C is for “Cancer” Part 4

When my boss told her father about my situation, he recommended a gynecologic oncologist. The only problem was this guy had a closed practice. But as a favor to my boss’s father, he agreed to see me. I went the next morning to Dr. B to see what he could do for me. I would deal with Dr. W later.

As it turned out, there was one procedure that hadn’t been done yet (oops?), which was an IVP. Dr. B scheduled that and I went immediately to have it done. He also told me that he needed to see my medical records so that he could get up to speed before surgery. He asked me if I would like to have surgery bright and early the following Monday. I was elated. At last! I’d be taken care of. And this doctor had a very sweet, grandfatherly demeanor that appealed to me.

Dr. B gave me a release form to sign and deliver to Dr. W. I called his office and spoke to his nurse who agreed to have the records ready for me. I drove over to Dr. W’s office to pick up the records and take them to Dr. B so he could start reading my file.

When I got to Dr. W’s office, however, things had changed. The medical records were no longer available and all the nurse could tell me was that I had to pay the balance in full before the records would be released to me. The balance, which the insurance company was to pay, but which obviously hadn’t worked their way through the administrative hurdles yet, was in the hundreds, almost thousands, of dollars. I didn’t have that kind of money. Panicking, I called my boss. Shit. She was in a deposition out of the office. There was nothing I could do. When I told Dr. B about it, he told me not to worry but to plan to come see him the next morning (Friday) for some final tests and discussions about the surgery. Dr. B sounded confident that there would be no problem getting the records. In fact, when I showed up at his office on Friday, Dr. W had apparently called Dr. B to curse him out and accuse him of stealing his patient. When he was finished with his tirade, he wanted to talk to me. When I got on the phone, he told me that he would mail my medical records to me. I told him that if he did that, I wouldn’t have them in time for the surgery on Monday. His reply? “That’s tough!”

Livid, I returned to the office to try to figure out what to do.