Nurse Ratched is alive and well. Remember her from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? The ever-handy
I have been her personal McMurphy.
Cliff's: "Nurse Ratched is ...a scheming, manipulative agent of the Combine ..."
With orders from Dr. Norma Popsiclehands to move my case along with all possible speed because of the potential DANGER inherent in having a MASS in my ABDOMEN around my VENA CAVA, Ms. Biopsy Coordinator at the Big Christian Hospital to which I was referred was not impressed with that one iota. No sense of urgency will interefere with her carefully wrought power structure in Radiology. She dug in her heels in a "we see shit like this everyday" way and immediately thumped the book on protocol.
When she requested that I hand deliver my CAT scan films to her to "speed up the process," I complied like a bunny on steroids. Sliding into a seat next to me in the waiting room at Radiology, she launched into the boilerplate litany of instructions and conditions with a measured low-toned patronizingly saccharine voice. She was smiling the whole time, hoping, I am sure, for a dull, shocky, freaked out lamb who will just deliver herself unquestioningly into the hands of the people who "know best" but clearly studying me for any hint of rebellion, any hint of McMurphy in there screwing up her dictates. Looking directly into her eyes, I sensed a Ratched-esque dictator complex. It was ON, in a big way.
She: When scheduled you will arrive two hours early, do your paperwork, change into a gown and we will run an IV. Bring a list of all medications you are taking. We will be taking blood at that time to run tests.
Me: Since you will be jamming a really large long needle into my stomach, you're going to put me out right?
She: (Her face adopting the rigor of the realization that I am not lamb-like.) No, you will receive local anesthetic and something to relax you. You will need to be able to respond to direction. Doctor will come to speak with you and at that time it is my suggestion you ask for your relaxation meds then otherwise he will assume you will not need any. He's the boss and he'll determine how much. The nurses will administer per his orders. So be nice to them, they've got the candy. Please have a driver to bring you home who is over 18 years of age since there may be instructions. But first, Doctor will look at your films and approve or disapprove your biopsy. He will look at them Monday....
Me: But it's Friday. Just after lunch. You know this is urgent. Can he look at them today please and can we schedule the biopsy for this weekend or Monday?
She: No, he cannot. He will look at the films Monday and after he approves or disapproves them, we will make your appointment at that time.
Me: For Tuesday right?
She: I can't guarantee that...
Me: (Breathing somewhat faster now) What constitutes an approval?
She: There are two criteria - is it large enough and can he get to it.
Me: Fine, I can tell you how big it is, my paperwork from the ultrasound and the CT scan tell you how big it is, and that it is right there under my rib cage...easy access. It's a no-brainer. Can't he just throw those x-rays up on the light wall and look today and do me Monday at the latest?
Cliff's: Ratched tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine. The slightest thing messy or out of kilter or in the way ties her into a little white knot of tight-smiled fury.
She: (Here she steels her jaw, but still smiling with a set of little chicklet teeth gritting like a skeleton.) I will be presenting your films to him Monday...
Me: You would let me wait an entire weekend about this when time may mean the difference? That's cruel and unusual, don't you think? Where is he? May I please speak with him now...
She: He's in a procedure right now and cannot be disturbed...
Me: I'll wait.
She: He will not be free for the rest of the afternoon. I can guarantee he will not have one spare moment...his schedule is full. He's the boss you know.
Cliff's: The name Ratched is also a pun of "ratchet," which is a both a verb and a noun for a device that uses a twisting motion to tighten bolts into place. Like a ratchet wrench she keeps her patients 'adjusted,' but like a ratchet, a gear in the Combine, she is herself mechanically enmeshed.
With that utterance, and the sour closed-down look on her officious face, I knew it was over with this crew. And sure enough, Doctor had not even blown his nose in the direction of my films by Monday afternoon, and Ms. Biopsy Coordinator had someone else begin communicating with me, Ms. Biopsy Coordinator 2, who informed me that they could only pencil in an appointment for me in another week. And that was only IF Doctor approves.
SFX: Cars crash, metal on metal screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech, crump! Horn blares and doesn't stop...
Jump cut: Dr. Norma and her office administrator, The Amazing Carmen, have me reporting to another hospital at 6 a.m. tomorrow, the day before Thanksgiving, where they had the time, the compassion and the wherewithal to help me out.
McMurphy put the sink through the window this time. The Chief just laughs.
All These Things I've Done -The Killers