Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Screwed Up Big Time Today

Bill waiting for his eye surgery appointment this morning

Today was one of THOSE days in which I screwed up, BIG TIME.

This morning Bill had an appointment for his second cataract surgery. 

We arrived half an hour early. 

The fine folks at the Delaware Eye Institute cataract surgery center took Bill in right away.  I left, asking them to call me when Bill was ready to leave.  

That was 8:00 am this morning. His appointment was at 8:40 am.

I took advantage of my time down the hectic Route One and did some chores. First was Walmart.

Then I stopped at Food Lion and Ace Hardware.  Then I went home, awaiting a call.  

9:30 am. No call. 

10:00 am. No call.

10:30 am. No call.

11:00 am. No call.

Now I was getting worried. I thought maybe there were complications with his eye surgery.  I left home at 11:20 am to take my place on the backed up traffic on Route One to the Delaware Eye surgery center.

After a couple of close calls (yes, two close calls, this is Route One in the summertime after all), I pulled in the parking lot of the Delaware Eye Institute.

I walk to the front desk.  I tell them I'm here to pick up Bill Kelly. 

The woman behind the front desk says to someone in the back "He's here."  She doesn't look happy.  In fact she wasn't happy at all.  

I soon found out the reason why.  They had been trying to reach me for TWO HOURS!

Bill was in the back, distraught.  He was crying.  I don't want to go too deep into Bill's psyche but he cannot handle any kind of stress.  That's why I advised him to quit his job thirty-three years ago and took over the sole position of bread winner for our household.  

One of the nurses had her arms around Bill, trying to comfort him. I was trying to figure out why I wasn't getting their calls.  I tried to call them but all I get is a voice mail.  

I figured out why I wasn't getting their calls. Apparently my iPhone has to be cleared out of "Recent Calls" or else my mailbox fills up and calls don't go through.  And no, I didn't have the Do Not Disturb Sign on.

Now I know why I wasn't getting calls from the surgery center prior to Bill's surgery.  In fact, when I checked Bill in this morning at the surgery center I asked them to check the phone number they had on record for calling me.  They had the right phone number. What I should have done is ask them to call my number and then I would have realized my mailbox was full.

Well, now I had a group of nurses who didn't like me.  A position I'm not used to being in.

I'm a firm believer in always showing up for appointments on time and doing the right thing.  I believe in always being cooperative and patient, especially when dealing with the medical establishment.

This morning I screwed that part of my reputation up big time.  One of the nurses told me "You caused us a big problem this morning."  I know why, because they operate on more than one person and by having Bill sitting there in a wheel chair, distraught and crying, my stupidity disrupted that assembly line process.  

Bill after his eye surgery this morning

I apologized but they weren't interested and I don't blame them.  Especially seeing how upset Bill was.  

This morning I felt as bad as I've felt in many a year.  How to fix this?  For one thing clear out all the "Recent Call" on my frigging iPhone.

And good thing because as soon as we got home I received a call from Bill's gastroenterologist scheduling an appointment next month for an endoscopy. 

I guess you could sum up this morning with that famous quote from "Cool Hand Luke"

"What we have here is a failure of communication."  

And folks, yours truly failed big time today.  

The only thing I can do is make sure it never happens again.  But I don't think I'll ever get those nurses to like me. 


  1. Wow - I feel so sorry for you and Bill. That was a horrible thing to happen, but I think perhaps everyone is being unduly harsh with you. It was an honest mistake. And I have definitely missed many calls on my cell phone.....I think good ol' landline phones are the only reliable ones (Gawd, I'm starting to feel archaic for saying that...)

    This reminds me of a similar situation that happened to me loooong ago when I was either eighteen or nineteen. We were living in Anaheim and I drove my Mom to the dentist to have a tooth pulled. In fact, if I remember correctly, she had two teeth pulled.

    Anyway, while she was having the procedure done, I went shopping at a few stores. I took longer than expected to do the shopping. When I returned to the dentist's office my Mom wasn't there! It turns out that the dental procedure didn't take half as long as I thought it would. After the tooth extraction was over, my mother attempted to WALK home, but she felt so sick that she almost passed out! She somehow made it back to the dentist's office and the receptionist had to drive her home!
    EVERYBODY was angry with me.

    Sorry for the long comment, but your unfortunate incident reminded me of my own.
    Take care....time will heal the wounds. Maybe......(*smile*)

    1. Jon,
      You understand! Your situation was almost exactly the same as mine. I assumed Bill's procedure would take at least an hour or more, because of the anesthetic recovery. I too went shopping and when I didn't get a phone call I went home to wait for the phone call. Still didn't get one so I tried to call but only got their voice mail. Oh my goodness, I am so glad Bill didn't attempt to come home on his own. They wouldn't let him anyway. They had to wheel him out in a wheel chair to my waiting car when I finally did get back. Like your situation though, EVERYBODY was angry at me and nothing I could do assuaged their attitude of me that I was a scoundrel for "leaving" Bill. I'm going to take another commenter's suggestion and give them a card apologizing for the mistake and thanking them for taking such good care of Bill during my absence.
      Thank you for your comment Jon, always welcomed.

    2. I was really surprised when I read your post because it was SO similar to my own "incident". I actually felt guilty about it for many years.

      I suppose sending an apology/thank you card would be very nice - and then just try to forget about it. It was an unfortunate situation, but you're certainly not an "evil monster". It was an honest mistake.

  2. I'd start looking for a new eye surgeon before it's your time. Nurses can be vicious (Nurse Ratched).

    1. Jimmy,
      Hopefully they will forget my faux pas by the time I need cataract surgery, which is in my future.

  3. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I'm sorry for everyone involved that today went like that. I think a heartfelt card apologizing for the mistake as well as thanking them for taking such great care of Bill in your absence would probably go a long way. Throw some cookies or sandwiches in, if you want, but nurses are used to, unfortunately, not being thanked, so I bet they would take it as intended. They are caring people, after all, or they wouldn't be nurses.

    1. Anonymous,
      Excellent suggestion that I will take. Thank you!

  4. Regrettable experience, Ron. But posting it is helpful. I immediately recounted it to my wife, who got her iPhone a few months ago, and told her about it. She said she HAD started clearing "recent calls" but didn't know it could interfere with new calls like that. Thank you.

  5. Send them a nice card and maybe some cookies.

  6. I agree with Anon...some major groveling is in order.

    Hope Bill is doing well.



  7. Ron,

    How is all this considered on your head? Part of this has to be put on the Dentist office as well. You attempted to call them to see what the status was and all you got was voice mail. This is a sad problem these days, everywhere you call these days you get voice mail or some automated menu. Places, expecially medical ones, should have a live receptionist answering calls. So you have to pay someone, tough. If a live person was manning the calls you would have known to get back post haste.


    1. Lar,
      I should have figured it out why I wasn't getting the calls. Also, I should never have left the waiting room. My time isn't that valuable that I couldn't wait until Bill's procedure was finished. They asked me if I wanted to see the operation on camera. I declined. Maybe I should have watched. I learned my lesson though, I will never leave Bill alone again. It tore me up to see him that upset. He's very vulnerable. He depends on me a lot.

  8. Anonymous10:38 AM

    This made me cry. I truly feel for you both. Being human can really suck sometimes, huh? Hugs.


    1. Deedles,
      Two old men, just trying to get through the day. Unfortunately my selfishness came through yesterday. I tried to make amends today. Hopefully I will never do that again.


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