The (Barely Averted) Radiology Meltdown

It’s been more than 4 weeks since I saw my new neurologist and in that time I’ve been taking the (stupid) Vitamin A and waiting for a call to schedule the MRI/MRV that my neurologist ordered. Those are the only two things on our treatment plan and I have been totally unable to make progress on one of them. I really like my doctor, but this whole process has reminded me of how much I dislike her office.

When I left my appointment that day, they told me I’d get a call within a week to schedule the MRI/MRV. They were just going to get my insurance authorization. So I waited a week. And nothing. I gave them a few extra days and then I started calling.

Each day I called and listened to the whole stupid choose your options menu, I was bounced around to about 8 different desks where I left messages with my name, date of birth, patient ID number, phone number and the entire story of how I just want to schedule this damn test. In all, I left more than 10 messages, and it wasn’t until Friday that someone finally called me back to tell me I could just call and schedule it, my insurance was good to go.


So I called, and the earliest they could get me in on Monday, August 15th, in the evening, and not even in the main radiology center, but at a satellite center. Whatever, I took it. I had to. It was all set and I was willing to wait.

Then I got a phone call today. Let me just tell you that when your doctor’s office calls and says they have “bad news” they are not exaggerating.

So, funny story. My insurance year ends on August 14th. So on August 15th it’s like a blank slate. I have no authorization to see any medical professionals besides my primary care physician (COUGH*the student health center*COUGH) and in order to get the MRI/MRV I would need to first go to my PCP and get a referral to see my neurologist. Then I’d have to wait to get in to see her. Then I’d have to have her write new orders for the MRI/MRV. Then I’d have to wait for them to get insurance approval and wait to get it scheduled. And sometime next year, I’d get an effing scan.

Oh, and as icing on this crap cake, my deductible would reset so it would cost me in the neighborhood of 2000 bucks to get it all done. Which, we totally have laying around.

I cannot even begin to tell you how very angry I was. So I called the radiology center and I groveled. I explained that it needed to be done soon because it was ordered a month ago, because I was about to start a new job that I couldn’t get time off of (job, clinical, same difference) and oh, I also didn’t have all kinds of extra money laying around.

He put me on hold for half a lifetime, then came back and said he had a few options. But only if I was willing to drive to Manhattan Beach, which frankly, at that point he’d have said I needed to drive to Arizona (which is not that much farther away from me than Manhattan Beach), I’d have said yes and kissed his feet in gratitude.

So I am getting these scans done tomorrow, finally, in Manhattan Beach, in the early evening. My day will be spent in my car, fighting traffic, but fighting traffic is better than scheduling 2 unnecessary doctor’s appointments and spending money that we don’t have any day.

I’m not sure what to hope for with these scans, so I’m just going to hope that in some way, they points us in the right direction. Whatever direction that might be.

6 Responses to “The (Barely Averted) Radiology Meltdown”

  • Fingers crossed these scans provide some sort of answer and that traffic isn’t too horrible. Good luck!


  • purplebreath:

    Yay! Good work :)


  • Mo:

    Unbelievable!! I know you wanted to get in the car and drive to that place and punch someone. Or kick their ass. Or something. Good luck tomorrow Katie.



  • Sue G:

    Only you. At this point I am fairly sure the medicine gods use you to entertain themselves.

    So sorry you have yet again had to endure red tape and inefficiency.

    But I selfishly would have loved for the scans to be scheduled in AZ. We could have had lunch!


    Katie Reply:

    @Sue G, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that they had to move the MRI again. Because it’s me and of course they did.


  • Lynda M O:

    How could a single payer health system be worse ?~!


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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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