Aug 30, 2016

My Extra Arm

Not stamping related! If you are looking for some awesome stamping, check here, here, or here.

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Lately I've found myself in a dizzying amount of medical offices -- all related to essentially nothing, just the usual "wear and tear" stuff for anyone in her 60s. It's like all of a sudden my body said "Hey she's retired. She has time to go to the doctor. Let's throw random pain and swelling all around." (Note - Good health is precious. I am very grateful to have it.)

Of course, every ailment comes with a scan or some other test. So the medical visits have multiplied. And each medical visit includes filling out forms. I've written my name and address, and checked boxes guaranteeing payment and acknowledging the receipt of some privacy stuff (that I've never actually received and do not want) so many times, that I started to wonder. Does anyone read these forms once they are completed?  In particular, does anyone read the medical history part?  Why am I reporting my medications and surgery and the fact that I've never smoked if no one reads this stuff?

Source:  spinept.org
So a few weeks ago, I got amused and wrote under "reason for visit," "I have an extra arm." I handed the forms to the receptionist and sat back to wait to be seen. The longer I waited, the more nervous I got. Would they throw me out?  Write down some psych diagnosis? Order an x-ray of the extra arm?

No, because no one read the paperwork. I left the doctor feeling pretty smug. Not once did he ask about my extra arm! I knew it! I had won my little game in my pathetic little life. 

When I was checking out, the receptionist gave me a code to set up an online medical records account. I declined, not wanting my medical records online - I don't want Russia hacking my account and telling everyone how much I weigh. She explained "Your records are already online. This is how you see your test results and how the doctor will communicate with you." So  I set up the account and got access to my records. Awesome!!!! A neurotic's dream. Stamping would have to wait. I was too busy reading my creatine, BUN, potassium and calcium levels and spending all day with Dr. Google figuring out how many years I have left. 

But then I saw that there is a section in my online medical records that includes my "medical history." Apparently, someone somehow got the idea that I have an extra arm and entered "extra arm" in my online medical records. Unfortunately, this is a real medical condition.  Is there some stamping technique I could pull off with this extra arm?  Wash the dishes and read a book at the same time?

The nuns in elementary school warned us that if we lied, God would pay us back in kind. (This is why, in 38 years of lawyering, I never called in sick unless I was really sick.) Would another arm sprout overnight? Then I got really nervous. Our local hospital is part of that medical record system. What if I was in an accident and they started looking for my extra arm? I imagined all sorts of scans while I lay unconscious. And what if they started asking Mike about my extra arm?? (Do you do this? Do you play out in your head all the crazy stuff that could happen in your life? Glad to know I'm not alone.)

Luckily, there was a way I could edit some of the information, so I edited the extra arm reference. But there was no way to remove the reference entirely. It looked like I had an extra arm, but got it removed.

UGH. So I swallowed my pride and called up the doctor's office and asked them to remove the reference. They did not appear to have a sense of humor, but I checked and my records are now correct.

I think I need to find another doctor....




21 comments:

  1. Too bad you didn't blame the mistake on them - "you must not have read my handwriting correctly!" (unless you were using a tablet to enter the info yourself)

    It always floors me that we fill out those forms, and then, in some offices, they pay a nurse or health aide/technician to ask all of the same questions orally.

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  2. OMG, I was laughing when I read about your writing "extra arm." Too funny but I totally understand. I always wonder if anyone reads through forms I fill out. I am so tired of filling out those forms. I feel like just making copies of the completed form and giving a copy to each new doctor, specialist, or any other medical related places. And they have to have their forms completely, too. When I had hand surgery on my right hand (I am write handed) and went into another new doctor (for a different reason than hand) she wanted me to fill out the forms. Seriously, I have have to fill that out? Can't you see I am going to have a difficult time writing? Well, I filled it out. Not sure they could read it but no one ever asked what the mess said so my assumption is no, they don't read it. Maybe they just scan them.

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  3. Forgot to say I've resisted getting a logon for my medical records but finally gave in. I must say I have found it very helpful and I'm sorry I waited as long as I did. It's so much easier to check for reports myself rather than wait for the doctor's office to call me with the lab, x-ray, etc results. Also, it is much easier to request prescription refills rather than calling the office and getting placed on hold. Are you getting the impression that I don't like phone calls with the doctors' office?

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  4. So funny! I wonder if the data entry person had a good laugh. It reminded me of this blog post that had me in tears. So funny! http://dropsofawesome.com/2015/04/22/they-call-me-k-dawg/

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  5. Love your humor so much!!! Oh...love your cards too, of course! We could so be friends!

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  6. I've resisted signing up for those online accounts/reports from all my doctors. I spend all my free -- and not so free -- time in their office; I really am not excited about sitting at the computer and spending even more time dealing with them. But maybe I should check it out. The next time I have a couple free hours ...

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  7. Oy! You crack me up. I just spent half a day charting the changes in my "biometrics" from my last 4 visits on the online health file. Talk about neurotic.

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  8. You need a hobby Joan - wait - you already have one!!

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  9. What a great chuckle for my Tuesday! Thanks Joan!

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  10. This is awesome! And I must thank you because doing something like that is something I would do...and now you have saved me :) Thank you so much for sharing!!

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  11. You are so right, copious amounts of information that MAY or MAY NOT be used or read. I think your story is GREAT but sadly you had that arm removed! PS If you find another doctor, the paperwork will start again...

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  12. As someone who works medical front office, I can say I do read the information listed on intake forms. But it's scanned into your chart for the doctor's reference! They should have noticed your extra arm LOL! I think it's hysterical and if I had seen it, I would have brought it to the medical assistant's attention and had a good laugh! You are just hilarious!

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  13. Oh dear... I planned on reading this and then going to sleep. I fear that won't happen now because i am laughing so much I will catch a second wind (but hopefully not a third arm). Oh Joan... You are good for the soul.

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  14. When I was reading your medical records online the other day, I was so relieved to see you had gotten your extra arm removed. Just kidding! You made me laugh! Actually, this post made me think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine gets classified as "difficult" in her medical records. So funny--I hope they don't do the same thing to you. :)

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  15. Funny, but sad and unfortunate, too. With all my years in the lab I learned I was glad to be able to keep an eye on my own records. Having access to your electronic health record these days is definitely a good thing.

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  16. Oh my, this sounds like something "M" would do ;-) and I'm glad you got it corrected.

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  17. You are a hoot! I, too, worry about crazy things like that and in my twenty years of lawyering have never called in sick when I wasn't really sick for fear I would get caught.

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  18. OMG, I'm pretending to work. I really didn't expect a post this hilariously funny. Now, I'm laughing....really hard.

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  19. Thank you. I laughed so hard I woke my kids up - they were sleeping on another floor with the doors closed!

    I used to do this in high school and no, was never caught either but this story is way better!

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