1. Regular tests (done at the lab, back within a few hours).
2. Local send-outs (done in the city, but we "send-out" the sample to another hospital. Can take a few days).
3. Major League send-outs (only a few places in the country, or even the world, may do these. Several weeks to get back).
So yesterday afternoon, around 4:00, I was trying to track down some results in category #3. The hospital lab kept switching me from person to person, and each time I had to tell them my story, the patient's name, etc.
Finally I reached a supervisor, who said: "Oh, those are rare labs. We had to send them quite a ways. I'm going to have to connect you to Israel."
I was quite surprised, but patiently held the line. After about 10 seconds it began ringing, and a male voice answered.
Male voice: "Lab, can I help you?"
Dr. Grumpy: "Um, I'm looking for some send-out results from about a month ago on Mr. John Smith..... Hey, what time is it there anyway?"
Male voice (surprised): "Uh, about 4 in the afternoon."
Dr. Grumpy: "Oh..... I thought I was being connected to Israel."
Male voice: "I'm Israel Nunez. I work in send-outs. What's the patient's birthday?"
At least he got me my lab results.