Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Asking too much (The missing blog post!)

I figured it out. My medical problems are a result of asking too much from the professionals. All through last night, and into today, I am in great pain, and it's all because I'm a greedy bastard.

When I arrived in Kansas, I established medical care immediately. I recognized this as one of my needs and jumped on it. The clinic, which is technically within walking distance to where I live, was pretty good. I mean, they did a hemoglobin A1c on the spot, which I deemed fairly impressive. But then I went and asked for referrals to a number of specialists, and this is where things fell apart. I needed a retinal specialist, a podiatrist, and someone to address the mystery pains in mt knees.

The retinal specialist wasn't a problem. I've blogged about that. (Good times, good times.) And who WOULDN'T blog about vomiting up Mountain Dew, which looks like nuclear waste by the time it's coming back up. "That's right, neighbors. I was drinking liquefied uranium."

I also blogged about being sent to an arrogant S.O.B. for my knee, and the ensuing confusion as to what's wrong with what knee.

The podiatrist...? Nothing. The next referral I receive from the clinic is for pain management. The clinic was a bit nervous about prescribing time released morphine over 30 mg. That's fine. And while they were on the case, I asked about that podiatrist and orthopedic specialist again.

More blogging. The pain specialist preformed an EMG, which revealed I may very well need elbow surgery. They refer me to an orthopedic specialist, so I can stop asking at the clinic.

Still, I end up back and the clinic, and ask for a podiatrist for a THIRD time. And it's not like I really NEED one. It's just...Well, doctors have this silly idea that it's dangerous for diabetics to cut their own toenails. It almost seems reasonable, as some diabetics who've done so have nicked the skin, ended up with infections, and actually lost entire feet because of a need for amputation.

I know what you're thinking! "Oh, come on, Rob! It's just your feet. You don't need to trim your toenails. Just bite them, like your housemate Cody!" Y'know, I would, except that I'm not that flexible, and it just seems kinda gross. Besides, what if I try to chew my toenails when I'm REALLY hungry? I could accidentally gnaw off my leg right up to the knee! No, it was safer to get in to see a podiatrist, which I had asked for three times.

Then there was my ER visit, in which I got an instant referral for wound care. Awful nice of those ER people to, you know..., CARE! Especially with my foot so swollen you couldn't make out where my ankle bones were supposed to be. And just how did I end up with these ulcers? It might - JUST MIGHT - have something to do with the fact that I didn't have a podiatrist.

The person I hold most responsible is the nurse that's actually supposed to be handling these referrals. Her name is Lisa, which is unfortunate. There's another nurse I've dealt with by the same name, and that one's a sweetheart. But the first Lisa...? Dumb as a stick.

Becky wants to be a nurse. She wants to be a nurse because she cares about people. This was a dream of hers before she met me, and sees her chosen career path as a bonus to our relationship, should there ever be a time when I could use some help with my various medical issues.

Lisa, however, seems to have become a nurse because she wanted a profession that ruined her day. Honestly, that's what it feels like when dealing with her. Her attitude is very much, "Oh, for G-d's sake, what do you want? I was playing games on my PS3, and was having fun, and then you, a SICK person, who may actually have need of the education I've received, comes along and screws everything up. Couldn't you just...you know...stay home and die or something?" Her general demeanor causes me to imagine that if she has any babies at home, she becomes put out that the damned infants can't change their own damned diapers. "I don't care that it could cause a life-threatening rash. My soaps are on!"

During a visit to the clinic several weeks ago, when I was trying to investigate the mysterious red spot on my toe, Lisa wasn't there. We were both in luck. Me, because I was able to get the referral to a podiatrist that I've been asking for since I moved here. Her, because I would have "ripped her a new one" had we been face-to-face. As it is, the last few days have made me even MORE thankful that she hasn't been around on my last few visits.

You see, I got a little thing scheduled for May 9. Some goofy guy with a whole lot of papers saying he's all "edumacated" wants to cut my left elbow open and fix something. (Glorified mechanic!) In order to have this done, I need several tests done. Someone, somewhere, had the idea that it might be good to see if I have certain autonomic functions up and running, like my blood's ability to clot. I was given a list of tests, all with a little box next to it...except one, which had the following symbol next to it: ~X~. I wasn't sure what that symbol meant, but I assumed the professionals would know. And if they DIDN'T know, they would find out.

Not Lisa. No, that would involve actually doing her job, and we wouldn't want that. Instead, she ives me these instructions: "Just go tot he hospital and tell them what you need, and they'll be able to handle it." As it happens, I was at the hospital on Tuesday for wound care, so I went and tried to get the test done.

What followed was an education on just how freakin' stupid Lisa is. Like the fact that the goofy symbol next to the test meant that it wasn't needed. She called no one to ask. She saw it on the list and assumed it was needed. ("And when you 'assume,' you make an ass out of u and me." (Ass/u/me. Get it? (Bah! You kids never get the old jokes!))) Oh, one other little detail she failed to mention: I CAN'T GET THE TEST DONE WITHOUT AN ACTUAL ORDER FROM A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL! I thought maybe Kansas ran differently, as I'd had referrals from specialist to specialist; in AZ, I had to go back to my PCP for every referral. Had this been a separate trip, in which I had Ray drop me off at the hospital to get things done, I would have been calling him to pick me up before he'd even gotten home. In other words, it was a waste of time, and Lisa is only semi-lucky it was sorted out rapidly. As it is, I'm pretty annoyed with the fact that 20 minutes of my life is now gone because she's too stupid to do her job properly.

"Oh, come on, Rob. It can't be that bad. It was just a small mistake." Okay, I'll give you that one. The fact that the test was on the list at all could be misleading. But in the same call in which she told me to head for the hospital, she said that the clinic could do ALL of the other tests. And technically they could have, if not for the fact that one of the testing machines was broken. (State funded clinics don't always have the best.) Rather than have me stuck multiple times, orders were written for me to have the blood drawn at the hospital. This wouldn't bother me...except that the machine has been broken for some time, AND the clinic does NOT, in fact, do chest x-rays! Her exact words were, "We can do everything else." The fact is that they could do ONE thing, and that was get an EKG. That's it.

And today...? I was going to go for those tests, but I was awake most of the night. I only slept about three or four hours. Why? Because my right knee, which should have been looked at by another professional shortly after complaining about the arrogant jerk I saw first. I saw that guy on 4 March. It's almost three months later. And the only reason I have an orthopedic specialist at all is because someone ELSE was doing their job.

Oh, but this isn't fair to blame Lisa. Surely my demand for proper medical care is unreasonable. Pain is a part of my life now, and it's pretty obnoxious of me to ask that my pains be reduced. (The true sin of greed would be to ask to live 100% pain-free! Could you imagine?) I should take it like a man. Suck it up. Walk it off.

Oh, that's right...I can't walk properly!

Seriously, Lisa should be thankful she and I have not crossed paths in my last two clinic visits, and should pray we don't see one another ever again. Because I'm ticked. I don't like getting angry, but when I do, I can be scary. (Just ask Becky about the "McDonald's chicken nugget incident.") (Then again, maybe I'll tell that tale on my own at a later date.)

Meanwhile, I'm off to lie down, maybe get more sleep. Rage and pain made for poor rest, and I could use some.

My thanks to a certain Valiant Turtle for rescuing this post for me. =)

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