Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Day in the Life Stuff: Episode XLIV: A Not So New Hope

When we last left our intrepid medical explorer,  he was anticipating a call from Truckstop Radiation Inc.  to set up an appointment for an ultra sound on his Kidneys because his spinal MRI showed that he had Remal Cysts, or as they said oIMG_1116n the official MRI Approved Form, Acquired Renal Cysts.  I don’t really know what if any differences there are in acquired cysts and ones that  aren’t, and I don’t really care.  But the appointment isn’t until the 25th of August or thereabouts.  I had to decide whether to work a partial day that day, or not at all.  But when the lady on the phone told me that I had to drink a quart of water within an hour of the test, then that pretty much settled that quandary especially since once I began drinking, pissing was not permitted.  Whatever that test reveals, I’m sure that under the usual BSOP (bullshit standard operating procedure), it’ll be several days before I get the results. 

As coincidence would have it, my generic PCP called the same afternoon with the news that I had been approved for a new neurologist, thus relegating Dr. A. C. Neurologist into the annals of my medical history for all time, hopefully never to emerge from that cocoon again.   The new neurologist, who unlike Dr. A.C.,  is supposed to be  the real genuine article  neurosurgeon or so I surmised from my conversation with the PCP.  And they wanted to waste no time  setting me up for an 8:45 AM appointment on Friday morning.  This was on  Wednesday, and it was extremely short notice, but you do what you have to do.  Unfortunately my supervisor was off work on Thursday so the best that I could do is leave her a note.   But I did turn in the request to take the day off for next weeks Kidney Family Portrait. Sometimes, standard operating procedures at work fall under the BSOP banner as well.

For the sake of discretion and decorum, which admittedly I am totally lacking in, we’ll call the new brain examiner Dr. Magic.  From where I live, Dr. Magic’s place of business was about as far as you can go and still be considered to be in Bakersfield.  Or at least it seemed that way to me.  But still, after making the trip, it was far  preferable than dealing with the downtown traffic and the traffic from the hospital near Dr. A.C.’s office.  You hop on the freeway, take one exit, make a couple of turns and you’re there.   Well, you do have to spend some time fighting your way through highway  traffic.  But it’s no big deal.

IMG_1117The worst thing about seeing a new physician is filling out the same old same old introductory paperwork.  I wish someone would invent a system where you only had to do itt once and only once then just pass it on from place to place.  Instead, every time I get slapped with an approval for a new specialist, I also get the thrill of writing down the same bullshit information I’ve already written a thousand times already this year: 

Next of kin, spouses name rank and serial number, insurance number, insurance group, insurance provider, children, children’s diseases, children ages,  your diseases, spouses diseases, parents diseases, living or dead, diabetes or not,  what did they die of, brother’s ages, sister’s ages, brother’s diseases, sister’s diseases, living or dead, any injuries, any past injuries, asthma, smoker or not, alcoholic or not,  medications you take, medications your siblings take, medications you took when you were five, are your parents  alive or dead, are they in good health or poor health, what medications are you on, have you had or do you have any of these one thousand possible medical problems or diseases listed on the next ten pages, do you fart out of your ass hole or your belly button? 

You get the idea as I’m sure you’ve been there and done that.  At least at Dr. Magic’s office, I actually felt they paid attention to me, unlike when I dealt with Dr. A.C.  They  knew why I was there and quickly sent for my previous MRI’s along with the results of the tests performed by A.C.

And not once did Dr. Magic make me feel like I was any less than a person.  He greeted me warmly, a major plus over Dr. AC who doesn’t greet you at all.  She starts right out laying her expertise shit on you and belittling you from the get go.  He didn’t act surprised when I told him I had given A.C. the sack from my medical case so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d seen this scenario previously.  Before going to Dr. Magic’s office, I had checked his rating against that of A.C.’s on one of those rate a physician web sites.  He had an almost sparkling  rating of 3.5 compared to A.C.’s lowly, lousy, and miserable 1.5.  His lowest rated category was office wait time, but that may not be a bad thing if they are being more thorough with their patients.  But it is ironic when you consider how much time I spent sitting in the waiting room, though I blame Blue Shield for that crap.

After an examination, Dr. Magic decided he wanted me to have some lab tests done so he wrote out a prescription:  CBC, Sed Rate, ANA, Rheumatoid Factor.  I had to Google each of those to find out what they were for but I’m not going into a long winded explanation here.  I’m long winded enough as it is and if you’re really curious, I guess you’ll do the work on your own.  Y’all come back when you’re done with that now, y’hear!

NincimpoopOkay, welcome back.  Dr. Magic also wanted to do some tests on my arms and hands that Dr. A.C. should ,have done if she had been doing her job and asked for approval to do them in the first place.  It was something she should have known if she had paid attention to what was on my initial referral papers.  But because of my HMO Group insurance, everything has to be approved, and since Dr. Magic wanted the tests done that day it meant sitting around waiting for Blue Shield to give it’s stamp of approval, something they no doubt would have to consider at an emergency board meeting called by the Chairman.  Too bad the half assed governmeIMG_1115nt of the USA didn’t see fit to give us a public option when they were doing their revamp.

