Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Been Sick

The shortish story...

Apparently, I let myself get sick. Then I refused to admit I was sick. After weeks of such nonsense, I agreed to go to see my primary care physician. She should be called something else because none of those descriptors fit - not primary, not care, not physician. I'd change her identification to Dr. "I don't care I just want you out of here" or "I hate my life M.D."

My chest x-ray was hazy so I was sent to the ER where the nurses repeatedly asked what interaction I had with the homeless population. About the third time I replied, "Have you been in your waiting room?" The nurse tells me that sometimes a security guard with a dog will come and shoo the indigent away.

When the triage nurse called my name, Jesse and I began lumbering toward her careful to avoid the drunk and detoxing. She greeted us with her outstretched arm holding a mask. Dr. Cancerscare's warning call that we were on our way carried the threat that I had TB. A cursory glance at the chest x-ray indicated that the apexes of my lungs were clear. So, NOT TB! But no one looked at my x-rays (apparently, not even my PCP). They just operated on the cancer/TB idea because it's more fun that way. Besides, who ever heard of the flu turning into pneumonia? That never happens. I got a mask because the hospital didn't want me to offend the homeless population in the waiting room with Rebecca germs. Apparently, that's a one-way homeless-to-Rebecca privilege. Jesse requested a mask for himself on principle.

Eventually, Doogie Houser partially slid my x-ray out of it's envelope took off his mask and said, "This isn't TB." He wrote a prescription for antibiotics and kicked us out. I was instructed to re-contact my PCP.

And so I made the attempt, but the doctor didn't want to see me. "I was there on Thursday. I have pneumonia."

"Still, you are a new patient. We can't accommodate new patients until April."

"But I have pneumonia now. The hospital told me to follow up with your office."

"And we can see you in April."

"But I was admitted to the ER under Dr.'s name."

"Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"I need follow-up for PNEUMONIA!"

I did go in for follow-up with one of Dr.'s colleagues who gave me a relationship appointment for March and a referral to an ear doctor, which never materialized.

My friend betts brought this for me when she heard I was sick. How sweet is that? That drink is the yummiest yum ever - candied ginger, lemon juice, and honey. It made me feel better, but didn't cure my pneumonia.

My step-father called in a personal favor with the head of pulmonary care at the University Medical Center. Ahhh... real health care. I think the good doctor is operating on the theory that I had the flu, then while in compromised health I contracted cocci, and that came with a complication of pneumonia and pleurisy. How unfortunate is that? Cocci and pleurisy without so much as a kiss. Unfortunately, insurance gave me trouble with the tests so the good doctor saw that I was admitted to the hospital.

I don't remember much about the hospital because I was sedated after a series of nurses attempted with a series of blown and elusive veins to put in an IV. Since I'm terrified of needles, I had a mini-breakdown in hour two of this process. I do remember receiving a wellness blessing with rancid ointment from my priest, protesting a TB test, more needles, having to pee after my CT scan, and begging to be released.

And after two hours haggling with the insurance company over what meds they will allow, we decided upon a cocktail of drugs that the insurance company is willing to gamble I won't have an allergic reaction to, though I have previously. I'm not taking the pain meds but I am on two antibiotics that have only caused a minor rash and nausea. That's where things stand until early March when I see the good doctor and the evil doctor for follow-up.

So, that's where I've been.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! That's quite a tale. I hope you recover quickly and cheaply. I had pneumonia just before I met you 10 yrs ago (gasp!). I also was a "new patient" who couldn't be seen for four months. A month later I went to the ER almost dead--waited next to the "minor GSWs" (gunshot wounds). I didn't have a doc in the family so had my congressman call. Heh. Sending a little prayer your way. I'll make it rhyme.

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