Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Day in the Life: Health and Medical Stuff-Angela Has Left the Building, Goodbye to Dr. A.C., And now an ultra-sound.

When I started to revamp the blog, I had decided to write more articles of a personal nature. I wanted this blog to not only be the things I loved writing about, (or as in the case of “Old Blog Crap” stuff so old they still have the smell of Rome burning), but to make it personal with the mundane boring crap that I deal with on a day to day basis. Hey, if I have to put up with crappy life, why shouldn’t you?

But in between reposting old crappy articles like this one, moving crap over from other blogs like this article, and keeping up with writing new stuff like this and this, I haven’t had much time for the boring life stuff. So if you need to catch up on what this entry here will be about, read this short piece that started it all.

At the radiology place, the only MRI’s they took was of my lower spine, which I thought kind of strange since I was sent to Dr. A.C. Neurologist for much more than that. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the one they did on my brain. At least this time I was able to wear noise canceling ear muffs, and in fact almost dozed off a few times.

When it was finished, I once again had the numbness in my hands and fingers, which is why my typing skills have deteriorated about 300 per cent over the past couple of years. Typing, which used to be second nature to me, had become something I struggled with constantly at work, and there was damn little left over for anything else like writing articles or stories. But now I am on some mediation that helps, as you are about to discover.

But all of this goes back to what Dr. Angela AND the radiologist saw was my problem after the initial brain scan: Symptoms that appear and then seem to somewhat disappear over the years, then seem to get better for a while but eventually return. And what the radiologist saw on the brain scan pretty much confirmed it. I had the onset of Multiple Sclerosis. No telling how long I have had it and no way of knowing for sure how bad it was going to get. That’s par for the course for MS though. Some people never have symptoms. For others the symptoms are often mild, while in still others the disease can be crippling. But still, as far as I’m concerned, whether I even have it remains an uncertainty at this stage.

But everything I read fit me to a T whereas no other diagnosis has. So my primary care provider, courtesy of Dr. Angela (but no long, she has it seems, moved on to another gig, more about that momentarily) had set me up the appointment with Dr. A.C. Neurologist very quickly. Even my insurance company, who doles out my HMO care as if every test was an affront to their bottom line, quickly approved the appointment even labeling it stat/as soon as possible.

AC NeurologistBut Dr. A.C. Neurologist dismissed the diagnosis of M.S. out of hand from the very beginning, even without an examination. As soon as she walked into the examining room and sat her old scrawny and wrinkly ass down A.C. gave off this aura that anybody who dared to even hint at a diagnosis before she made her examination was just a blathering foolish idiot not worthy of her skills or her time. So 99 per cent of the initial session was taken up by questions and answers, and if you didn’t give her the precise and exact answer she wanted, Dr. A.C. quickly became ill mannered, insensitive, and treated you as if you were the dumbest fuck ever to walk the planet. In other words, she was an asshole.

She signed me up for the aforementioned spinal MRI, with insurance approval of course, and then she scheduled some more tests of her own, which she would do as soon as the insurance company agreed to pay her. She prescribed motion sickness pills for the dizzy spells, even though I hadn’t done any traveling for a over a year.

And yes, the pills pretty much turned out to be useless. Between the Meclizine, the Neurontin, and the vicatin, I couldn’t stay awake long enough to know if I was having a vertigo episode. So I suppose if you look at it that way they worked. And I can type like a boy wizard now, so at least that’s a plus. For me though, not for you suffering through this lame ass article.

So about four days after the MRI I returned to Dr. A.C. Neurologist. Once there, she and an assistant proceeded to shoot my legs and thighs full of electricity. At one point she tells me I have some neuropathy in my left leg.

Doctor's Orders“No shit, Sherlock!” I wanted to say. “You have to pretend I’m your Frankenstein monster to find out what I and several other doctors already know?”

So I asked her, “Does this have anything to do with the numbness in my hands and arms?”

“I don’t know anything about that,” she replied testily. “They didn’t send you here for that. They only sent you here for your lower spine and your legs.” And although you had to be there, the nasty tone in her voice was unmistakable. I had heard it often enough on my first visit.

And that’s all it took to piss me off for the rest of the exam. Every time you asked this woman a question, she acted like either the daily loser on Jeopardy or that you had sent her poodle dog to Korea to become a dog meat sandwich.

It got worse. Moments later she asked one of her aides for the results of the MRI that I had gone for the week before. They didn’t have them. So they had to call Truck Stop Radiology who sent them a preliminary report.

“We have the radiology report,” she told me later while shooting more electrical juice up my spine. I was beginning to feel like Michael Clark Duncan in The Green Mile. “It shows you have some renal cysts. You should tell your primary care physician about that for follow up.” Just like my head, my arms, my fingers and my hands, I guess my damn kidney’s were not her concern either.