I thought it might take a couple of hours at the most.  I was wrong.  I had arrived there at 8:45 a.m. in the morning and by the time I left, it was exactly 3:50 p.m.  Doing some quick math, that works out to just slightly over seven hours.  But it wasn’t so terrible.  They did have a TV set and at least it wasn’t blasting Fox News.  If it had been, there is no way I could have stayed there that long. 

Why is it so many fucking places that do have a TV set in the lobby  to watch while you wait, find it necessary to kill the brain cells of all Americans with the air-headed propaganda bullshit being sent out over the airwaves by Rupert Murdoch’s personal diarrhea of a network?  But here,  they had on CNN for a short while then switched  to some entertainment shows, some soaps, and the other harmless junk that permeates the weekday television hours. 

At other times during this period I dozed off, brought on because I had a major dizzy spell and that’s what usually happens afterwards.  After not having any spells  for a week, leave it to me to have  one right there in the waiting room.  I thought maybe I should let the doctor know, but I didn’t.

Buffy on the Iphone via NetflixA couple of times I became  annoyed because three times I was asked by totally unaware employees who came out to ask  why I was there.  A quick stop with the receptionist and they could have had that information.  Maybe they didn’t like her or something, hell if I know.  But  I guess they thought I was some weird stalker/rapist or perhaps I was hiding a revolver in my underwear. 

So much for everybody in the office  being on the same page.  Yeah, I supposed I could have fixed it with the Doc to come back at a later date, but he gave me the impression he wanted the tests done ASAP, and besides, an extra  80 mile round trip (40 there and 40 back) in my car with the busted air conditioner, in almost 100  degree heat and with the cost of gas approaching $4 bucks an hour is not on my list fun ways to spend a day.

I did watch an episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (WGTSE), on my Iphone  as well as an episode of Andy Griffith, thanks to Netflix and a the fact that I could actually get a decent AT&T connection, something that is rare in places like this.  There is no signal to speak of at the office of my PCP, nor was there one at Dr. A.C.’s location.  If I had known I’d be there almost 8 hours and would have a decent signal, then I would have taken the adapter cord and watched  movies and Buffy (WGTSE) all day long.  The next time I’ll plan ahead and take the headphones so I don’t pester anybody.

But finally somewhere around 2:30 or 3:00, Blue Shield had wrapped up their board meeting and given their approval for the tests, although the chairman is probably still out there  somewhere crying about paying for it.  The tests were the same ones that Dr. A.C. had done on my legs and back the week or so before, only this time it was on my arms and hands.  And let me tell you, shooting the juice through your legs is one thing. Pulsasting it through your arms is a horse of a different color.  It was painful, but at least this time I could see what was going on and found it curiously interesting.  I guess I’m weird that way.

There were times he would shoot electricity through my skin  there and get no reaction.  Blockbuster StoresThen the guy giving the test would punch some keys on the keyboard, make a few notes and carry on.  He also asked me a few things that made me think he was either the smartest man in the world or that the test was actually telling him something.  Things like, “The problem is more in your left arm than your right.”  Since my left arm and hand have become practically useless that would be an affirmative.  “Do you sleep with your arm in a certain position?”  That would be true as well.  “Do you crack your neck?”  That was true also, although I have to say that with one caveat I forgot to mention.  It is something I had only  begun doing very recently, no more than a week or so ago,  to try and relieve the pain.  And it is not something I did often because basically, it doesn’t work. 

He  also did the test where they stick a needle through your arm and wrists to see how well your nerves are carrying signals across your appendages.  The thing about this was that I didn’t even feel the needles going in.  I have no clue if that’s normal or not,  but I certainly felt the ones Dr. A.C. had stuck in my legs.  Maybe this guy was just a better needle sticker.  Either that or he studied acupuncture on the side.

When the tests were finished though I was sent on my way to find out out about the restults some other time.  Perhaps when they get my lab work back I’ll here something.   Next up, the Renal MRI.Blockbuster Deal  Sure looking forward to drinking that water and not pissing.

The day wasn’t a total waste though.  There was actually a Blockbuster open across the street, which is a rarity these days.  They were selling blu-rays 5 for $20 which is a pretty good deal.  I also bought the three Twilight Movies for The Girlfriend on blu-ray because they were on sale.  Of course, a couple of days later I regretted these purchases when I saw the old bank account was close to being overdrawn.  Later that evening I joined The Girlfriend at her aunt’s house, and we went to have dinner together at The Sugar Mill.  She had a cheeseburger smothered in chili, and I had my usual Tilapia.

My original plan was to go to a second run theater near the doctor’s office, but after spending the entire day there, that kind of ruled that paln  out.  So maybe we can do that next time.  It’s probably just as well that I didn’t go  since the bank account is so low and there’s still about twelve days until pay day. Should have known that before I spent the $56 dollars at Blockbuster.   It’s going to be a long month, but August usually is. 



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