C is for “Cancer” Part 3

Back to my story.

I had started work at my current job on January 30. On February 19, I was diagnosed with cancer and told I’d need surgery. Any math whiz or insurance adjuster will tell you that there’s usually a 30 day waiting period before insurance kicks in. Fortunately, that was not the case here. The carrier was the (now defunct) Jefferson Pilot. I was fully covered the day I started working there. And fortunately, since I was remiss in taking care of my health, only going to the doctor in dire cases such as this, there was no pre-existing condition to be found. I was 100% covered.

When I was finally able to speak to my friend about the gynecologist, she gave me a funny look when I raved about him being so close to downtown. She said, “No, he’s not. He’s in the medical center.” We figured out that I’d called the wrong Dr. W. I had her doctor’s brother. No matter. He was close to work and looked to have matters in hand. Although I wasn’t too happy about the brusque way he’d treated me.

Nevertheless, I kept my appointments, and started the battery of tests that comprised the “oncology workup.” Surgery was scheduled for a date certain in March and my office was alerted that I’d be off work for at least three weeks.

Kind souls that they were (and I’m sure my boss, a partner in the firm, had something to do with this generosity), they advanced me all of my sick leave and vacation so that I would not lose any salary. With the caveat that if I left before the end of the year, I’d owe the firm any unused vacation and/or sick time. I was fine with that. I was anxious to get the surgery behind me.

I began to plan for my surgery, and so did my office. The hired a replacement to sit in and had her come in a week early for training. It was during that time that he moved my surgery date up by a week. I was not pleased. But the replacement was already on board and we decided an extra week of training wouldn’t hurt her.

On the Wednesday afternoon before my surgery was scheduled, I was packed and ready to go. I had gone to the office with my valise and planned for Robert to pick me up from work and go directly to the hospital. Surgery was to be early the next morning. When I got a call from Dr. W that afternoon I thought he was just confirming the surgery.

No. He was telling me that his favorite anesthesiologist wouldn’t be available until Saturday and that he was rescheduling my surgery for Saturday morning.

I was seething. When I went in to my boss and told her what had happened she was upset too. But for a different reason. Her father was a doctor and she made her living defending them and hospitals in medical malpractice cases. She said, “No way are you having surgery on a Saturday while there is a skeleton crew working! Let me call my father about this.” I was unhappy with Dr. W and this was the last straw.