July 22, 2005
Forget grad school. Why don't I just go join some shake-a-rock and roll band?
Warning: long rant ahead. Lots of tiny frustrations, all snowballing. A snowball this size is liable to crush me.
In order to be able to register for my courses, I have to prove that I've been immunized against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus and chicken pox. I knew that I'd had the MMR as a child and the tetanus five years ago, and I've had chicken pox, so I started calling around to find my immunization records, which turned out to be an almost complete waste of time. My mom managed to find an old record from 1973 that I'd had a shot for measles and rubella, but not mumps; the receptionist at my old doctor's office, where I had my most recent tetanus shot, pretty much refused to give me my records. And I couldn't prove I'd had chicken pox, since nobody goes to the doctor for that, so I had to get a blood test.
Since it's impossible to get a family doctor in this town I've been relying on the university health centre for the last four years, and now that I've graduated, they have cut me off. So I went to a walk-in clinic near where I live to have the blood test ordered. Apparently I chose the wrong clinic, because when I got to the blood lab and handed over my form, they all looked at it and started rolling their eyes and sighing and saying they'd had nothing but problems with this clinic. . . the doctor didn't fill out the request properly AND they couldn't read his writing, and where he had meant to write "tetanus" it clearly did not say tetanus. Of course, the clinic wasn't answering their phone, so the lab drew my blood anyway but had to wait for confirmation from the doctor before sending it away, delaying my test by several days. And, of course, now I'm stuck having to rely on the crappy unprofessional nothing-but-trouble clinic to get my results, because the lab won't just send them to me or forward them to a different doctor.
That was a month ago, and the MMR is the only test for which I've seen any results. The others are things they don't often test for, and one was sent to Toronto and one to Hamilton, apparently by bicycle courier or possibly pony express. Because, hello? I could have taken all of my blood to Toronto in four hours. It has been four weeks. And I have been panicking because there's a special course I want to take that I was convinced would be really popular, and I really don't want to be shut out of it.
I called the clinic about a week and a half ago and was told my results were in, so I walked over, and found that only the rubella was back (my levels were just on the borderline). The doctor was able to call the lab and find out that I had tested immune to measles but not to mumps, so he went ahead and gave me the shot. I asked him to just give me all the shots but he refused and told me to wait another week for the lab results (he said they don't give a chicken pox shot to people who have had it, but the test was going to take a long time because they don't often test for it, so how the hell else are people supposed to get proof of immunity, for fucksake?). So I waited. And when I called back in a week the clinic was moving to their new location and the phones were not working.
After trying to reach them for three days, finally yesterday I stormed down there, and was told that the tetanus and chicken pox were still not in and that their phone was down but they would call the lab as soon as it was fixed, or I could call the lab myself. I said, but the tests were sent to Toronto and Hamilton, and she said, the lab in town will have the results. So I went home and called the lab, knowing full well that the results would go directly from Toronto to the clinic, not to the local blood lab. And I was right. Just for fun I asked the woman at the lab, do you think the people at this clinic are assholes? would I be better off never going back there, and just getting the shots at some other clinic? and she said, uh, maybe?
In the meantime, I thought I'd better call the school and make sure that this was indeed the last hoop I had to jump through before I could register, and after having to dial the admissions office and go through the labyrinth of recorded options six times, I finally reached a human being who was able to tell me that my transcript had arrived and that restriction had been lifted, but the art school hadn't processed my advising form thing yet (the thing I did in early June when I visited the school). Because apparently the art school can't clear me to register until graduate admissions does, it all has to be done in a particular order, you see.
Finally, in a complete tizzy by now, I called Andra at the art school, and can I just say, Andra? My favourite person. She took care of the advising thing, helped clear up a few other things regarding course registration and my assistantship job, and also checked on the class I'm worrying about and told me there's still room in it for me. I wonder if the school has already flagged me as high-maintenance? There's probably a note in my file, this is the girl who was so stupid she had to come all the way down from Canada to get help filling out forms. File under "high-strung". Shit.
