Ah, Blessed Incompetence

Tuesday afternoon the phone rang. [Kathy->] answered to hear a worried voice on the other end. “Has anybody talked to you about your mammogram yet? No? We found a calcium deposit and some other stuff that looks pretty serious. We want you to get in for a biopsy right away, by the end of this week at the latest.” Since Kathy’s last mammogram had been many months ago, she thought the timing of the call a bit odd, but was of course quite worried by this call, and immediately tried to schedule an appointment with a surgeon for the biopsy. Unfortunately, her doctor’s staff had called a few scant minutes before 5:00, and she was unable to get an appointment with the surgeon (the estimable doctor who took out my gall bladder) before his office had closed for the day.

I stayed home from work the next morning while she called the surgeon’s office again. “I’m sorry, but the doctor’s already double-booked all day, and is in surgery tomorrow and Friday,” said the secretary. “We’ll see if we can work something out and will give you a call back.” An hour later, she still hadn’t heard anything, so called the office again. “Come in now! No wait! Come in at 4:30” the staff eventually decided. I biked off to work late, and cut the work day short so that I could be back to take care of the kids while she went off to the doctor.

The children and I went down to the river, partially to keep our minds occupied and partially because it was a hot, fine day for river swimming. [Maggie->] insisted that I carry the feathers she gathered up for her “feather collection.” “I don’t have any free hands right now,” I told her, as I was gathering up river trash with one hand and skipping stones with the other. “Keep them in your hat!” she told me, so I took off my hat, let her fill it with feathers, and replaced it on my head. Later on forgetting its contents, I doffed my cap to reveal a bedraggled, feathery scalp, which made me look like some sort of demented balding bird-man with a comb over. The kids found it very amusing.

After a couple hours of river frolic, we returned home to find a bemused Kathy. “How did it go?” I asked worriedly. “I’ve never been so relieved and so frustrated all at once!” she responded. When she’d gotten to the surgeon’s office, he looked at her mammogram and looked at Kathy. “This doesn’t look bad at all,” he said. “What is it I’m supposed to be looking for?” “I don’t know,” said Kathy. “So, why are you here?” he said. “I’m not sure,” Kathy said. “My doctor made worried noises and told me to come.” “Let me talk to your doctor,” he said, picking up the phone. She was in surgery, as it turned out, but her office staff eventually figured out that there was somebody else with the last name McMains who should have gotten a call instead of Kathy. They had called the wrong person, and given Kathy 24 hours of worry about cancer for nothing! (Not to mention presumably failed to notify someone else who needed prompt attention.)

We were, of course, all very much relieved, though still quite miffed with the doctor who had sent us on this goose chase. But that night during prayers, without any prompting, [Abigail->] said “…and God, please help mama not to be mad at the doctor who made the mistake and got her all worried, because we all make mistakes sometimes.”

So, I guess a lawsuit’s out of the question then. Out of the mouths of babes…