After roughly 45 minutes of studious poking and prodding, the EMG ended. There weren’t any bodily tissues or fluids that needed to be sent to a lab for analysis; a trained medical professional i.e. the labcoat lady should’ve been able interpret the available data. But when I asked for the verdict, she told me I’d have to talk to my doctor “in a few weeks.” Before I could open my mouth to debate her, she’d rushed out the door.
The day after the labcoat lady and her students administered the test, I phoned my alleged hand surgeon’s receptionist, Celia. She curtly sighed and told me that six weeks from then was the soonest she could schedule an appointment. Usually the head nurse working the day shift at the warehouse made a resident’s medical appointments. Since the potential surgery had been my idea, and given the nursing staff’s inability to concentrate on issues not closely monitored by the shrew of a head nurse, I decided to initiate the follow-through myself.
But I’d made the mistake of allowing the day nurse to schedule a medivan ride. She didn’t think I’d heard her mutter that this minor task would cut into her break time. The van predictably arrived late; I remembered that I always wasted at least an hour sitting in my hand surgeon’s waiting room, so I didn’t fret. Celia had scheduled the appointment for 1:30 in the afternoon. When 2:30 rolled around without so much as a fleeting acknowledgement of my presence, I decided to roll up and ask Celia if she’d in fact slated my appointment for 1:30. She stiffly smiled and deadpanned the standard excuse: “Sorry, we’re running a bit late today.” I threatened to leave. She shot me the evil eye and led me into an empty examination room.
Fifteen minutes later the squinty doctor from my previous visit zipped into the antiseptic cubbyhole. Of course I was anxious to learn of my EMG results. His rapid-fire blinking distracted me; the dandruff that caked his shoulders betrayed lax hygiene. He ignored my questions—I might as well been in an episode of The Twilight Zone. He only assured me that I needed surgery, and listed details of the proposed procedure. Then he dashed out of the room without waiting for my consent to any treatment.
As I was leaving, Celia, waving a business card, called out to me. She’d scheduled the surgery for exactly one week from that day. I considered that she routinely booked office appointments a month and a half in advance, and decided to blow off the clearly unnecessary surgery.
I didn’t feel compelled to cancel an operation to which I didn’t even agree, nor did I consider myself obligated to mention the situation to the charge nurse at the warehouse. The appointed day came and went—nobody ever acknowledged my absence from the hospital. One measly no-show hardly affected anyone’s bottom line.