The Afternoon Out Of A Movie

Yesterday afternoon was quite literally like something out of a movie. Diane Keaton would perhaps have starred. 

It is long and convoluted, to say the least. So pour a cup of coffee or tea before you read. 

I'm one of those people who is notoriously early for appointments. If I'm within the 15 minute range, I'm starting to panic a bit. 

Somewhere along the line, I applied in my life attitude how important people's time is. That means everyone. I'm not putting anyone out that I don't have to. I-Am-On-Time. For everything. 

I arrived for my CAT scan. Filled out mucho paperwork. Provided my driver's license and insurance card. Paid the $100 down of the $500 they figured I'd have to pay apart from insurance, and sat waiting. I was alone in the waiting room. 

I was a bit startled when I saw the cost of the procedure: $1800. For a CAT scan of my foot and ankle? Oh well, you know how medical procedures are through the proverbial roof. 

Just before the technician took me back, I asked the lady at the front desk how long this would take. I had finally had my coffee of the day, which ended up being a caramel iced coffee from McDonalds. I might want to go back and use the rest room.

I don't remember how long she said, but it was more than I had thought. Much longer. I said: "Really? For a CAT scan?"

She laughed: "Oh hon, you're not getting a CAT scan. You're getting an MRI."

Alarm bells rang in my head. No one ever mentioned an MRI.

"I believe I'm here to get a CAT scan," I said, trying to backtrack to the conversation with the doctor 24 hours before. 

"We don't even do CAT scans here. No, you misunderstood. That doctor sends people here all the time."

I thought a minute. "No, I'm sure he said a CAT scan." She smiled and shook her head.  

Was Candid Camera around the corner waiting to jump out and tell me this was a joke of some kind?

"Please look," I said. "At the order sheet they sent over. I distinctly recall him repeating CAT scan a number of times yesterday." 

She kind of waved me off, but looked for it to pacify me. "Oh my word. It does say a CAT scan." She looks up: "Then why are you here?"

"Uh, yes, why am I here?"


The morning had already been difficult. After I got the dogs in the car at the vet's office, Abi somehow hit a button and my warning lights were flashing. I had no idea how to turn them off. I could not afford to be stopped. The boot, you see. Yet how was I going to carry 25 pounds worth of dogs into the vets and out without the boot to walk in?

I finally became so frustrated that when I saw a young thirty-ish woman get out of her car, I rolled my window down and asked her if she'd mind helping me. 

I could see the blank look on her face. You see this type of "could you please help me" ploy in movies and they don't usually end well for the unwitting victim/good Samaritan. 

She kindly walked over. We got out the car manual and tried to figure it out. Why do they make those things so confusing? I had pushed everything conceivable that Abi could have hit up against. Finally I pushed one on the dashboard and it turned it off. Sigh of relief from both of us. 

But how on earth did Abi manage to get there and hit a flat button? We shall never know. 

So back to the CAT scan. 

I asked the woman to please call the doctor's office. Being Friday afternoon after 2 p.m., she said they might be closed. She called anyway. Someone answered and she explained the problem. Then handed the phone to me. 

The person on the other end said: "If they don't do CAT scans, why on earth did they make the appointment for you and call you to confirm it?" the woman said. 

I said: "If they have never done CAT scans and you use them regularly, why did they get contacted to do this in the first place?

It became "pass the buck time." I told them I wanted to get this CAT scan done today. And I would wait while they scrambled to find a place. 

I have a cheap cell phone, but have to pay for my minutes, since the whole thing is just $9 a month. I wasn't using it unless I had to. I abhor the things anyway. And a so-called "smart phone" is out of the question. People spend so much time on them while walking straight into you, and who wants to pay for the internet on those as well? Not me.

The technician who was about to perform the MRI that would have cost $1800 tells me: "If we'd done the MRI, it wouldn't even have shown what the doctor needs to see. You'd have done it for nothing."


Oh, and $1800!

They call back and tell me to go to another location. I wrote the info down and hobbled out to the car in my boot. As I got on the right street, I realized there were quite a lot of big buildings that might have Suite 100(s) in them. Which one was it? They had failed to give me the address.

I had 10 minutes. They were of course squeezing me in. I turned around and stopped at one of those My Doctor places and asked the receptionist if she knew where I was to go from here. She looked it up on her computer. Probably wondering: Why on earth doesn't this woman have a smart phone?"

She finally called them and they gave her better directions. I get in the car, make a U-turn at the next light because there was a median, and start back up the hill. I find it and hobble inside. 

