The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Am Not in a Happy Mood This Day

There are bad combinations in the world. Tuna fish and banana sandwiches, for instance. Or chicken casserole with chocolate bunnies on top. Or even pancakes with motor oil. And then there's this: it's the first week of the Spring quarter. I am taking microbiology which promises to provide assloads of work (big assloads--no Paris Hilton ass here, but real, meaty asses), I do not know if I will make it into the nursing program and no one knows when they will decide, my hair looks as if I was dragged through a hedge backwards, I am embarking on a plan to eat better and, as such, have removed all chocolate from my home, as well as everything more than 30% fat, and my doctor's office is trying--with moderate success--to drive me batshit. (Yes, they probably had a headstart, given that it's me. Still.)

It's all very involved and confusing and annoying, but I'll see if I can shorten it. I go in for physical (which is yet another part of the bad combo), they call to tell me that doctor wants more tests. I ask why; I'm told that my kidney function is abnormal. Based on what, I ask? The genius on the phone doesn't know (although she has the chart right in front of her) and, after several frustrating exchanges and a decision on my part to stop frequenting clinics that hire from the nearest dork factory, I finally asked her to just send me the damned results.

I get the results, and find that all the labs are completely normal. The only issue is a calculation that is an estimate, drawn from other figures, and one that isn't supposed to be used on people with more than average muscle mass (like those of us who exercise for an hour a day maybe, hmm?) because it gives a false positive. I do some research and discover that the accuracy of the calculation swings wildly for everyone and that an actual number of 60 can show up as an estimated number of anything from 35 (dialysis territory) to 140 (perfectly healthy). This seems like a good reason to me to perhaps do the test required to get the ACTUAL number instead of the bloodwork, ultrasound, and referral to two specialists that the doctor is insisting on. Call me crazy. I call the doctor's office, and I wait.

The second person to call me doesn't know much about my situation, but she is at least somewhat removed from the aforementioned dork factory, so I feel confident that she will help. I ask her my questions and she agrees to give them to the doctor, and to have her call me if there's any difficulty. I begin to calm down. Surely, this will all turn out well. I've done my research, and I'm being utterly reasonable.

But no, not so much well, and I'm to stop calling ANYONE shirley. Because dork factory reject number two calls today to announce cheerily that "doctor says (I love when they use "doctor" like it's the person's proper name) that we don't do that test first and to just have you come in for the stuff she already ordered." The end. And why don't we do that test first? Brain trust doesn't know. And, while it may sound as if I'm being nasty to the poor thing, I have to say that I've done her job. I've never EVER called a patient without anticipating their questions and making sure I knew the answers before I dialed. It would definitely occur to me that "we don't do it that way" might generate more questions than it did answers.

It gets better, though. I told today's genius that I needed--NEEDED--to talk directly to the doctor to resolve this. Which is when I found that the doc had been in the office all morning, doing paperwork and not seeing patients--and STILL didn't bother to call and explain it to me. And now she went home, which is probably miles and miles from the town of Batshit, unlike my current place of residence.

To recap: My doctor's office is using an unreliable test to attempt to convince me that I might be in Stage 3 kidney disease with absolutely no symptoms and is unwilling to do the one test that would confirm or disprove the number. And no one wants to discuss it with me. Oh yes. I'm cranky.

I'm reminded of the movie "Naked Gun", where one of the cops starts off saying that he "picked a bad day to give up smoking", then later "a bad day to give up drinking", and so on until eventually he's referring to giving up glue sniffing, cocaine, heroin, etc. Apparently, I picked a bad week to limit my chocolate intake. I wonder if it's safe to sniff it......

I figure I have a few options:
a) accept that I will forever be known as the clinic bitch and keep insisting on proper communication, in spite of my absolute certainty that I would have more luck convincing Ed to start doing the ironing while I sleep.
b)allow the assorted tests and referrals, knowing full well that none of these things will conclusively prove the presence or absence of a problem and will take up huge amounts of my time and cost a ton of money (yes, I have insurance...but this kind of thing is what drives up medical costs and it also hastens that trip to Batshit...a short drive for me at the moment. I don't even need to take a snack) while the one test I want them to perform will show conclusively whether or not my kidneys are functioning properly, thus obviating the need for any further studies or referrals. (The downside of this option, naturally, is that I may well bite right through my tongue while attempting to avoid helpful comments like "Do you people actually have a full brain lobe between you?" and "How do you SLEEP at night after ignoring your patients and contributing enthusiastically to the rising costs of healthcare, you complete and utter weasel?"
c) drive to Safeway for a bag of chocolate eggs and eat them in the yard as both a soporific and a tasty alternative to worms.

