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EKG, X-Ray, and Referrals- Oh my!

August 7, 2014 in Bariatric Surgery by The Get Fit Mom

EKG and X-Ray Appointments

Every time I have an appointment to attend or a fun(ky) situation arise during my bariatric surgery journey, I have been trying to keep you updated and informed with the excitement,fear, or plain frustration that I am encountering. Last Monday I made it my business to go right to a local hospital within my Bariatric Surgeons network for my EKG and  chest x-ray as soon as The Get Fit Baby was done with his developmental teacher’s in-home session.

I had called the week before (now we are going back two weeks) and I asked the Bariatric Navigator (Nutritionist) if there were alternative hospitals in the network that I could go to for my EKG and chest x-ray. She told me that there was another hospital closer that was in the hospital network that I can go to.

Let me take a moment to explain hospital networks with those that may not be familiar with them.

Each hospital is connected with another affiliating hospital(s) where one another utilize the same doctors, data systems, and practices, which can be interchanged between one another for the ease of the patient and the practitioners.

There got that out of the way.

EKG and X-Ray Scheduling Should Be Easy

During my phone calls to schedule my EKG and x-ray, I had spoken to the Admitting Department, where a nice lady told me that as long as I had a “referral” from the doctor prescribing the EKG and x-ray, along with my insurance card, and identification I would be clear for these two tests.

I would need to register for the EKG, go to the cardiology department; go back and register for the x-ray , go to the radiology department. I figured the worst of the situation was having to go back and forth to the registration department.

When It’s Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Boy, was I wrong!!! I drove through the parking garage and entered the hospital with ease, asking the front desk for directions along the way. I got to the registration department, which I saw was the same thing as the Admitting Department and saw about three people waiting for various services. I gave my referrals, insurance card, and ID to the young man behind the desk. He said exactly what I kept thinking in the back of my head, “Ma’am (which I hate being called), these are not the proper referrals. You need to have them from your primary care provider (PCP) in order for us to conduct services”.

Pardon my French, but NO SHIT!!! I knew that I was going to need the referrals from my PCP, but somehow I let that nice lady convince me that the paperwork I had would suffice. Nonetheless, I called my PCP’s office and asked for them to fax the referrals I needed over and she said they would be there in 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes passed. No fax.

Thirty minutes passed. No fax. The Admissions Department receptionist and I began making multiple phone calls to my doctor’s office, but we kept getting a ring and then bumped to a busy signal. I thought “Great! Perfect timing for them to be busy”.

Forty-five minutes passed. Still. No. Fax. Now the receptionist and I begin to get worried, because I would hate to have to spend the one day I blocked out for this appointment on me traveling to my PCP near my house and then back to the hospital. We continue to call. Still no fax and still no answer.

Sixty minutes passed. Grrrrrr. No fax. At this point the receptionist and I are frantically calling the doctor’s office. When I say frantically, I mean I dialed and re-dialed about seventy times. I got through once and they placed the phone down without saying hello. Probably their way of alleviating some of the incoming phone call rings, while their patients wait- nice.

Then I get a phone call from my PCP’s office. I didn’t get all huffy as I normally would, but rather let the woman speak about what the hold up was. Apparently, they couldn’t understand why I needed a referral. Uhhh Duh!! Because your doctor thought it would be a good idea for me to get Bariatric Surgery and I went to see a doctor for it and this is what he needs. The receptionist at the PCP’s office wasn’t buying it. She said that I would need to drop off my orders from that doctor to put in my file and then pick up my referral.

Common Sense. A Sense Not So Common.

I then suggested that since the doctor’s office is down the street from my house, if I could get the referrals faxed to me, I can then drop off the orders on my way home. I mean seriously! I’m already at the hospital ready to get the x-ray and EKG done, so why not just do things a little backwards and make life easier.

So she went ahead and faxed my papers.

Ten minutes later I was sitting at a desk with a woman getting registered for my services and being ushered to my EKG session.

Fifteen minutes after my EKG I was being shown to Radiology for my x-ray.

Ten minutes after that I was dressed and walking out of the hospital.

Services that took literally a total of forty-five minutes, ended up having me at the hospital for two hours!!

Moral of the story: Do what you think it the right thing, even if it means extra paperwork, or more running around.

 

 

 

Blood Work for Bariatric Surgery: Take one! No Take Eight!

July 24, 2014 in Bariatric Surgery by The Get Fit Mom

Bariatric Surgery Blood Work {Via} thegetfitmom.com

I told you the other day I was going to drag you along with me through this entire process of getting my Bariatric Surgery. The good. The bad. And the gross! Yesterday I went for my first round of blood work. It’s a typical CBC (Complete Blood Count) work up, along with testing my thyroid (which was done 3 times this year) and my hormone levels amongst other things.

I had an appointment at my local LabCorp for 12:30. I arrived at 12:15 to a packed waiting room- some people with appointments and others without. I filled out my name and info and sat and waited. A man sat next to me and we began discussing whether or not we thought we would actually be called at our appointment times.