The room is full of people. Nary a free chair in the place. Whereas at the other we-only-do-MRI's place, I was the only person in the waiting room. They were scrambling to put paperwork together for me. They'd had just a few minutes notice after all. 

A nice man who was leaving showed me he was vacating his chair, and I sat down with the reams of paperwork. And for the second time in the past hour and a half, began to fill them out. I hand over my driver's license and insurance card. And my debit card.

I start filling them out and notice a charge of $1200 something. Wow, I think. These things are expensive. When I have filled them all out, I take them back to the front desk. 

"Oh," I said. "I have one question. Is it really that much to have a CAT scan?"

"No," she said. "But the woman who filled out your order here forgot and put you down for an MRI. Don't worry. I've already changed it."

(Cue smoke coming out of my ears in a cartoon-ish fashion.)

Enter Diane Keaton in her glasses. Remember the way she would cock her head to one side while half-smiling, as if to say: Am I the only person here who understands?

"Okay," I said. "I am getting a CAT scan, right?" 

"Right," she says. 

Since they had to work me in, I'm sitting there two hours with a bunch of other women of varying ages. CNN is on the TV mounted to the wall, and everyone is discussing the ebola crisis. There is a bit of a debate among us on how it is contracted. 

The woman next to me, five years my junior I learn, had just moved here from California. Her husband is in the medical field and they are only here for a short time. The conversation shifts.

"The first thing I said to my husband when we got here in July is: People smoke here," she said with alarm in her voice.

I said: "They don't smoke in California?" (Lord, I want to move where no one smokes and triggers asthma attacks.)

She taps off on her fingers the laws there and apparently you can only smoke in your home, and only there if you don't live in an apartment dwelling. 

"I just can't believe people here smoke. Just walking down the street. In their cars!" she said in dismay. 

I tell her she is in a world about 30 years behind. She says thank God it isn't for long. "Do you know what the reading level of children in school here is?" she asks me. 

No, I don't. But by the look on her face, I know it must be abysmal. Money is taken from schools at a rapid rate these days. And another bit of trivia: Oklahoma drivers pay the highest auto insurance rates of any place in this country. 

Then she mentions all the road construction.

Yes, unfortunately we tend to have crappy roads. And if a road is to be fixed, one area will take about three years. I know, I live off one and I couldn't drive down it. The traffic of those trying to detour around it was ridiculous. It has just recently been opened to traffic.

The woman looks at me wide-eyed. "They would have that sort of thing done in three weeks in California." Clearly she would like to reverse the last four months and go straight back there. To a place where people are not allowed to smoke and roads get fixed quickly and schools aren't so far behind. 

"And they actually tax food here!" she says next. 

I nod. Yes, they do.  

"And," one of the older women chimed in. "This is the most dangerous city in the country, according to a study. And women are more likely to be murdered here than most other places." (I couldn't remember the exact details on where OK falls in that category, but that rang almost true.) 

(Being the curious person I am, I looked that up when I finally got home. And these are the facts: A report issued recently ranked the state of Oklahoma the third-highest in the nation for the number of women murdered by men. The study focused on domestic violence, looking at cases where one woman was killed by one man.

The news for Tulsa in particular is even more grim. A look through homicides in Tulsa since 2012 shows that 15 women were killed in domestic crimes as outlined in the report. For every 100,000 women in Tulsa, 2.68 have been murdered by a man since 2012.
The state’s rate — bad enough to be topped by only two other states, Alaska and South Carolina — is 2.03 per 100,000.
The woman from California is blinking in consternation. She must think she has arrived in a place of alien infrastructure. She shakes her head in irritation.

I don't add to the fray with the info that a few weeks ago a woman was beheaded at her work place by a man who'd just been fired.

"And I think I saw a person carrying a gun," the woman says. "Actually on them. Can people really carry guns???"

Yes, this woman is clearly out of her element here.

Of course I looked that up as well: Oklahoma is generally a gun-friendly state, and has mostly less-restrictive gun laws. Being part of the Southern United States and Western United States, Oklahoma is home to a strong gun culture, which is reflected in Oklahoma's gun laws. 

On May 2012, Oklahoma State Senate Bill 1733 was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin, which authorized open and concealed carry of handguns by permit holders.

The room slowly empties as the afternoon wears on. A constant stream of info on the ebola crisis runs across the bottom of the TV via CNN.

I am to be the last called in. I've been there two hours. The man takes me back to the room where he will do the CAT scan.

"Okay," he says. "I don't exactly have a lot of paperwork here to go on, since this was so last minute. But I believe they just want scans of the (I can't remember the medical terminology) blah-blah ankle. He points to my leg with his pen. 

I said: "Well, it was my impression that he wanted to see something a bit higher up as well."


