 senior citizens throughout the area every month. In the two years they've been doing this, they hadn't been able to afford the non-profit 501(c)(3) incorporation fee. It genuinely seemed insurmountable. Anyway, long story short, we did a few different things (educational outreach, tabling, etc.) - but most notably, raised money to get them incorporated with enough left over to deposit into their official bank account. A few of the community residents attended the presentation, which was really touching and amazing of them.

I received the following super sweet text from a friend in the audience afterwards: "I totally cried at the end of your presentation... Great job Dexter! I know there were some challenges but you did a lot of work in a short amount of time so you should be proud."

Awwww!

Annnnd my parents are coming to visit me tomorrow! Exciting! 

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