Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Brief Panic Attack

Scheduling MRI's is especially problematic in our area. For one thing, our insurance company is rather reticent to authorize imaging studies (our last MRI took several months to authorize, and then the insurance company authorized it for the wrong hospital). For another, Buffalo Children's only offers sedated MRI's one day per month. They are the only location to offer sedated MRI's for children within a 200 mile radius, so you can imagine their schedule tends to get rather backed up.

I was immensely pleased when our ENT's office called to say that Nolan's MRI was scheduled for March 23, at 11:00am. This is incredibly fast for our area, and it was a huge relief to get a slot prior to his scheduled tonsillectomy. The ENT's office called again on Friday to state that our insurance company had given pre-authorization. Cool.

I breathed a sigh of relief with the knowledge that everything was set in motion for figuring out this whole "Nolan quits breathing at night" thing. Then, late Monday afternoon, the phone rang.

"This is Buffalo Children's MRI department, calling to schedule Nolan's MRI. Our earliest available date is at the end of April."


I am normally a rational person, but my panic alarm was immediately triggered.

"He's already scheduled for an MRI, on March 23 at 11:00."

This is when things started to get a bit ugly. The MRI scheduling person got her knickers in a twist, and told me that he is not on their schedule. She said the ENT's office should not have called us and given us a date, that they don't even sedate on that day. Also, we should snag the date late in April, before we ended up waiting until the end of May.

My heart started racing. We can't wait until late May. Not with a scheduled tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy on a child with severe central sleep apnea of unknown origin. So I simply told the MRI lady,


To which she responded,


I don't think anyone ever told her "no" before. I'm getting well versed in the use of the word.

"My son has severe central sleep apnea. He stops breathing and turns blue at night, and we have an operation scheduled for April 13. The MRI has to be done prior to that surgery and as soon as possible."

"He's not on our schedule. You're at risk for losing this spot in late April."

I told her to check with our ENT's office, and to call me back the following business day. Then, heart pounding, I called our ENT's office. It was not a normal business day for them, so I left a rather frantic voice mail. Then I spent an incredibly long night worrying about the entire chain of events should the MRI fall through (cancelled tonsillectomy, delayed follow-up sleep study, etc).

Our wonderful ENT medical office called me back the following morning, before the office even opened. The MRI is scheduled for March 23, they assured me, and the paperwork hadn't been given to the sedating nurse yet. Buffalo Children's called shortly thereafter to state that he was on the schedule for the 23rd. I am so, so glad I did not cave to the pressure of Ms. MRI scheduler and take the appointment in late April.

So the MRI is set for March 23, we should show up at 9:00am, and they will perform the MRI. I hope.


Julia said...

Whew! And I'm so glad it worked out. I think I must have dealt with the same person when scheduling Ben's pre-CI CT scan, back in 2008, or at least a colleague with a similar mentality. I know they deal with this stuff every single day, but they really should remember that the person on the other end of the phone is a very stressed-out and worried parent, for whom this is definitely *not* a routine matter. But I guess power corrupts.

Lisa said...


Herding Grasshoppers said...


Anonymous said...

Yes, way to go Leah! So glad it's going to all happen in what seems like a pretty timely manner, all things considered.

leah said...

I got the paperwork for the MRI today, so it looks like everything is "official." I should be used to these snafus by now, but they still get me totally freaked out. Hopefully this run of tests will be the last for a long time!

rouchi said...

You are a great mum Leah, really glad this has finally taken place and you managed it so well.Hope all is fine soon and this year brings you all peace of mind.ALL THE BEST>