Adventures With Chest Pain, Part Three

So yesterday and the day before I posted about how I spent some time in a hospital for something I didn’t need to go to the hospital for, it turned out.  And then I got sent home by my company until I could meet with my personal physician and get released for work.  You can check out those posts here and here.

Holly Stays Home Gets To Play With Corporate Bureaucracy

The week I get home, I go to my company to see if there is certain paperwork that my doctor is going to have to fill out in order for me to be released for work.  Paperwork is found and fished out for me to use.  I take it and make an appointment at a clinic.  I ask if it is possible to do what I want there, even though I don’t have a regular physician.  They were hesitant at first, and consulted with the doctor to see if it was possible.  The doctor decided it would be okay if she got files from the hospital and got all the notes and tests and results and all that good stuff.  So I call the hospital’s records department and ask if they could fax that information for me.  At first, the lady says no because in their records it showed I was listed as an outpatient and the summary thing the doctor was asking for wasn’t something they did in records for outpatients.  I said I most definitely was NOT an outpatient and was admitted and stayed for four days.  The woman I spoke to in records said that if that was the case, doctors have 30 days to get their notes together and write up the summary.

I’m starting to panic.  I don’t want to wait up to two more weeks for the hospital to get their paperwork in order!  I ask, no, beg and plead with this woman for something that can be done.  She said, “Well, I suppose I can just fax whatever they’ve got here.  It shows all the tests and such and what was done, it’s just not summarized.”

I said that would be fine.

So she faxed that to the doctor’s office.  The next morning was my appointment, since I wanted to make sure the doctor had time to read through all of that paperwork.  She looked through it, saw my discharge papers and said, “The doctor released you for work already.”

“I know!  That’s what I told them, but they said since I was supposed to follow up in one week, I couldn’t come back until that was done.”

“That’s stupid!”

“I know!  That’s what I told them!”

“That’s the sort of thing all doctors tell their patients,  I tell my patients to follow up all the time!”

“I know.  That’s what I told them!  It’s a good thing the discharge papers didn’t say follow up in one month.  Or six months.  Or something like that!”

She laughed.  “No kidding!”

The doctor filled out my paperwork.  She brought it to me and said, “I did a little extra dig for you.  I wrote, ‘Patient is released for work as the hospital’s attending physician already released her.'”

“I like you!”  I said.

I took the paperwork back to my company.  By this time it was Friday afternoon, and too late to go through the company bureaucratic nonsense that day.  I had to wait until Monday to hear what the verdict was.

My driver manager calls me and says, “Ummmm, Holly, you aren’t going to like this.”  Of course not.  Whenever somebody uses that as their preamble, you know that whatever they say will Not Be Good.  She continued,  “But you had the doctor fill out the wrong paperwork.”

“What?  That was the paperwork that so-and-so gave me.”

“Really?  She gave it to you?  Hm.  Well, corporate says it’s the wrong one and is three years out of date.  You need to get the doctor to fill out the correct paperwork.  I’ll email it to you.  Maybe you can fax it to her and she can fax it to us?”


So I call up the doctor’s office again and explain the situation to them.  I send them the paperwork.  Tuesday comes and goes.  Wednesday morning comes.  My driver manager calls me.  “Did you send off that paperwork?”

I told her I sent it to the doctor, but I’m not sure if she had sent it yet or not, since she hadn’t gotten back to me.  My driver manager told me to be sure to light a fire under her if she hadn’t because they had a truck for me, if I could just get that paperwork in.  I told her to please not let anybody else have the truck and to hold on to it for me if at all possible, because I didn’t want to wait around until another truck should happen to appear.

I called the doctor’s office, and lo and behold, they had just faxed it off and were about to call me!  So I call my company back, and I’m told that as soon as corporate gets it, the hold will be taken off of me.

The next morning, I’m saying hello to my next truck.  It’s a Freightliner Cascadia like my last one, but a year older and with 200,000 more miles on it.  It also needs a tire replaced, it needs cleaning, and it has an external temperature gauge dangling that needs to be re-affixed.  Sigh.  I put it in the shop and get the problems fixed.

It’s been over a month now that I’ve been on this truck and I’ve had it in the shop a few times.  I’m slowly ironing out the kinks.  My first trip out of my terminal was to deliver in Michigan, so that I could stop by Gary, Indiana to pick up by junk.  I did, and felt soo much better after I got it back.  I felt naked without all my tools and my kitchen and cooler!

All told, I was out of work for 17 days in April.  I don’t even know what the hospital bills are going to come to yet.  All for a little chest pain that turned out to be an inflamed muscle.  This was a very expensive medical adventure!  Honestly, I understand why the company wanted me to jump through those hoops.  I’m not really mad about that.  They want to limit their liability in case I keel over from a heart attack while driving and kill a family of four in a minivan or some such thing.   I understand the legal reasons.  But it’s still hard not to feel very frustrated by it all.  The sad thing is, when this is the company’s response to hospitalizations, I think it makes it so that drivers think twice before getting the help they need.  We can’t afford to miss this much work!  The upshot of that is that if a driver really does need some serious medical intervention, he or she may not get it, and then the driver really could keel over from a heart attack and kill a minivan full of kids.  The system needs to be better and more user friendly so that drivers don’t mind getting the help they need, but I’ve no idea how to make that happen.  I wish I did.

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