Thursday, April 20, 2006

Checking In.... let everyone know I'm still here.

It's been a weird month or so for me. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were here for ten days, and the house was pretty crowded. We're now looking into buying a home. Personally, for me, it's got to have a master bathroom. I'm sick of schlepping up and down the stairs five or six times a night.

I used a scooter for the first time while my in-laws were here, at Jonathan's insistance. We went to the Oregon Zoo, and usually when we do the Zoo, I am exhausted by the end and sick for a week. Well, I took the scooter...and it was surprisingly easy and effective. I am now seriously considering buying one for occassional use.

A few days ago, I met a friend from the message boards. We met at Powell's, and I had a great time. She has the lightest blue eyes...very striking. And her son was just adorable.

I'm getting a little worried about the upcoming summer, because I am already having trouble with the heat and it's only April. It may be time to invest in cooling paraphenalia. I don't want to be stuck in the house all summer long this year. I'm tired of living that way.

On the plus side, I've been able to stay out of the ER for some time now. On the negative side, the last time I went was probably the most frustrating visit ever.

I had terrible pain in my side and other symptoms that pointed to either a bad UTI or a kidney stone. I called the doctor on call, who told me to go in. Now unfortunately, this coincided with a bad bout of the facial pain. I was handling the neuralgia, but dealing with both pains was more than I could tolerate. I kept trying to explain this to the nurse and then the doctor, but they couldn't understand me. They thought I was there for pain meds again. I kept trying to explain that yes, my face hurt, but I was more concerned with the kidney issue. It finally got
(sort of) straightened out, and I got some antibiotics: my reason for going in the first place. Then the doctor gives me this long, drawn-out lecture about not coming into the ER for pain meds. Excuse me? I hadn't gotten any, didn't want any. I tried to explain this, but once again, the facial pain made it difficult to talk and nearly impossible for the doctor to understand me. I tried to ask for paper and pen, but was pretty much ignored or misunderstood. I gave up trying to explain myself and resigned myself to listening to the lecture.

And then came the kicker...remember that last time I was in the ER, when the doctor on call supposedly told the ER to refuse treatment? This doctor told me that apparently this was a PERMANENT order. They weren't to treat me for pain again, ever. Period. I showed her my pain management contract, which does give me clearance to come to the ER so long as I call the doctor on call first. The ER doc told me that it didn't matter. "My" doctor
(meaning the on-call doc) had ordered the ER to withhold pain treatment from me. I told the doctor that there had been a mix-up, that my regular doctor was aware of the problem and that the contract was the final word, not this on-call doctor's (or the PA, whichever the case may be). She flat-out did not believe me. TOLD me she didn't believe me. She then accused me of lying to her about the last time I'd been into the ER! At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I remembered her asking me, earlier on, about the last time I'd had my pain treated there. I had told her it was back in January. Now this ER doctor was livid with me because she'd looked up the record and seen that visit to the ER when I had NOT been treated a few weeks ago. I tried to explain myself, that I thought she wanted to know when the last time I had been treated here was and that during the visit in question I had not been examined nor treated. The ER doctor continued to insist I had lied for some ulterior purpose, although what that is, I have no idea. I didn't want to argue, really couldn't argue with my face the way it was. I just sat, dumbfounded, and listened to her rant at me.

Again and again, she kept telling me that she "wasn't comfortable" giving me pain meds. I would try to tell her I didn't WANT any, but she would tell me to not interrupt her. She droned on and on about how "important" it was for me not to "use the ER to treat chronic pain." I'll admit, my patience was running thin at that point, as there seemed to be no end to her lecture. I finally said to her, "My doctor has given me a contract. I call in, and they tell me to come to the ER. What am I supposed to do, NOT follow my doctor's orders?" The doctor didn't understand me, and it took a few times before she finally got the jist of what I was saying. And her response? Basically, that I have to "learn to live with it" and that I have a bad doctor! "I'd look into finding another doctor, if I were you." WTH?

She was finally done with her nearly ceaseless ranting and left the room. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or sigh. I sighed.

I'm still not sure WHAT is going on. I don't know if there is a permanent order, or if this particular ER is just sick of the sight of me, or what have you. But I do know this: I no longer feel comfortable getting care there. ESPECIALLY if there is this misconception that I am NEVER to be treated! And who, exactly, made THAT order, anyway? I still don't know who lied to me: the on-call doctor, or the PA. I'm starting to think the PA is the source of the trouble, and the hospital wants me gone.

You know, you hear about the shithole our nation's health system has become, but you don't really KNOW until you end up smashed in the cogwheels of the demon machine

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At 9:36 AM, Blogger mdmhvonpa said...

As far as the scooter goes, there are federal programs which help you get these for relatively little money.

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sounds like it's time to threaten lawsuit.


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Angel said...

I definitely think it's time to get a lawyer. They are sick, sadistic bastards.

Just a thought--my son has one of those little "travel magnadoodles", could you have one with you so you can communicate with them, if your TN is flaring up?

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad ((((Gentle hugs))))

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Pixie LaRouge said...

Oh hell, ZenAngel! I was really hoping the shit from that last visit was over. What the hell are ERs for, if not to seek medical treatment *fast* when other providers are closed! I agree with Swatty and Angel: time to find a lawyer. I wish it didn't have to be you fighting this battle; you've got enough battles to fight. But maybe it's you going through this because you ARE strong enough to fight. Imagine when this happens to someone uncertain and mousy!

Hope you're feeling better. Glad the scooter helped with the Zoo trip! Anything that lets you have a little more fun is a good thing, in my book :)


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