Okay, maybe I’m wrong. But one would think it would be automatic that they would send a report like that to my primary care physician. After all, I wouldn’t even be in Dr. Neurologist’s office without their initial referral. But that’s all she said. She didn’t say if it might be a bad thing or whether it could be something serious, a minor inconvenience, or nothing at all.

Later, she told me she had found a pinched nerve in my back.

“Did I give you any medication the last time you were here?” She asked.

I felt like asking her why she didn’t look at her own files to find that out. I told her that she had given me the medicine for the lightheadedness and dizziness. No reaction from The Wicked Witch of the West.

“Are you taking any other medication,” she asked.

Again, something she should have known without me telling her if she would bother to look at her own paperwork, as if she really gave a shit. As everybody knows, on your very first visit to any doctor, that is one of the most important things you can tell them. But again I repeated it back to her the information.

“What’s the dosage of the Neurontin?” she asked.

Three hundred milligrams three times a day,” I told her. “But I just started taking it a few days ago. I had some 100 milligrams three times a day that I wanted to finish before starting these,” The pills had been given to me by a pain specialist.

“Well, that’s not strong enough,” she said nastily. “You should be taking three times that amount.”

But that’s all she said, other than the fact that I should take the medication and come back in two months. Right away I wondered that if she thought the dosage was too small, why didn’t she offer to get me a stronger dose. And second, the amount of the neurontin I did have would run out in less than a month if I took the stuff the way it was prescribed. So why didn’t she ask about that? I simply made the appointment for October and left. And when I left I made up my mind I wasn’t going to take anymore of their medication until they could give me a convincing diagnosis. And since Angela was gone from my PCP (primary care provider from here on out, I was in no hurry to make an appointment with them either.

But as luck would have it, my PCP called me and said they wanted to make an appointment for me to come in and discuss my newest MRI. Or at least the secretaries did. Frankly, I think this is a racket. They call me in. They get my $15 co-pay plus whatever else the insurance company throws in each time I walk through the door. I don’t even want to know how much that has added up to this year. So I went ahead and made the appointment against my better judgment.

The last time they pulled this stunt was when I found out that my favorite medical person Dr. Angela was no longer there. I was supposed to call after my first visit to the neurologist and make an appointment, which I did only to be informed of Dr. Angela’s decision to suddenly take flight. Her replacement was someone called….well we’ll call her Dr. Britt even though like Angela she is no Doctor and worse, unlike Angela she isn’t even listed as a Physician’s Assistant. She is listed simply as “Aide. I mean, is that like an intern, an orderly or does she just wash out the bed pans?

PPC2 ProviderI don’t know. I do know on my first visit with her now in charge of my bodily functions, she wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the room. She hadn’t even bothered to read my files or any of my case history before I arrived, leaving me to fill in the blanks. Blanks hell, the whole damn page was empty.

I was hoping things would be different this time but they weren’t. After sitting in an empty examining room for over half an hour, she finally poked her head in the door.

“What can we do for you today,” she asked. Honest to God, the only thing I could do was lay completely back, and roll my eyes and shake my head negatively. I would have to bring her up to speed again, since obviously she had the memory retention of a four year old.

I reminded her that they had called me, that I didn’t call them. I reminded her of my complaints about Dr. A.C. Neurologist and that my latest visit wasn’t much better. I informed her that Dr. A.C. said that I should tell them I have Renal Cysts.

At one point, Dr. Britt asked me what Dr. A.C. had said about the cysts?

“She told me to tell you guys, you are my primary care provider are you not?”

She nodded affirmatively, but I can’t be sure she was even positive about that.

“She told me to tell you to get a copy of the MRI done on my spine.” I then went on and on and on about my litany of complaints, the same ones that I have just spent writing about for the past half hour, thus inflicting an enormous amount of boredom on any body who bothered to start reading and stay reading for this long. But have heart, we’re almost finished.

So Dr. Britt eventually left and sent out for the MRI. Finally the report came, and she told me they were going to send a request to the Insurance Company for an ultra sound on my kidneys, and for a new neurologist and that I would undoubtedly like the new Dr. Neurologist. But we’ll see.

The approval for the ultra-sound came in the mail today but I won’t make the appointment right away. I’m sure Truckstop Radiation will be calling Monday wanting to make it for me. I know they’ve lost a big contract recently, so this will be money in the bank for them. No word on the new neurologist. I can see the insurance company being hesitant about that. But if they are, I’m prepared to write them a little note and let them know that in my opinion, Dr. A.C. Neurologist should spend the rest of her medical days studying the brain scans of chimpanzees to prepare for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. She can say hello to Cornelius and Dr. Zira for me.

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