So last night I went to the after hours walk-in clinic to get immunized. After a (remarkably short for health-care deficient Windsor) 40 minute wait, the doctor told me that he could give me the tetanus but chicken pox isn't something they normally give to adults, and hadn't I ever had it? I said, yes, but I need proof and I can't get proof so just give me the damned shot, please. He asked me why I needed proof and I told him, and he reached for a blood test request form. And I FREAKED. I seriously freaked. So the guy gingerly put the form back, leaning away from me a little, and wrote me a prescription to take to the pharmacy next door. And assured me that when I came back I wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room again.
Well. My drug plan doesn't cover the chicken pox vaccine. I had to pay eighty dollars to be immunized against a disease I have had. And I'll tell you this: if the clinic calls today to tell me that my blood test results are in, I am going to go down there and smash their window. I'm that high strung.
But all restrictions have been lifted, and I'm cleared to register. As soon as the fucking online system decides to play nice and allow me into my classes; the only one it will let me into is the one I was afraid of being shut out of, but it won't actually put me down in the class until I've selected a full course load of classes, and it keeps saying I still don't have the department's permission to take the teaching practicum (I do so) and that printmaking is full (AS IF I can be shut out of printmaking. As if). Gah. So now I'm calling Andra again ("hi, Andra? It's me again, the moron. Can you hold my hand?")
Oh, and I woke up with some intense throat pain this morning, after sitting for 40 minutes last night in a waiting room next to a woman who had some kind of infection in her throat and sinuses. So, back to the clinic (a different one, as if I'm going back to the asshole place, no way!). The doc says maybe it's just a virus but gave me an antibiotic anyway, and I'm just going to take it. Fuck it.
o.0 Holy crap. Perhaps if you go postal on them they'll find your test results.
Posted by: Beryl at July 22, 2005 02:38 PM
Yikes, that sounds terrible. Simon is having a similar though not nearly as traumatizing event. He had to get all the shots and blood to move down here and get hired by the gov. and now that we are moving back to Canada he has to show proof of the shots he got to come down and get some more to move back. I wish I was there I would make you some tea and we could watch John Water's movies, I am sure they would make you feel better. Hope everything works out. Oh and blood clinics are just as stupid here. The one time I had blood taken the woman bruised me so badly I looked like an addict.
Posted by: Krista at July 22, 2005 03:12 PM
It shouldn't be so hard.
Posted by: Sandy at July 22, 2005 03:23 PM
I'm familiar with the immunization proof nightmare. The gov wanted a fax from my family doctor in Canada proving that I'd had the MMR and other shots when I was an infant. The doctor's office doesn't keep those records for longer than 7 years, so I was screwed too. I had to have the whole round of shots for stuff that I'd already had. I think it was something like 8 shots in 3 days. LAME!
Posted by: caro at July 22, 2005 03:25 PM
Oh, man . . . all of that SO sucks ass. I'm sorry to hear you've had such a struggle . . . your week sounds about how mine's been (but with phone/internet/etc).
When I was in grad school I got a letter one day telling me that if I didn't provide proof by the next day that I'd had the MMR booster, they were going to disenroll me immediately. No warning, just this. So because all my records were impossible to get, I went ahead and got the shot anyway and had a mean-ass nurse who came at me with the needle without even letting me sit down in a chair or anything. Little did she know that I have a "needle thing", so of course I instinctually started hitting. Not good. Luckily I didn't do anything except bat the needle out of her hand, but oooh, she was mad that she had to get another dose and actually let me sit while she stuck me. And then I ended up dropping out of grad school a year later. I should have just let them disenroll me.
Posted by: chris at July 22, 2005 03:35 PM
Honest to God.
Two words: Justifiable Homicide.
(just don't tell anyone who gave you the idea)
Oh, and yeah...any time you wanna get together and watch John Waters, I'm game!
Posted by: NWJR at July 22, 2005 03:35 PM
that sucks so bad. I hope everything works out and you get the class and all the results, etc. What a pain in the ass!!!
