Friday, May 4, 2012



I don't care what business you're in, This should just be one of those rules that just needs to be memorized and USED, and ranked up there next to "The customer is always right" (which also seems to have been forgotten lately).

It's not a stereotype, it's just TRUE. We're exhausted, we're uncomfortable, we hurt, we're sleep-deprived, we're either starving, or nauseous, or both. We're spending all this extra energy building a whole other person, not to mention carrying it around 24-7. We have no control over our body temperature so we're also spending a lot of energy just trying to find the right combo of sweaters and air-conditioning, no matter what time of year it is. Our patience is already tapped out. Our strength to keep from unleashing our wrath on you, is already tapped out. DO NOT POKE THE BEAR!

If that's not enough reasoning for you. We also talk. And we talk a lot. And not just during the 9 months that we're carrying around this little alien inside of us. Oh No. We like to commiserate and share all the horror stories for years, and even decades to come. Telling anyone and everyone we can about how you did us wrong. And you know what? Those people we tell, also tell other people. So when you tick us off, you not only lose our business, and that of the future customer inside of us, but you have the potential of losing hundreds, and even thousands of customers in the future.

DO NOT TICK OFF THE PREGNANT WOMAN. This is just common sense. And you would expect people that work with pregnant women day-in and day-out would KNOW this!

Some of you may remember a few of the disastrous experiences I had while I was pregnant with J. All of which revolved around various medical personnel trying to bully us. The most traumatic (and frequently occurring) ones all happened to occur at UVRMC.

So when it came time to schedule my ultrasound this time, and the nurse at my Dr.'s office handed me a card, all I had to see were the words "Utah Valley" and I nearly had an anxiety attack. And probably would have, had I not already been prepared to ask to go to one of the SL facilities instead.

Turned out, the number was a regional number that would have let me schedule somewhere closer to home besides the hospital from you know where, as it came to be known. But by the time I found that out, the Dr's office had already scheduled the appt at Intermountain Medical Center (IMC), and faxed them the paperwork. And since it worked with our schedule, we went with it. I had thought about canceling and trying to set it up elsewhere, but it seemed such a hassle.

If I had only known!

I called to IMC's translation services to try and set up an interpreter for Steven. (That was the one area that went surprisingly smooth last time.) Their extension goes straight to voice mail, with a message recorded in multiple languages. I thought it was actually a great idea, then they'd know what language they needed to call you back in.

Only they NEVER called me back. A couple days and messages later, I finally called the ultrasound scheduling line to see if they'd have more success getting a response. They assured me that they'd take care of it. I had no reason to worry.

But I still figured I'd better play it safe and at least call and confirm with them that everything was set.

The very kind lady I spoke with (not everyone has terrible customer service skills) assured me that they had called and put in the request for an interpreter. But that Interpreters Services had called back and said they'd be sending someone to write things down for Steven. (Oh look-a "but" showing she knows there is a difference between what was asked for and what was received).

Last I checked, ASL is a bit tough to write. And I know I asked for an ASL INTERPRETER. Not a stenographer, not some guy with an excellent talent for passing notes in class. Not even an English Captioner. I asked for an ASL INTERPRETER. By definition that would be someone that takes something that was said in one language (usually, and in this case, English) and INTERPRETS or Translates it into American SIGN LANGUAGE.


It took more unanswered calls to IMC's Translation Services, an e-mail to the head of Language Services for all of IHC, a Call to IMC's Legal, aka "Risk Management" )who eventually did have Patient Services call me to get things resolved.)

They will be providing an interpreter for us. But I later got an e-mail stating that its not their policy to do so. They tried to cover it with all kinds of sugar saying how happy they were do to this and just want to make sure that Steven and I are both comfortable and have a good visit. But apparently, because there is no medical diagnosis involved, they see no need for an interpreter. All information can be relayed through a few brief notes.

Funny, I got more "diagnosis" than I wanted last time I had an ultrasound.

I get that there's a shortage of Interpreters, so they aren't always easy to get. And I get that there is a cost to them, and the economy has hit everyone hard. I also get that the law just requires "acceptable accommodations" be made. (at least when you're looking at this as a disability issue)

The problem comes in with who defines what is "acceptable accommodations."

The email I received stated that it was their belief that because all that occurred at an ultrasound (or x-ray, or....) was the patient filling out a form, the technician taking a few pictures, and then everything else just being sent to the dr in 24-48 hours, there is no need for interpreters.

I wish they could see how flawed that reasoning is.

I would love to see the people who define this note passing as "acceptable accommodations" to go through these same procedures. BUT to have the "simple medical" form written completely in Russian, have everyone address them only in Russian. Have the technicians speak to each other while staring at the patient, again, only speaking in Russian, Give the "patient" directions, only in Russian, and when they fail to understand, have the technician man-handle them into the positions they want. And then when its all over, have them write them a note, in Russian, telling them that the Dr. will know the results in 24-48 hours. OR even better, have something go WRONG and try to rush through emergency procedures, still only speaking Russian, but this time trying to convey the message that they're trying to get an interpreter, it will just take a couple hours to track one down and for them to have time to get to the hospital, but they can't wait that long to act on their discovery or whatever.

Sure, an emergency arises, a person is being rushed to the hospital via ambulance, it takes longer for an interpreter to get there, then notes are one thing, acceptable UNTIL an interpreter arrives (provided that's within a very reasonable amount of time). But with several WEEKS notice!?!?!?!? Totally unacceptable!

Sure, Steven's not the patient. But I AM. The whole 2-shall-become-1-thing goes to a whole new level. I'm deaf-by-association. Because he has the need of an interpreter, one of the many hats I wear is that of interpreter. So when I need to be the patient, I need someone else to take over that hat.

No technician is going to be very happy with me if I were to bring my laptop to a procedure and spend the entire time typing and staring at my screen instead of paying attention to what's going on and what's being said.

So why should I be expected to turn my attention to interpreting everything.

OH RIGHT! There's NO communication during these things! Silly me!!!!!! There's NOTHING to interpret!  yeesh!

Again, send them through the procedures when they can't communicate with anyone and let them see how much communication really does occur!

There's been a long-standing debate about whether deafness is really a disability or not. Or if its simply a different culture with its own language. The answer really is that its both.

In this case, the hospital is treating it as a disability and based on disability law, is determining that note writing is "acceptable accommodations" to satisfy that law.

Only I didn't ask for disability accommodations. I asked for a Foreign Language Service.
They would not deem written notes as an acceptable way of communicating with someone that only spoke Spanish, or only spoke Mandarin etc. So how is it acceptable for someone that only speaks ASL?

And how is it, that if they really, truly, honestly deemed note writing as an acceptable substitute, that not only were my calls never returned, but no one ever bothered to call and tell me about the substitution? That's just common courtesy "I'm sorry we can't give you want, but we will be happy to provide....." You don't just send give them the substitution without asking them first!!!!!

They didn't call because they knew I wouldn't deem it acceptable ,and were gambling on the fact that I wouldn't find out about the switch until we had arrived and it was already too late for them to schedule anyone else. And they knew that if they had told me weeks ago, I would have either insisted on an interpreter (as I did now) or I would have taken my business elsewhere. Which I REALLY wish I had time to do at this point. (And I can promise you, I will in the future.)

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