Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Case of Elusive Paperwork

Moving to a different country involves a lot of paper work. A huge amount of it connects to the renewal of medical clearance, which needs to be done for every person in a family. A lot of appointments, tests and analyses had to be scheduled and though the process was incredibly hectic, it was bearable. We were congratulating ourselves on finishing this ordeal without any nasty surprises and in timely manner until it was turn for my annual exam – you know, Pap smear and all that.

I called a doctor office and booked an appointment. 10:20 suggested by receptionist seemed like a nice time, not too early, not too late. At 10:15 on the day of appointment I arrived at a waiting room and got to a receptionist to sign my name. “No, no, you did a mistake,” I was told, “Your appointment is at 16:00 not at 10:20.” I stared at her in amazement. Firstly, it is hard to come up with the time 10:20 unless it was told to you by somebody; secondly, total lack of courtesy tend to amaze me to the point of amusement, and in this case it bordered on awe. Since I had to do the analysis anyway, wasn’t in the mood for finding another doctor, I decided to reschedule. “Ok, next week, Tuesday at 10:20” she said. Eyeing her suspiciously I wrote down the date, the time and showed it to her. “Correct?” “Correct”, she dismissed me with a nod.

Next Tuesday I arrived in the office again. This time everything went smoothly. Prior to my departure the doctor assured me that as soon as the results would be done he would call me. Two weeks went by, no call. I let the third week to expire and stopped by his office right before the Easter holiday. The doctor ruffled through the pile of documents on his table, poked in his file cabinet and in somewhat perplexed tone announced, “Him, your results are not here yet. It must be here soon though. Check after the holiday.” Two days after the end of the long Easter holiday I popped by his office again... His office wasn’t there anymore. He moved.

Speaking with receptionist revealed his new address and telephone number. I called and heard familiar, “The doctor will call you as soon as the results will be here.” At this point I started doubt my judgment and requested my friend’s help whose command of Icelandic language is far superior to mine. “Please, please, please call this office, maybe I don’t understand something.” She called, and was reassured that as soon as the results would be in the doctor office I would be notified. Meanwhile two more weeks passed by.

This Monday, mildly panicking, since all the medical documents have to be sent to DC together, otherwise they will be returned as incomplete, I called the office again. “Don’t you worry, the doctor will call you,” was the familiar answering. The day was winding to its end when the telephone rang, “I am looking for Mrs. C.” “Hi doctor, do you have good news for me?” “You know, I wrote your letter and all the results already, I just don’t know where it went. Do you want me to do it again?” “Yes, do it, damn it,” I screamed inside while sweetly going, “Yes please, it will be very helpful.” “Ok then, I’ll finish it today and you can pick it up any time tomorrow.”

And that is how seven weeks after the appointment I got my results back.

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