At 12:45 I asked the receptionist if I would be out in 15 minutes because I had another appointment for The Get Fit Big Guy, literally half a block away. Maybe buildings down. She assured me I would be. She called me moments later and I sat while she entered my blood work into the computer. I nonchalantly glared down at my watch. 12:52.

She finished everything at about 12:53. No Joke!! When you’re time crunching, you watch your watch like it’s your business! I asked her if I could leave a urine sample now, and she said sure. I went and did my business and came out with my cup.

There was one woman working there taking blood, and the current patient had 1,2, or 3 children. All the whining and crying made it hard for me to tell from behind a curtain. Knowing that this is never going to get accomplished in 5 minutes, I called The Big Guy’s appointment and said I’d be late, however, was informed that being late might mean I would be bumped from my appointment.

Fab-yoo-lus!

I told the receptionist at LabCorp, “I gotta leave. Take this sample (a.k.a. my pee) and I’ll be back later”.

I get to The Get Fit Big Guy’s appointment at exactly 1:00, only to be sitting there for an hour, due to a confusion in the office. Excellent! We finally had our appointment and at 2:45 we left.

I then drove the 5 buildings down to LabCorp and arrived at exactly 2:47. I went right in for my blood work, while The Big Guy sat in the waiting room.

I bet you think the blood work was almost finished. WRONG!

As I sat there, I waited in the chair for another 10 minutes while they made corrections to the paperwork that was entered for my tests. I kinda figured there was going to be an issue. The prescription was like six pages long with four different types of tests on each. So I continued to wait.

While waiting a technician came in and said, “Oh you’re getting Bariatric Surgery! Welcome!” And she extended her hand to me. Apparently, I am realizing there are more and more people that have gotten this done, and somehow everyone forms an alliance and becomes part of a family. She gave me her story- which as most previous patients’ stories are remarkable and wished me good luck.

Just as I was about to be pricked, The Big Guy walked in and I let out a huge sigh of relief. See, I get a bit weak when it comes to blood. I’ve had my fair share of bloody stories, so even basic blood work gets me antsy. He told me he was wondering where I was, so he came looking for me. I was glad he came back there to take my mind off of the work, and to support me while I snapped a picture of what he called “really dark red blood”.

Together we left at a little after 3:00. From the back door. Since they closed for the day at 3pm and we had just made it in time.

Overall, I think this process could have gone smoother, though there really isn’t any anticipation for how busy the waiting room will be. Even when things are planned out, there are going to be bumps in the road.

I guess I just need to change my mindset.

Patience During Bariatric Surgery {via} Thegetfitmom.com

Bariatric Surgery: My First Round of Appointments

July 23, 2014 in Bariatric Surgery by The Get Fit Mom

You ever get that feeling where you’re talking to someone over the phone, but if they were standing there in front of you, you might just punch them in the mouth? Or at the least roll your eyes {I’m not one for violence}? However, there is something about appointment setting that drives me over the edge. I need to see all my appointments and I need to know in the long run, what I need to do. By nature, I’m a planner. I like to plan my days, weeks, month, even years by every available increment.

While trying to schedule my appointments yesterday I kept being told that I would need to make additional appointments

Everyone was very nice, but in my own head, I couldn’t wrap what they were telling me around my thoughts. The other day I posted my excitement in knowing that I only had two doctors to visit. Now I’m being told there are more, if they deem a reason for me to see them. Obviously, I am not going to a doctor if there isn’t anything wrong.  I simply want to know ahead of time any and all doctors that I may need to see, just to be prepared.

RELATED: I’m Coming Out! Welcome to My Personal World of Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery Appointments Can Have A Bright Note

I found out that I can just walk into a nearby hospital and get my chest x-ray and EKG done. Ok. Easy peasy. I am hoping to get that done next week.

As of this week, I’m going to start off by getting my blood work done.

On a positive note, my nutritionist said that the fact that I want to be planned and thought out mentally is a great sign and it shows that I am mentally prepared to getting prepared for the surgery.

Another plus is that after my announcement of going to get bariatric surgery, I found A LOT of support. From previous bariatric surgery patients and friends alike. It’s great to know that there are so many people that will support my effort and answer my questions if I have them.

My Big News: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Bariatric Surgery

July 20, 2014 in Bariatric Surgery, Health by The Get Fit Mom

Bariatric Surgery 3
Earlier this week I made an announcement on my Facebook page that there was some big news coming.

 

As you may know based on my blog or from personal encounters, I have been overweight for some time now. I have tried every diet out there, sought out the help from weight lost clinics and came to the conclusion that I am tired of trying to do a jumping jack to get my heart rate up, only to stop after I realize my boobs smacked my face. I know that losing weight requires hard work and dedication and that is something I have put my blood, sweat and tears into, only to have not moved the needle on the scale, but rather lightly tone and stay at the same weight. So I have decided that I am going to begin treatment for Bariatric Surgery.
I have dabbled in the idea for about four years now, but something always came up. No insurance. The birth of The Get Fit Baby. Well, finally as it would be, I have insurance and no excuses not to go through with it. bariatric surgery 2

My Idea Becomes a Reality

 

I scheduled an appointment, three months ago, to see a doctor that is about 45 minutes away. On Friday afternoon I made the trip to his office located in a hospital. I drove into the gated parking lot and spent a good 12 minutes looking for parking. Immediately I’m thinking, “Screw this! I can’t even find parking” and wanted to leave.