"Really?" he says. "That's not normally what they ask for. They just want images of the blah-blah-blah."

I explain to him what I recall of the x-ray the doctor showed me, and how he tapped his pen about halfway up it, where a space widened and there was gray inside.

I sigh. "Would you please call them to make sure. This has been an unusually crazy day. And I don't want to have to come back and do this again if we're not sure."

He goes into another room to call, comes back, and says: "Well, you're right! I'll just go from there down the whole foot."

In no time I am sitting in the waiting room waiting for the disk. He will send his report to the doctor, which will now be next week. And I will have the disk if the doctor wants to look it over. I am happy to have the disk in my possession. After the whole cluster-you-know-what.

I am in no mood for supper. I am exhausted. I stop at Braums and buy two cartons of ice cream (sale price 2 for $3!) and head home. I tell myself I deserve a treat. I prefer to not remember that I have had "a treat" for three nights in a row.

The dogs weren't as bad as usual. I had given them the heavy duty composure pill the vet had given me before I left. And that's a whole other story I'll tell you about tomorrow.

Diane Keaton would be laughing her little skittish laugh and tossing her head to one side. Her eyes would roll and she would say: "Oh my word, what a day!"


  1. A Marvelous Medical Mix-up Day / Good Grief!

  2. Oh my word! What a mess! I hope the doctor is able to get to the root of the problem and get your ankle fixed properly. Remember when going to the doctor was so simple and relatively inexpensive? I used to call the doctor and get my kiddos in that same day. Office calls were $19 and I had no idea what a copay was--I just paid the entire bill that day. That was twenty years ago. Now every doctor in town (and we are not even a city) belongs to a corporation owned by the hospital and it takes days, if not weeks, to get an appointment.

    On the flipside of that, the doctor that delivered me in the 1960's told me that when I was born, office calls were $2 and he truly had more money in his pocket back then. He said all the different types of insurances he personally had to have in order to practice really drove up the prices. He practiced one year at the hospital corporation and retired from what he called "nonsense."

    1. And, Obamacare when fully implemented will be the crowning glory of this debacle.

  3. Oh my what a day! I've had some of those days too dealing with medical issues for my son and my brother. I'm getting good at handling them but it really isn't a skill I wanted to acquire. As for the lady from California - take her comments with a large dose of salt- I've lived there and now I live in the midwest and believe me California is EXPENSIVE to live in. I don't remember there being no taxes on food, but I do remember it was costly. As was the insurance for my car and our home, and the price of clothes,etc. As for safety I'm not sure what part of the state she lived in. I was in a medium size city in the Stanislaus Valley and we had trouble with gangs and sky high unemployment and tons of illegals. For all of her illusions that California is so wonderful they have a very high rate of people leaving the state... wonder why?

    Love your blog - take care - hope the pupsters are feeling better too!

  4. Now you know why people like us love to stay put in our home. When I lived in NY going to the doctors was a nightmare. Long waiting hours, here in Omaha it use to be nice but it is getting worse. The person with Ebola here at the medical center is doing really well. Our facility is set up for this type of disease.

  5. Crazy Day! It does show how vigilant we have to be about our own Health Care...well really EVERYTHING!

  6. The young woman from California was right, we have seen a decline in smokers over the last few decades, and it's unusual to see someone smoking on the street. Some cities have enacted their own regulations, even more stringent than our state laws. I heard recently that we are second only to Utah in smokers/non-smokers. Yes, it costs a lot of money to live here, but I can think of no other state as progressive as California, and I'm proud to be a native. That said, I hope the CAT scan gives the doctor the information he is looking for.

  7. Oh- Especially loved the part about the transferee. She will go home and tell her husband they have been plucked from Heaven and planted in Hell. lol What a nightmare of a day. While Diane Keaton may have been a perfect choice for the main character it sounds like a Stephen Spielberg production to me. lol xo Diana

  8. Oh Brenda, I am sorry for that crazy day you experienced. What drives me nuts is having to double check that someone is doing their job correctly. It happens all too often. As for that lady from California, please keep her in Oklahoma. We have too many like her in this state. It doesn't matter where you live there will always be problems and unfortunately those types bring their problems with them. You are right...Southern California is VERY expensive to live but we do have some nice people here. They don't make the news. We don't pay tax on food but we more than make up for it in our property taxes. Hope you and the pups have a good week. Patty Mc

  9. Wow what a crazy day. I'm glad you made it though.

  10. Facts about education spending:
    Not that that unhappy woman would listen to you anyway.

  11. Oh my goodness! What a crazy day! I'd have to have a carton of ice cream for sure.

  12. What a day Brenda !!! I love your illustrations too! Ya know - 11 years ago i had to go to Oklahoma. A much younger cousin was marrying a girl from Bartlesville. My hubby could not get off work. AND - i dont like to fly. Never knew Tulsa was so dangerous - not only did i fly (alone) in to Tulsa and stayed in Tulsa, but drove back and forth to rehearsal dinner (got lost in the rental car), and then wedding. Had we known it was like that - i would have stayed home. Even my parents did not go.

