The setting: an average townhouse in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Alison, an Air Force officer, wife, and mother of 1, talks on the phone to her clinic:
Clinic: So, just call Fort Belvoir's labor and delivery department at 5:30am on Tuesday, September 4th, tell them you need to come in for inversion and a possible C-section. We'll send your records to them via fax and you'll be good to go!
Tuesday, September 4th, 5:35am:
Alison: Hi there, I need to come in for inversion and a possible C-section.
Nurse: Ok, do you have your medical records?
Alison: They were already faxed in.
Nurse: And your clinic told you to call us this morning?
Alison: Yes, they wanted to ensure you didn't have a ton of women in labor and that you had room for me.
Nurse: (giggles) That's funny! We have room. In fact, we have a C-section going on today.
*author's note: neither the nurse nor Alison realize the C-section is hers because the nurse doesn't ask Alison who she is*
Nurse (continues): So just come on in.
Alison: What time should I be there.
Nurse: Whenever! See you soon!
Alison hangs up phone and translates the conversation to Jon. Jon and Alison agree to get another hour of sleep. They sleep, wake up, get everything ready to go.
7:15am, phone rings:
Nurse #2: Is this Captain Beach?
Alison: Yes, it is.
Nurse #2: THE DOCTOR DOING YOUR PROCEDURE IS POST-CALL AND WAITING AROUND FOR YOU. WHERE ARE YOU?
Alison: Umm...I'm sorry, the nurse this morning said to come in whenever.
Nurse #2: WHO TOLD YOU THAT?!
Alison: Whoever answered your phone at 5:30 - I'm sorry, I didn't realize anyone was waiting. We are leaving in about 20 minutes and we're right here in Springfield.
Nurse #2: THE DOCTOR IS WAITING!!
Alison: Ok, I'm sorry, we're on the way.
7:45am, Alison and Jon are on the front porch. Phone rings:
Nurse #3: Is this Captain Beach?
Alison: Yes, we're on the way.
Nurse #3: Well, the doctor left. We can't schedule you to come back until Thursday.
*author's note: Alison was really really sure she was having a baby today, and has just found out that that is actually not the case*
Alison: I'm so sorry - we were up at 5:30, but the nurse said to come in whenever. We're almost in the car ready to go.
Nurse #3: Well, the doctor's gone and no one can do the procedure.
Alison: You don't have other doctors in the hospital?
Nurse #3: No. And now we need you to come in and redo all of your labs tomorrow morning. Then call us Thursday morning at 5am and be here no later than 6.
Alison: I just don't understand - the nurse said to come in whenever.
Nurse #3: Well....no.
And THAT is why Cassidy was not born yesterday. Fort Belvoir's hospital told me to come in "whenever" and I obviously failed to realize that "whenever" actually means immediately otherwise you will miss the doctor and we have no other doctors and you can't have your baby until Thursday. How stupid of me. It is unbelievable emotionally draining to think that in 2 hours you'll be holding your daughter, but instead you find that in 2 hours, you'll be holding your computer mouse in your office while all of your co-workers ask you why you aren't in the hospital. It also is sad that I didn't even get a fake "so sorry you misunderstood" apology from the hospital. Nope, the answer is I was wrong to believe the person who answered the phone.
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