May 24, 2011


Took Ben on a walk to the neighborhood Asian grocery store where he selected some foods for himself. Here are the kids fighting over a couple of his finds...

Snow Pea Crisps


Taberu Niboshi (dried whole anchovies)

Oh yes, I kid you not. FIGHTING over pea chips and dried anchovies. Can't wait to remind them about this when they are older...

May 17, 2011

A day in the life of a MSMC

Today I'm thankful.  Thankful for the years I was hoodwinked into being the personal assistant for Patrick Whitney at the Institute of Design.  I started there as a refugee from Doblin and was offered the choice between two positions - either as a development associate or as the assistant to the director.  I was adamant that I didn't want the assistant position because as much as I liked helping the director out with various things I didn't want to be stuck in a dead end job in my early 20s.  Somehow, although my title was always development associate I ended up doing all the work of an assistant to the director.  Frustrating only begins to describe it.  And this guy didn't sit around in a tweed jacket in some dusty office all day.  No way.  PW travelled.  And not across town but to every corner of the earth.  In the handful of years I worked there I helped schedule trips to NYC, LA, SanFran, Boston, Toronto, Brazil, India, Seoul, China, Japan, Hong Kong, London, Norway, Sweden, and wherever TED was every year.  It got really fun when he would want to schedule a conference call while travelling abroad with various participants in various countries.  Thank heavens for I tell ya. But today I'm thankful for that experience because I can't imagine what else could have possibly prepared me for my current job (well, one of them...)...

Master Scheduler of the Medically Complicated

Today I'm trying to schedule a couple of specialist appointments for Ben.  One is with his urologist who wants a renal ultrasound and blood work done before the appointment.  The other is with his orthopedic surgeon who wants a spinal x-ray before his appointment.  Simple, no?

If you're nodding your head, you are clearly not a MSMC.

If you are indeed a MSMC you are laughing (and perhaps throwing back shots of whisky) right now.

The good news is both of these specialists have clinic hours on the same day.  The bad news is they are at different locations.

It started with an email to the urology clinic nurse who replied that they had a time available at the Liberty campus on Thursday, May 26th.  I replied saying that we would like that day. Then I called the orthopedic surgeon's office to see what I could schedule there. 

Orthopedic clinic transferred me to the orthopedic reception desk.
Orthopedic reception transferred me to scheduling.
Scheduling transferred me to the clinical concierge department.
Clinical concierge said they would have someone call me back.

So, if you're following this, by the time the "scheduling specialist" from the clinical concierge department called me back she was the FIFTH person I had to explain our appointment needs to.  She couldn't have been nicer.  She explained that she could access and schedule all of the clinic appointments and by the way some parents feel it's easier to just work with the various clinics themselves (should have been a warning bell, right?).  But I'm an optimist and was hopeful this clinical concierge would be the answer to my when ID gave me another job and hired someone else to fill my old position and I didn't have to do Pat's personal expenses any more.  Yeah, I was stoked!

Well, she got to be the one to break the bad news that the orthopedic surgeon will be at the main campus and not the Liberty campus that day. 

Then we figure maybe he can get all of the radiology and lab work done at the Liberty campus, then do a urology clinic appointment there and then drive to the main campus for the orthopedic surgeon.

But will the x-rays done at Liberty be available to the orthopedic surgeon at the main campus?

And the only order in the system is for a renal ultrasound, which is the only test that has to be scheduled...the other are walk-ins. 

So then my new best friend at clinical concierge scheduled the renal ultrasound at the Liberty campus at 10:45a and the orthopedic surgeon at the main campus at 3:30p.  I emailed our urology nurse to tell her we scheduled the ultrasound, to ask her to schedule him with the urologist at 1:30p at the Liberty campus, to ask if she thought we could make it from that appointment to the main campus in time for a 3:30p appointment, and finally to ask about getting an order for the blood work.  My clinical concierge friend said she would contact orthopedics to find out about getting an order for the spinal x-ray.

Then I got an email back from the urology nurse suggesting an 11:15a appointment at the Liberty campus, asking the scheduling specialist to try scheduling the renal ultrasound earlier and to schedule the 11:15a appointment, telling me the blood work orders are now in the system, recommending he arrive 30-minutes before the ultrasound for blood work, and informing us the cystantin-C results won't be available until the next day and we will have to call her for those results. 

I got an email from the scheduling specialist saying she had emailed the orthopedic nurse about getting an order for the spinal x-rays.

I emailed the urology nurse asking if we could get the blood work done locally so we could have the cystantin-C results in time for the appointment and to ask if this will be a fasting draw. 

And THAT (along with caring for my children, one of which has a fever and is puking) is what I've been doing all day and why there is an untouched bowl of cold soup sitting at my place at the table.  What's really hilarious is that this is nothing compared to when we tried to include nephrology, gastroenterology, and neurosurgery in these appointments.

In other, more important news, Grandpa Myron passed away and his funeral is today.  Who will slip the kids snacks under the table?

May 04, 2011

Indoor Park

The kids have been spending lots of time at the Ben-named "Indoor Park" - the play area at the local mall. It's the next best thing to the real park when it's raining or too cold to be outside. The last time we were there another little boy approached Ben and asked, "Are you a baby?"

Ben thought for a second and replied, "No."

"Okay, then let's play!"

And so they did. Very cute. They had fun playing hide-and-seek and Olivia got them to do some Ring-around-the-rosey.

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