Sunday, November 16, 2003

Hi, I'm the camel. See this straw?

Funny my last post should be about inappropriately medicating patients. I have been sick for around a month and a half now. Let me start at the beginning to avoid any confusing backtracking or asides (well ok they won't be avoided since I am highly prone to doing them anyways, but at least the story will be chronological).
About a month and a half ago I was suffering from the usual fall/winter sinus problems, which as usual turned into a sinus infection. I get at least two a year, in the spring and in the fall. I went to the family doctor I have been using and was seen by his Physician's Assistant. I told her the problem and the history and what meds I was taking. She prescribed for me an expectorant. I told her that I was already taking an expectorant and that would not do me any good, I needed some Zithromax. She did not agree and dismissed me. I was back two days later: couldn't breathe, wheezing, head exploding... all of the usual sinus infection/bronchitis symptoms. She said to me "It's only been 48 hours, why are you back here?" She is a rather snotty bitch. I told her why and she ordered a chest x-ray and dismissed me. I said "Enough of this bullshit" and went to the clinic where I used to work and saw one of the doctors and she said, sure enough, you not only have a nasty sinus infection but bronchitis. She gave me the proper meds and I was well within a week. Now, I had already taken that round of antibiotics. I went to my yearly physical with my GYN and he discovered that, unbeknownst to me, I had a bacterial infection. So, another round of antibiotics. And if you've ever taken Flagyl, you know how bad they tear you up. Within about 5 days, I thought I was gonna die my stomach and chest hurt so bad. So, I went to the ER one night when I was having a particularly bad attack and they told me I was having a "panic attack". Now, I am not one to have panic attacks, but what do I know? I'm not a doctor. Not even a week later, I was back in the ER with another bad attack. The doctor I saw that night said I was suffering from gastric disturbances due to the antibiotics and that it was GERD (fancy words for real bad heartburn) and gave me some meds and said to follow up with my family doctor. Which I did, and he gave me some Nexium. Which did me absolutely no good. Another week passes and I am still having horrible stomach aches, chest pain, nausea, etc. Another bad attack sends me to the ER again. The nice doctor I saw that night actually bothered to do an exam and found that I was having gallbladder attacks. So, he gave me some appropriate medicine and discharged me with an appointment in the morning to have a gallbladder sonogram done. The next morning I have the sonogram done and they find that my gallbladder is full of "sludge" and "floaters" (which are stones forming) and it is inflamed and needs to come out. So, of course, it's back to my family doctor for a referral to a surgeon. Which I got that day and had the appointment with the surgeon the following day. I go to my appointment, give them my information and sit down to wait. I am finally called back to an exam room and the nurse says the doctor will be with you in a few minutes. Another nurse comes in a few minutes later and gives me some brochures regarding the surgery. Then the doctor finally comes in and sits down and says "So, you have gallstones" and I say "Well, not yet, but..." and he interrupts me and says "Yeah that can cause you some pain. Now, we can probably do it with the laproscope but we may have to do an open cholesystectomy. I'll have the nurse come in and get you set up" and he walked out. Now, I am sitting there going "What the hell? He never asked me my history, concerns, NOTHING!". So, in a few more minutes the nurse comes back in and says to call her in the morning and she will tell me when the surgery will be. I asked her how long she thought it would be and she said "Oh, with your insurance we have to call the hospital and THEY tell US when the surgery can be done. It will probably be about two weeks." And I said to her that was not going to work (and had anyone bothered to TALK with me they would have known this). So, I left very unhappy with the whole experience. I called my family doctor the next morning and explained to them what was going on: that I was miserable and could not function with the pain I was experiencing and I have 3 kids to take care of and I could not wait two more weeks and besides that I was not comfortable with the surgeon they referred me to. Now, keep in mind, I am having to deal with the snotty bitch PA this whole time. She starts trying to tell me a bunch of bullshit about that is how it is done and I would just have to accept that. I told her that where I come from it is not done that way, that the doctor finds out the situation and calls the hospital and tells THEM when the surgery would be. She said to me that maybe that was what I should do and I said to her oh I will. She then tells me "Well, when they won't help you don't come back to us and expect us to help you because we won't." I was quite speechless then. I think I said something along the lines of "Oh, believe me I won't" and hung up. I called my doctor/friend back home and he immediately set me up. The next morning the mail lady knocked on the door with a certified letter for me. Seems that I have been terminated as a patient for "inappropriate behavior to physician's office staff and inappropriate behavior to a referring physician's office". Now... I'm sorry... I've been misdiagnosed by these yayhoos for three weeks (well, actually longer counting the sinus thing, so that's twice in a row), I'm in such pain I can't function (never once having been offered the appropriate treatment) and I never ONCE cursed or raised my voice, merely tried to explain my concerns regarding the situation and I'M the one who has behaved inappropriately??? I don't even think so. They have not SEEN inappropriate. I am of the mind that this town is trying to kill me one way or the other and this... this is the straw. I mean... do I not have the right to a second opinion? Or to express my opinion period?? I guess it is all well and fine that they have been guilty of malpractice; but, I am supposed to just shut up and take it? No. I've done that for far too many years. I am not exactly sure what I can do about this situation legally, but you can rest assured that I will be filing complaints with the proper agencies AND writing a letter to the editor of the local paper among other things. Sometimes I think it is just me that has these problems, but I know that can't be true. It has to be happening to other people and I for one am not going to take it any more. Gawd, major flashback. "We're not gonna take it, we're not gonna take it, WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE" courtesy of the lovely Dee Snyder and Twisted Sister. Great anthem.

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