Posted by: Carrie at July 22, 2005 03:48 PM
yeep. Bad memories, coming back. I had to take a leave from grad school after being in a car crash. After being all but kicked out of the program with my records erased and more money due because I didn't have a doctor's letter saying I wasn't well. . .the letter that I had asked for for four months. It took bawling on the phone to the nurse at my clinic to get the doc off her a** and write a three line letter. stop. shaking. your. eyes.
Posted by: Lori-Ann at July 22, 2005 03:56 PM
Argh, hopefully you've just passed the stress test and they won't do that to you again. You've just reminded me why I stopped with a Masters and no amount of cajoling etc. will ever convince me to go back. I'm sure half the stuff they put you through is just because they went through it themselves and want to be sure you suffer equally. Grr. Once you're in, make friends with the departmental secretary, they know all and can fix anything or at the very least tell you how. :)
Posted by: Julie at July 22, 2005 04:10 PM
Wow, that's all pretty crap, I don't understand why there are so many hoops to jump through... I will remember to store my DS' shot records in a really really safe place should he ever require anyone to know that he had the MMR when he was 1 year old...
Once this is over and you're there you'll not know what to do with yourself!
Posted by: Anna at July 22, 2005 04:15 PM
Holy criminee! Or rather, holy crap!!
Posted by: Juanita at July 22, 2005 04:57 PM
God, that sounds awful! Been there, jumping through all the hoops just to get into a course. It's crap although the best thing to do is befriend someone in the system! They'll bail you out of the bureaucracy hell hole anytime.
Posted by: Andrea at July 22, 2005 05:37 PM
Oh Jodi! I'm so sorry to hear about all that suckage. :(
Posted by: Stephanie at July 22, 2005 06:32 PM
I got an email telling me that my assistantship money had been canceled because I hadn't accepted it. Talk about freaking. Andra also saved my life. I've been on the phone with them as well. It does not seem to be a well oiled machine. It's really hard to do this crap when you live hundreds of miles away. When are you scheduled to arrive?
Posted by: Cap'n Pete at July 22, 2005 07:05 PM
Holy shit! You just blew all my grad school problems out of the water. Why do they need proof of tetanus? Is it because of materials you might be working with? Thankfully, my school only requires MMR to register (they also require Hep B if you're going to live in the dorms). What a royal pain in the ass.
Posted by: Liz at July 22, 2005 08:05 PM
I am sorry to hear about your school problems. It wasn't any easier for me. I was constantly in the financial aid office or the advising office or the registers office or the education office. If it isn't one thing, it is another. But it gets better, the cool things you get to do in classes totally make up for it. And the shots thing, everyone has to do that from kindergarten on up.
Posted by: Erin at July 22, 2005 11:04 PM
Can I just say that this whole moving + grad school deal SUCKS? GAR ARGH I am having a nervous breakdown right now!
Posted by: Cyn at July 23, 2005 01:41 AM
That sucks ass! I hope things go smoother from here on out. That the bumps are but wee small ones.
Posted by: Danielle at July 23, 2005 02:10 PM
You need vaccinations to go to school? I thought I knew how weird the US was - this is a whole other level. And for chickenpox?! Is it so you don't bring the notorious "Canadian chickenpox" virus over the border? After this, I'm surprised they don't ask for a VD record and some genetic screening, in case the dangerous exchange students try to mate. Because everybody knows you just want to stay there for ever and ever (unless someone in your family writes a letter).
Posted by: monika at July 24, 2005 02:42 AM
Holy crap... that reads like a bad comedy sketch, or something by Douglas Adams. I hope things start running more smoothly for you. :(
Posted by: Mandy at July 25, 2005 01:04 AM
I had to provide proof of immunization when I entered grad school, and I had the same issue with my childhood doctor's office refusing to provide proof. Luckily, the school allowed me to get immunized by the health clinic when I got there, so my ordeal was limited to sitting in the health clinic waiting room for 6 hours with all of the other unlucky ones. If I'd had to go through what you're describing, I think I might have gone postal.
Posted by: Michelle at July 27, 2005 09:27 AM