  13. Yeah, it can be crazy like that sometimes. You have to be your own advocate when it comes to medical stuff. I can't believe they tax you on food! Wow - if you ever move go to a state that does not tax food or Social Security. How about Florida? Lots of 55+ housing down here.

  14. Sometimes the patient does know better than the doctor what is needed. I am glad you got it all figured out.
    As for the woman from California she must be one of the many nuts that live out there. I can say that because my step daughter lives there and thinks they are all nuts. The road work she mentioned? It isn't done as quickly as she told you. They are still fixing parts of the road that was heavily damaged in the 1989 SF earthquake. Twenty five years afterward. Oh and the schools? A few years ago some of the schools didn't have enough books to go around and the kids had to share. People are still allowed to smoke outside just not so close to building doorways. Such as bars and restaurants. I think the woman may have move into your state from Mars.

  15. Oh my word what a story. Yikes. Life, who needs sitcoms, huh, Brenda?

    Glad you got through it. Just ohmigosh!

  16. That woman from California is NUTS! I live in CA and people still smoke here--hubby and I walked out of the store today and both made comments about the people couldn't wait to get a foot from the doors and light up. Ugh! And our roads are not all great--and they don't get fixed that quickly. (Does she not remember CalTrans?!? LOL!). is taxed. She must have lived in her own little bubble.

  17. I sure hope your CAT scan gives you and the doctor some answers. I know your frustration!

    I dealt with what I was told was a "foot" issue for a couple of years. Saw different doctors and did physical therapy to help with the alleged problem. Finally, in frustration, I told my PCP that I wanted to pick my own therapist and asked for a referral to one who had helped a friend re-learn to walk after a horrific car accident. In one appt, after laying down on the floor and LISTENING to my foot as I walked back and forth next to her, she said "It's not your foot, it's your ANKLE!" Finally, an ANSWER!!! I asked a neighbor who was a surgical nurse who the best "ankle guy" she knew was and got a referral to him--he had a lot of training in the military and had seen bad injuries. Within 5 mins of meeting me and hearing my story, he looked at the MRI and saw something no one else had picked up on--he found the problem!!! Ended up having surgery and it was fixed!

  18. Oh Brenda, all this strange karma around your ankle is starting again.
    I've never said this, but I believe you had a sub optimal peri operative experience on many levels. Your injury was severe and complex without a doubt. But their readiness to have you wear a boot on an ongoing basis disturbs me. Were you seen by clinical nutrition to determine what your postoperative protein, mineral, etc needs would be for good healing to take place? And don't get me started on the air pump on your boot! . Can you possibly imagine the outcome had you not been as informed a medical consumer as you are? I pray that " they" can find a way to repair your injury and give you your mobility back again.

  19. It took several Drs. and out patient surgery on my knee to find out I did not have a right hip. The astute Dr. I finally had, asked me how did I live in so much pain. He notice my right leg shorted than my left. Right! Away! Bless that Dr. It wasn't in my head or that I'm out of shape. I've been reading your blog for sometime and I have to say, you have wonderful support with your readers. A true friend in Judy. Cute little pupsters too. A retreat in your patio and a warm welcoming home. I hope the ct scan come out okay for you. Kathleen in Az

  20. sounds like a Stephen King novel to me.. Nightmare on Physician Lane,, lol..

    why why why do these things happen to you...

    so sorry you had to go through all that.

  21. You exemplify the adage that I keep repeating in my head when addressing medical issues: BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE! Or, make sure you have someone who can support you in making decisions, a watchdog! And, don't trust anything that sounds wrong. I've had to call two or three times to the insurance co. to get the right answer. The level of incompetence in the medical industry is alarming. Enjoy the ice cream!

  22. As Linda said, we really do have to be vigilant about our health and any treatments we get. Way too many mistakes are made. I remember wen I moved back to Kentucky from California how shocked I was to see so many people with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. Southern states are definitely lagging behind in health habits. GLad you finally got your CAT scan. xo Laura

  23. oh my...not exactly how you wanted to spend your day got your scan and your coffee. take care. hope everything checks out okay.

