Friday, October 24, 2008

If This Were My Wife's Blog...

I keep trying to get my wife to start a blog. When I come home from work, I hear stories like this:
I went to see the new neurologist today. (The previous neurologists were merely residents at this teaching university. Not only did they not help her, she'd get a new one every six months and have to explain everything to him all over, at the end of which he would say, "You probably have MS. Let us know when you can't walk." This all changed when she called and insisted to see the head doctor. "Oh, you have good insurance!" said the receptionist's supervisor. "I can get you in with Dr. M. next Monday. He's a regular doctor, I promise.")

I get there (10:30), and they call my name after about five minutes. So I go in one of the exam rooms and wait. And I'm waiting. And waiting. After about 45 minutes, I start to wonder whether I should open the door to see what's up, and the doctor looks in and says, "Oh, I didn't know I had a patient booked!"

So he does some tests. Like he rubs alcohol on my leg and asks if I have any strange sensations. "No," I told him, "it just feels cold." "Then you don't have neuropathy," he says.

Then he did the knee reflex test. When he hit my knee, my leg kicked. I thought that was a good thing. But he said no, it indicates a nerve problem.

He listened to my symptoms and he said he thinks I have MS. He wanted to admit me to the hospital right then and give me IV steroid treatment. Of course I refused. He was very good about it and funny. He said he didn't blame me -- hospitals aren't a good place to be.

He gave me samples of a new med. It's supposed to be a substitute for Zoloft, plus it has pain killer. (The expiration date on the bottle is 10/2007.)

He wants me to get an MRI. And he sent me off for a blood test.

So I walk over to the blood lab and hand them the requisition. There's no one else waiting, but I sit down. After a few minutes, a technician comes up to me with the requisition and points to a code and asks, "Do you know what this is for?" "No, I don't." "I'll have to call the doctor then."

More time goes by. Then a different technician comes up to me with the requisition and points to a diagnosis code and asks, "Do you know what this is for?" "No, I don't." "I'll have to call the doctor then." "That's what the other technician said! How much longer will this take?" "About ten minutes. I could take some blood now, but then you'd have to come back for the remaining test." "I'd rather get it done all at once."

Even more time goes by. Yet a third technician comes up to me with the requisition and points to a diagnosis code and asks, "Do you know what this is for?" "No, I don't." "I'll have to call the doctor then." "Two other people told me the same thing. Let me try to call him. I really don't want to have to come back."

But there's no signal on my cell phone. The technician invites me to use her phone. "Wait, let me dial it for you." Eventually, I get someone to fax the information over. Apparently it's a special test that's done at the Mayo clinic. "Haven't you ever seen the code before?" "No we haven't." "Well, now that you have the information, you should file it so you don't have to track down the doctor when you need to do it again." "That's a good idea. We do have a file for this sort of thing." This is a teaching hospital, supposedly doing lots of research.

Finally, someone draws the blood. I get out of there at 1:30.

I get home and I get a call from "Tim" from the blood draw lab. He let's out a big sigh. "I don't like the sound of that sigh. What's wrong?" "We forgot to label two of your vials. You'll have to come back to have them redrawn."
This is a typical story, believe it or not. As stress is a trigger for MS, folks like my wife are supposed to lead stress-free lives. That would seem to be impossible as long as we're stuck with this university.


Slywy said...

Wow. I have a great doctor now. I can't imagine anything like this.

I did go to a pharmacy where the PHARMACIST (not a technician) snatched the prescription from my hand, glanced at it, and said belligerently, "What is THIS for?" Uh, shouldn't he know? (In this case, I did know, but I've never had to tell the pharmacy technicians, let alone the pharmacist.)

Anonymous said...

Belligerence is not a trait I admire in a pharmacist. Good luck next time, and thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to your wife. I work with many people who have health conditions (myself included) and dealing with doctors seems almost as traumatic as the illness itself.
Sorry to hear that she is going through such a tough time.
Sending her lots of warm vibes:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your caring response, lynne.

Anonymous said...

Square Peg, I just discovered your blog and glad I did! Love your humor and wisdom mix.

(Learned of your blog through Lynne's-Musings for the Soul)

I was cracking up as I read your story of your wife's experiences at the teaching university and the lab because it is truly what those of us with chronic illness experience. It is enough to drive one insane unless we keep on finding the humor in it. Obviously you and your wife are good at that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Kerry.

We get a lot of practice laughing at the foibles of the medical profession. It was better when my wife was working -- she did medical assisting. If you think being treated by a doctor is bizarre, imagine working with one!