Then I remembered I would have to pay to leave….
I found a distant parking spot and began my journey to the main entrance. Once inside I went straight to the Information Desk to get my visitor badge and directions to the Same Day Surgery office. I entered an office that was filled with people. Some looking for bariatric surgery, others with other surgical issues. Some people had to stand, I was lucky enough to find a corner seat to fill out the eight pages of paperwork.

When One Door Opens…

I was soon called in to the examining room area. I was seated in a room and introduced to a man. He left for a moment and came back quickly. Upon his return, I asked him his name and what his title was again. He explained to me that he was a 3rd year medical student studying various areas of medical. I asked if he was going to go into Bariatric Surgery, and he said he wasn’t sure. He has seen a lot of things varying from labor and delivery to ER and he wasn’t exactly sure what he had planned.
Now that I think of it, I feel like I might have grilled a medical student for no reason. Then again, I did tell him that I think him being so dedicated and working as a resident is admirable- so the guy got a compliment out of it.
He asked me questions that pretty much piggy backed off of the eight pages I filled out earlier.

 

Bariatric Surgery 1

 

 

Questions ranging from head to toe and everything in between including my psychiatric health.
My  favorite question and response
Medical Student (MS): “Have you ever purged”?
Me: “You mean like throw up after I eat”?
MS: “Yea, I mean it’s like when people eat a lot and then throw up”.
Me: “Ya know. It’s funny. I’ve thought about doing that, then I thought ‘Why would I eat all this delicious food and get rid of it?’”.
MS: :::Laughing::: “Yea, it seems pretty pointless, but people do it”.
Me: “Yea, I’m not one of them!”
The medical student then gave me a brief check of my thyroid gland to make sure nothing seemed off. He checked my lungs, heart for clarity, and abdomen for any pain or obtrusions.
He then said he was going to step out and get the doctor. I was free to remain sitting on the examining table, or on a chair. I looked at the wall in front of me and said to him, “I think I’ll sit here. I don’t get time away from my kids often and with a picture like that hanging there, I can certainly imagine this as a vacation”. He laughed and left the room.

Meet The Doctor

The door opened and in walked the doctor and the medical student. When the doctor came into the room he had a huge smile on his face that, now that I’m thinking about it, might be plastered on. He shook my hand and welcomed me to the program. It was interesting because I had never thought of weight loss surgery as a program.
The doctor explained to me that he thinks it’s an excellent idea for me to read through the booklet that came in my folder. He explained (which I already knew) that there are going to be major changes to my diet before and after the surgery. He then told me based on my health, which is pretty good, I could have the surgery in as short as three months.
The news of the estimated time frame turned any doubt I had completely around. Most surgeries can take close to six months, however, most patients are also required to see more specialist than I.
He referred me to do the following:
  • See a Nutritionist, which seems ironic and counter-productive to me given the fact I have my certification. However, she will also be coordinating all my appointments and gathering all my paperwork to submit to the insurance company. I have to see her once a month for three months, at least that’s my understanding from the paperwork.
  • A referral for blood work to check my vitamin levels, hormone levels, thyroid, and overall blood work.
  • See a Pulmonologist for a consultation, EKG, and echocardiogram. I was born with a heart murmur and have high blood pressure, so everything needs to be okay before I undergo the surgery.
  • Lastly, I need to attend an Informational Session. I’ve been to one of these before and they simply go over the different procedures of bariatric surgery. Gastric Bypass, Lap-Band, and Vertical Sleeve, the latter which is what I am going to be getting.

Once I was released from the office, I had to see the receptionist desk to pick up my referrals for my doctors. On the car ride home I was thinking how smooth everything went and how great it is going to be to get the surgery so soon. My only caveat to the whole thing was the driving distance to see the doctors, they are all located in the vicinity of the hospital so I’ll be making more 45 minute trip appointments. {insert sarcastic tone} Because I have soooo much time to spend going to MORE appointments.

As soon as I got home, I scheduled my blood work for next Tuesday. I called the Pulmonologist’s office to schedule my consult, EKG, and echo. Since I called so late in the day, the office would need to call me back to schedule. I left a message for the Nutritionist to call me back to go over appointment times with her. And lastly, I called the woman to find the next Informational Session.

I am on top of my game!

Overall, I have something life changing to look forward to happening real soon.

I am going to be keeping you up to date with each step of the process. My goal right now is to focus on blogging about my bariatric surgery journey and giving you the raw details of what it’s like from the patient perspective. There is tons of research that can be found on the internet, message boards, support groups, and medical pages, however I feel the personal encounter that I am going to be giving you, can never be duplicated anywhere.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at Jessica {at} thegetfitmom.com