Two months ago I spent five horrible days in the hospital. During my stay I added a gastroenterologist to my collection of physicians, and after my release my FP referred me to a surgeon.
It was surprising, a week later, to get a phone call from a GI’s office that I’d never heard of asking if I was ready to schedule my appointment. Surprising and frustrating. My FP is great, but about a year ago a new staff person was hired who never seems to get anything right. That’s the person who was at the front desk when the doctor gave me my referral, so I wondered if I was really supposed to see a second GI in addition to the surgeon, or if she’d made another mistake.
She made a mistake. Somehow the paperwork for the referral was sent to the other GI in town, instead of to the surgeon. They fixed the problem.*
Oddly enough, my GI did want me to see a different GI for a special procedure – not someone local, though. Trying to be seen was a horrible ordeal that I’ve ranted about endlessly on my other blog and won’t go into here. Finally, one Monday morning I phoned my FP’s office and explained the pain eating, the no response from the place I’d been referred, no follow-up from my GI, and asked if there was any way they could get me in to see someone else. I’d called around to five other GI’s offices and found someone who could do the procedure. My FP was happy to write a referral. I didn’t even need an appointment.**
I was told to wait a day before calling to give them time to do all the paperwork. I waited two days. When I phoned on Wednesday morning, the receptionist couldn’t find the referral. She did, however, find all my information already entered in their computer. “If you’re in the computer, your paperwork is here somewhere” she told me, and promptly scheduled my appointment for the next day.
She was wrong. It turns out that my referral didn’t arrive until the following day. It arrived in the doctor’s office about an hour before I arrived for my appointment. The mistake – the referral that had accidentally been sent the wrong place a few weeks earlier – is what got my information into their computer system. That mistake made it so that I got a quicker appointment. If that hadn’t happened, it would have been Thursday before they would make an appointment, and the middle of the next week before I was seen.***
A mistake was made, but it turned out that mistake helped me in the long run.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, NIV)
When things aren’t going so well, it’s nice for little reminders that God has everything under control.
*It’s funny, because I figure something like that is just a clerical error and will be taken care of in the front office without bothering the doctor. Someone told him about it, though, and at my next appointment he apologized for the mistake. Wow.
**I expected to need an appointment for this. I don’t expect my doctor to do all the work of writing a referral, faxing reports, and sifting through letters from consultants without being paid for his work.
***They only had that one slot available on Thursday – the appointment I was given. The next opening was well into the following week.