  24. What a day! I am finding medical incompetence more the rule than the aberration lately, and it is really frightening. I first thought, don't you have metal in your ankles!? That would be a disaster if they put you in an MRI. Maybe you need one of the pups "composure pills!" LOL You deserve ice cream for dinner after all that!

  25. Oh my...I would have needed at least two gallons of ice cream! Glad you got it all straightened out! ;)

  26. I don't mean to laugh at your expense but this was so darn funny. Well, the way you wrote it. And I can totally see Diane Keaton playing you!! Sorry for the aggravation, and honey, with those statistics you are safer in Chicago!

    I will tell you something a little weird. With this hand thing I have going on, I went to a brand new outpatient clinic attached to my hospital. Squeaky clean and run like a tight ship. From the parking garage to the building to the lab where I had my blood work done, someone was there to greet me and have me follow them. They were almost robotic. I was in and out in 15 minutes and that was blood tests and an EKG! I believe we are all numbers, not names. Could that be a good thing?

    Have a great Sunday!

    Jane xx

  27. Unbelievable Brenda..I'm not sure I could have made it through that long without a few rude comments..and leave it to little Abi to push your buttons hope the ice cream helped..

  28. Dear Brenda, What a terrible horrible very bad day. I admire your ability to traverse it with the utmost in courage and good manners. I just got insurance for the first time in 10 years. I am finding the system so corrupt and difficult. I recently went in for my diabetes and instead was referred out to about 6 different test I did not need. I cancelled them all and demanded I be treated for what I need first. Our health care system is a joke.
    One year ago this week I broke my ankle just like yours, a very bad break. Fear not it will heal . I was in the boot for 7 months and have just resumed walking normally albeit always in pain. I hope that your healing will be soon and the boot will be just a memory. When we break a foot bone at this age, it forever changes how we go about our life. I am so careful now and will never do cardio other then walking. I never rush and take each step carefully. I will never take stairs and rest it every night. I broke it when a unfortunate short stay in Arizona with 65 mph winds knocked me down. So I can relate to the lady from CA. I am a Callie girl and living away from here almost killed me even though it was only a year. We are a devoted people to our beautiful state and anywhere else feels like mars to us. Feel better and give yourself a lot of credit for handling that fiasco so well. I hope the test shows some closure for your treatment.

  29. Wow! That was a crazy day, for sure! I would've been exhausted after all that waiting and BS, too. Also goes to show you that you definitely have to be your own advocate. Good Lord...who knows what kinds of tests they would've done or what body parts they would or would not have put in the CT machine!
    IL isn't exactly the best state to live in either. Our property taxes and sales tax are insane (yes, we pay food tax here, too); we always have construction going on everywhere that also takes forever; and Chicago governors? - enough said, lol.

    1. PS - We (Illinois) also has legal concealed carry.

  30. There was a printout in the paper recently that showed how much difference in prices for MRIs, Cat Scans, etc. among just the hospitals in this area I live in. The differences in the amt of money charged for the very same tests was unbelievable! The article said if you are told by your doctor that you need a certain test, you can ck around the hospitals and clinics in your area by calling and asking the prices and THERE IS A GOVERNMENT LAW THAT THEY HAVE TO TELL YOU WHAT THEY CHARGE. (I did not know that.) The article also said that the doctors haven't the faintest idea of what you will be charged for any test. If I can find my copy of the article, I will send you one. Bear with me for a few days while I rummage through my many clippings.....

  31. Oh my what a day you had! As a Canadian in Toronto, I can TOTALLY relate to the woman from California. We have no smoking laws and strict gun control so I too would find your state off putting. And we have universal healthcare. The envy of many countries worldwide.. But sadly, in Toronto, road construction seems never ending. Transit issues and a notoriously embarrassing mayor (who will soon be gone) and gang related violence are also some of our complaints.

    Hope all goes well the rest of the week.

  32. I certainly hope the first place you went sends you back your $100.

  33. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience. You would think someone might actually read the doctor's orders before sending you for the wrong test. Um . . . I wonder where California lady was from. I've lived in So. Cal. my whole life and it's never lived up to the picture she painted for you. People do smoke here, just not as many as in some other states. The streets and freeways here are terrible and they don't get fixed for years sometimes. We also have many gun laws, but somehow all the criminals still manage to get guns. Nationally, we don't rank very high in education either. It's true that we don't pay tax on many food items at the grocery store, but we have one of the highest gas taxes/per gallon in the nation. Our politicians may be social progressives, but they are fiscal morons. CA has a huge economy but we are frequently in financial trouble due to the out of control spending of our elected officials. California has some great things about it as well--every place has its positives and negatives.


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