Professional Friction

Well, here we are more than three months since my appendectomy and the discovery of my anomalous growth, more than two months since I was first diagnosed with Pseusomyxoma Perotonei, more than a month and a half since I was first referred to Dr. Laura Lambert at the University of Texas Medical Branch, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center … and I am still waiting as my “case is under review”. Mentally, I appreciate the complexity, but after being told not to waste time in dealing with my situation, the delay is a bit frustrating, especially since so many unknowns remain. I need to see Dr. Lambert in an official sense (we have spoken by telephone) before I will know my surgery date, the specific procedures which will be necessary, and before I begin to discuss my situation with my insurance company’s “Care Coordinator”, which is a critical step. I will also need documentation from Dr. Lambert for my FMLA leave from work, and to get my home ready for the post-operation changes in my lifestyle, and to plan for whatever specific rehabilitation will be required. It’s a bit frustrating, all this waiting.

The thing is, it really cannot be avoided. M.D. Anderson is a big place with a lot of patients and providers, but a whole lot more prospective patients who are trying to get in. One of the disadvantages of going to a top-rate place for Cancer treatment, is that everyone wants the best. Also, with as many types of Cancer as there are, and the risk of misdiagnosis and the serious consequences if an error leads to the wrong action, a preliminary review is very important to the process. I was fortunate enough to speak with a Registered Nurse in the Gastro-Intestinal section, who confirmed that my records are complete, that my designation as Doctor-Referred is now correct, and that Dr. Lambert is reviewing my information along with two other doctors. This helps doctors determine some of the finer points and answer early questions, I think. So as much as I hate to wait, it makes sense, and I have been promised by a number of people that once I am in the system, the results of all these preliminaries will show in the success of the treatment.

Knowing this, I find that I am forced to reconsider my opinion of Congress. Like the staff at MDA, the people in Congress and their staffs are generally well-intentioned and hard-working, and the results we see are more to do with the conditions under which they operate, than from a true negligence on their part. Certainly, Congress has its share of ne’er-do-wells, but on the whole they are doing their best with difficult conditions and inconstant support. I’m not so naïve as to ignore deliberate dishonesty, but just maybe I will be a little slower to start with that judgment as an assumption.

It's all about location
An astonishing series of coincidences