Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Adventures in Arranging April’s Oncology Appointment

This month is my quarterly checkin with my oncologist, only it’s going to be a bit different this time. The 17th is my typical day for going in and seeing her, and getting my injection, but I’ll only be going in for the injection on the 17th this month.

My regular Oncologist, Dr. Colonna, will be out for maternity leave when I come in for my injection. This necessitated the arrangement of an appointment with a substitute doctor, and that is a story in itself. If I look closely at the printout of all my upcoming VA appts, I can remember the mess arranging this appointment—and that for this month’s injection—turned out to be.

First, back in January, I made my standard appointment with my regular Oncologist and at the same time, for the same date—the 17th—arranged to have my injection done. Perfectly normal. Two or three weeks later, the VA called me to notify me that Dr. Colonna would be out and why, so I willingly rescheduled to see the substitute Oncologist on the same day. Then, a couple days later, they called again to tell me that doc would be out until the following week, so I rescheduled both appointments for the 22nd at 1400 (2pm) and 1430 (2:30pm) respectively. After that, a couple days later, I remembered my usual days for going in for the injection were for the 17th, because it’s a three-month dosage, and I wasn’t sure it would be wise to wait a full week after that date for the next injection, so I called the VA to reschedule my injection back to the 17th. Then, in a “may your life be interesting” in the curse kind of way, someone else at the VA (we suspect in central scheduling, which is different from AMU scheduling, where the Oncology visits and injections are done) canceled the substitute Oncology visit I’d made for the 22nd.

I was not notified of this cancellation. I discovered it on a previous printout after a mental health or physical therapy visit. So, I called the VA’s AMU people again and asked why this had been done. What I learned was that my substitute Oncologist wasn’t coming back the week of the 22nd—she was going to be out until the week of the 29th. So that’s when I rescheduled my appointment with her. While I was on the line with the AMU people, I asked why I hadn’t been notified of the cancellation, and that’s when it was determined someone in central scheduling had done it—a notification had popped up on their computer that my appointment was during a period of time when the Oncologist I was to see would be away, and the scheduler canceled it, then forgot to call and notify me of the cancellation; apparently the specific clinics don’t receive this notification, only central scheduling, and I think that’s because we Vets are supposed to do all our phone-scheduling via central, not directly with the clinics.

All I can say about this is that it’s a damn good thing I go in only every three months. It gave me plenty of time to straighten this mess out! LOL

2 Comments

  1. Crazy-making. And I shudder to think of all that time spent on the phone — one of my least favorite activities.

  2. There are times I’d rather be on the phone than with people in person.

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