Tuesday, October 2, 2007
All about the mom bucket...
Is it that difficult to set appointments, confirm and reschedule as needed?
Must everything autism related be so difficult?
Let me set the scene for you. I visited the Dan Marino Center a couple of months ago for an MRI appointment. I was ready with all the needed paperwork I would need to turn in as I left to begin the ball rolling for my son's speech therapy which I wanted him to take there. As expected, I got the neurologist to write the script for a speech eval and upon leaving I turned it in along with all of the needed paperwork. All of it filled out in clear blue ink, paper clipped and neatly organized in chronological order with the script on top.
The girl at the front desk was pleased and said it would take 3 or 4 days for them to call me to set an evaluation date. 2 weeks later, I called upset as to why I still did not have an appointment. I left a voice mail (because it would have been too good to have a person answer the phone.) I received a call back stating that they were ready to offer me October 2nd (today) as the evaluation day, at 12:30pm. Not a perfect time for my son but I went with it since these appointments are so hard to get. The next day I received a call from someone at the center in regards to setting Dylan's appointment. I replied I didn't need it because I had the October 2nd date.She checked, confirmed and I hung up. I patiently waited for the appointment playing the red tape game. You know, the one where your child needs the services say, 2 years ago but there is a lot of red tape to get through and nothing you can do, so you suck it up and wait? That game.
A month later, today,I let him skip school and stay calm at home in the hopes he would not be exhausted and be able to focus during his evaluation. I planned the entire day around the appointment. In hindsight, I did think it was odd no one called to confirm. I arrived with perfect timing and went to sign in. The girl at the front desk looked at the name and attempted to find him in the "system". When she could not find him she questioned me as to why I was there since it seemed I did not have an appointment. Sigh.
I calmly explained what had happened with the appointment and they did find him, for a Friday appointment. No, I said, it is today. I would have much rather had him on a Friday am instead on a Tuesday afternoon because of his schedule, something must be wrong. She asked me to wait until 1pm when the "girl" got there. Not sure who the girl was.
My son was pretty calm luckily. He only lost it once when the Calliou episode playing on the tv finished. 1pm arrived and the "girl" called me up. It seemed she was just the appointment setter who calmly told me "You don't have an appointment today , you have one Friday. A month ago all the appointments were changed , everyone was called and rescheduled since the therapist no longer works on Tuesdays". This my dear friends, is where I lost it.
I know this appointment setter could care less as to what we parents always go through with these appointments but I had to say it. I had to because every time this happens I get frustrated, take it and walk out in tears after the fact. Not that it was going to change anything but this time, this time I was going to raise hell. If only to feel better afterwards even after the predictable tears. This is how it went;
"Apparently not everyone was called, rescheduled and confirmed. I wasn't. Why wasn't I called? Why, out of all of those twentysomething names, was I not called? This is so unprofessional. Is this what happens as the Dan Marino Center? I thought you all are the best. Apparently not.You do realize how much it takes to get a child with autism ready for an appointment right?
"Ma'am, I apologize, you do have an appointment on Friday." Is all she would say over and over and" I did not mean to inconvenience you. "
"What does that do for me today? I already kept my son from school today, I am already inconvenienced. I know you don't care but I am just letting you know how I feel."
"Would you like me to write it down in a little card so that you remember the time?" "No! I know now I have an appointment on Friday just like I know I had an appointment today at 12:30pm. I don't need a card because I am an autism mom and it's all I do; make appointments for evaluations, for therapies, call this center, call that one, pick up results, schedule therapies, etc. No I don't need a little card but it would be nice if you all knew what you were doing.Nothing I can do or you can do. I know. Friday it is."
Harsh? perhaps. Stuff happens. I know. The poor woman must think I am nuts. She just happened to be at the end of my nice and full autism mom bucket. You know how Jenny McCarthy says in her book our kids come with these buckets? Us moms have them as well and they are big. They match out big hearts. We take stuff and put it into the bucket and once in a while we have to empty them and it's not a pretty sight.
So guess what? I have an appointment on Friday , 9am. So they say. Yet another missed school day but hey, at least I am starting out with a nice clean bucket right?