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Ramona's Ramblings

The Janes

Ramona Jan
Posted 5/21/24

Sometimes you don’t get along with a health practitioner and you have to change to a different one. Such was the case last week when I went for my tri-weekly exam and immunotherapy infusion.

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Ramona's Ramblings

The Janes


Sometimes you don’t get along with a health practitioner and you have to change to a different one. Such was the case last week when I went for my tri-weekly exam and immunotherapy infusion.

I got tired of Bernie, the physician’s assistant. It seemed he never took me seriously. Sometimes he’d chuckle under his breath at questions that I’d ask. For example: Could the saline solution be at all responsible for my high level of choline? 

After snickering, he would look at my blood results and then fall back in his chair. Huh. He hadn’t noticed the high level of choline until I pointed it out. I don’t mind pointing things out. And I don’t mind being my own advocate. What I do mind is being punished for it. (It’s now my theory that some medical practitioners can be vindictive).

When I told Bernie that I didn’t feel well enough for an infusion that day, he said, fine “we” can skip a week. But, he added, “You’ll have to get your blood drawn again.”

“Another blood draw?” I asked, “Why? I just had one this week and nothing much can change in a week. Or even three weeks, which is when I usually get my blood drawn.”

“Because, that’s how we do it,” countered Bernie.

“Fine,” I said. When I returned home, however, I called the doctor who told me I didn’t need to have my blood drawn again. That’s when I fired Bernie. I just said, “Bernie and I are not really getting along. Can I have someone else examine me? I’d prefer a female if possible. In fact, I’d like Jane. She subbed for Bernie once. Any possibility with Jane?”

“Yes! Of course. You can have Jane,” was the response, as it should be because I am, after all, the customer, and quite a big spender. The infusions are about $20,000 a pop. Insurance pays most of it. I have a co-pay of $3,500 every three weeks, which is being picked up for one year by a grant. After a year, I don’t know what happens. Insurance might drop me, but that’s beside the point. The point is, the facility gets their money now.

At my next infusion, I was all excited to see the name “Jane” on the schedule next to mine. But when Jane walked in the door, she was not the petite brunette I remember but rather a tall, sassy blonde. It was another Jane. They have two PA’s with the same name. Still, I was willing to give this Jane a chance.

Chance over. Blonde Jane was domineering, aggressive, and a poor communicator. Blonde Jane made me miss Bernie. I know what you’re thinking. Maybe it’s me. It’s not. With the right person, I do great. 

Blonde Jane and everyone else I encountered at the infusion center that day greeted me with, “So you don’t want to work with Bernie anymore.” At first, I politely said, “No. It wasn’t working out.” But after three or four different health care providers said exactly the same thing, I finally just stated, “That’s right! I don’t want to work with Bernie anymore.” I forget sometimes, that I am the customer.

And since I am the customer, just as I was finishing up with blonde Jane, I said, “Is there another Jane here? Another PA with the same name, Jane?”

“Yes!” said Jane, “That would be Jane D!”

“Well. I’d like her next time,” I blurted. Indeed, I just let Blonde Jane have it. I didn’t hold back. After all, no one was holding back with me. And now I have Brunette Jane. I can’t wait.  

RAMONA JAN is the Founder and Director of Yarnslingers, a storytelling group that tells tales both fantastic and true. She is also the roving historian for Callicoon, NY and is often seen giving tours around town. You can email her at callicoonwalkingtours@gmail.com.


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