Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some medical clinics WANT you to be frustrated

I had an endiograph scheduled for 8 am.  At least I think that's what it's called.  I swallow barium and they x-ray me swallowing.

It was requested that I get there at 7:30 to do paperwork.  The paperwork took no more than 10 minutes.  That left me with 20 minutes to kill which I happily spent playing word games on my phone.

Up to this point I am reasonably content.

Promptly at 8,  they took me change into a hospital top.  My belongings, including my phone, were safely locked away.  I am now sitting in a much smaller waiting room with no games but with magazines to flip through.  Of course, the room was dimly lit and my reading glasses are locked away with my purse.  I did manage to entertain myself with the photos in the magazine.

Not as content now.

The nurse came at about 8:15 and took me to the x-ray room.  Cool, I think.  Fifteen minutes after the hour isn't bad.  I then proceeded to wait in a cold, even more dimly lit room for 20 minutes, with no phone games and no magazines.  This room did have a clock, that I could watch ticking slowly by while no one came to perform my tests.

I am getting agitated and frustrated by this time.  I had just decided to go find a magazine when the technician appeared. 

Do the people who design these tests even think about the people taking them? 

First they gave me some crystalline barium to drink with only a little water.  That wasn't bad, kind of like drinking undissolved sugar in water.

But next I had to drink some really thick barium solution while they x-rayed me.  It was like drinking flavorless pudding.  Is there any reason flavor couldn't have been added?  I nearly gagged.

Thirdly they gave me a large tablet of barium to swallow.  Now, large pills getting stuck in my throat is the reason I am here.  I asked, only partly joking, if they had paramedics on call.

Throughout this, the nurse is being somewhat sympathetic, while the x-ray technician is the opposite, condescending and impatient. He says the pill isn't that big and I shouldn't have a problem.  (The last one I choked on was a Tylenol, for crying out loud.)
To me, it felt like the pill paused halfway down, but did complete the journey.   The technician, "See it went down with no problem."  Like I said, condescending.

Finally, they had me lay on my stomach and use a straw to drink a thinner version of the barium while I was x-rayed.  The taste made me gag and the nurse thought I was choking.  At least that ended the tests. 

I got there at 7:30 and waited until 8:30 for a test that took 6 minutes.  Apparently my time and comfort is of no consequence to them. 

I've been to "test mills"  that are punctual and considerate.  This one was neither.  I left feeling queasy from the barium and infuriated by the treatment.

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