Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Blood Test Shuffle

The following is based on a true story:

The sign read:

Welcome to the Memorial Hospital Lab. Please follow our simple 31 step process to register to see one of our phlebotomists. Thank you.

Step 1: On your left you will find a sign-in sheet. Please write your name on the next available line. If the sheet is full we will bring a new sheet out at some point between our mid-morning break and when Dottie comes down from the second floor to gossip about the doctors. More than likely we’ll throw the filled sheet away without making sure that everyone on it has been registered so your best bet is to sign your name on any piece of paper you see as well as the wall, the vinyl seats and the registrar’s arm.

Step 2: Sit and wait. Settle in because it will be awhile. If you have a sleeping bag or small tent feel free to set it up, although we ask no campfires in the building. Hot plates can be plugged in to the wall outlets.

Step 3: When someone who came in after you gets called before you, and it will happen, please respond in one of the following ways:
a.       Silently fume to yourself as it happens
b.      Give the registrar a dirty look and throw your arms in the air hoping that this will adequately display your displeasure.
c.       Jump up from your seat and yell “What the hell? I was here before him.”
Please do not do the following:
a.       Pull out a 9mm handgun to shoot the staff before shooting yourself
b.      Overturn the furniture while shouting “I’ll burn this motherfucker to the ground!”
c.       Make monkey noises and gestures while pretending you work for the lab

Step 4: When your name is finally called proceed to the registrar’s office and take a seat. For the next 32 minutes we will ask you the same questions we asked on your last visit. Even though we input your info into our computer system, it is not retained. Yes, we know this is the purpose of using electronic health records but apparently we are doing something wrong. It’s also likely the registrar is a part time person and will not know how to use the registering program properly so will need to get help from someone else a minimum of 4 times. She will also need to make a copy of every piece of identification you have ever owned including ones you do not actually have with you and a few you possessed in a past life.

Step 5: The registrar will print out many copies of your information. One for you, one for the phlebotomist, one for the hospital administration, one for the insurance company, one for the NSA, one for the department of health, and one that will be carelessly thrown into a dumpster where it will be found by a homeless person who will sell your social security number for $15.

Step 6: The registrar may or may not give you an arm band. If you receive one, place it around your wrist and take a seat in the seating area again to wait for the phlebotomist to notice that you are wearing the magic arm band. If you don’t receive an armband, and some of you won’t because remember the registrars are only part-time, sit and wait while thinking to yourself “Hey, why didn’t I get an armband like that woman over there?” When she gets taken back to have her blood drawn before you see Step 3 for the proper way to react.

Step 7: Walk up to the phlebotomist and ask when it will be your turn. When she asks where your armband is inform her you didn’t receive one. When she asks if you took a number from the revolving pickle barrel, say no. She will inform you that that’s ok because we have discontinued use of the take-a-number system anyway. When she asks if you pre-registered say no. When she asks if you registered, say yes. When she asks if you’ve post-registered answer “Huh?” If she asks “Is it safe?” walk away quickly and find security. When she sighs heavily and asks “Do you really need your blood drawn today?” say yes and she will most likely assist you. However if she simply walks away please go back to Step 1 and begin again.

Thank you for visiting Memorial Hospital.

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