I know one thing: I hope the town of Batshit has a yarn store. It looks like I might be spending some significant time there.

Today's Quote (besides "our medical system sucks ass"): "I can handle anything that life throws at me. I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediency--but I WILL handle it." I'm not sure who said it...but it fits.

12 Comments:

  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger beckie said…

    Oh, poor poor Flo...Being someone who once worked in a medical office, I believe I would have had quite a workout with you. But good. Personally, I would keep persisting because the ones who call really don't know much, they are just relaying the messages.

    And I would go for some chocolate. Not too much, but goodness, it always soothes things over.

     
  • At 5:58 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    There are enough of us in Batshit, that I'm sure we can come up with one heck of a yarn store! :0)

     
  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Well, you just said it, and how many countless others have said just those words? Plenty, I'm betting.

    jeezelouise and I'm thinking the more creative term...well, that and assweasels.

    Hey, we'd all be glad to come up there and go.to.the.clinic....to see 'doctor' with you, we promise to bring our pointy sticks.

     
  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    It seems that office politics works for your doc as well.

    Tell your doc to either give you that perfectly reasonable test of f*** off. Someone is obviously late in paying for their boat and needs to squeeze a few extra pennies from the patients. Bah, I say!

    Here's hoping things smooth out and have you tried those O'coco's? I find that though they're no Dove chocolate, they are low in calories and do a pretty decent job killing the chocolate cravings. :)

    Also try the Hungry Girl website, I've found some awesome suggestions there: http://hungry-girl.com

     
  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    My thought? You need a new doctor.
    I know it can be a pain in the ***, but should cut down on future hassles. good luck!

     
  • At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Angeluna said…

    I'm with you, Dearie. I think you better go get that chocolate!! Dark chocolate is good for you. It probably improves kidney function, prevents heart attacks, and delays trips to Batshit. Good luck!

     
  • At 11:26 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Oh Florence I feel for you , I had a near impossible two weeks before anyone did the one test that sent the alarm bells ringing so loud they operated on Jeff. A blood test , one little old blood test . You keep insisting but I guess you would have noticed some symptoms right? I remember a cystitis test and the results coming back from the hospital saying go straight to your G.P .He looked at them and said "how ridiculous you can't possibly have that" .What "that" was I still don't know but suffice to say both I and my kidneys are here ten years later . Someone isn't getting that we worry when told obscure and slightly scary things , maybe mentioning that your blood pressure will be somewhat compromised might help or that if they don't do test you'll need treatment in an asylum ( I know I would) might move someone ?

     
  • At 5:44 AM, Blogger ccr in MA said…

    Well, I'm better at giving advice than taking it, but I would just keep repeating, in as reasonable a tone as you can manage, "I will take the tests after I have talked to the doctor."
    "I will take the tests after I have talked to the doctor."
    "I will take the tests after I have talked to the doctor."
    That way, you sound like you're giving them something, while you really aren't.
    Yes, you may get that reputation, but with idiots like these, can you let it bother you?

    Good luck!

     
  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Ugh. Maybe we should send my neighbor to your doctor?

    Personally, I'd recommend option #3...

     
  • At 9:23 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Ahhh... Lloyd Bridges in Airplane: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines." ::pops pills:: I prescribe #3 followed by #1, to be repeated as necessary until 'doctor'-- (I interrupt to say that I've always thought that was one of the most pretentious, silly-ass usages in the English language. Do we call even the President by his title without sticking 'Mr.' in front of it? Hell no. What are doctors, gods? Yeah, right.) ...as I was saying, until 'doctor' gets her head out of her nether orifice and does you the common courtesy of actually talking to you. Whereupon you can give her a good piece of your mind. Because obviously, she desperately needs it. Not that I'm, like, peeved about this on your behalf or anything. You know.

    Maybe starting on a Madame DeFarge coded scarf, too. Knitting her name into it followed by some phrase like: "is an incompetent dumbass who failed to qualify for the job of Batshit village idiot." If you stick with that clinic (!!), you could feel all warm and fuzzy while wearing it on visits.

     
  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Hey, I'm with Charity...Batshit Yarn Store!
    Hey Faren, I've been wondering where you've been hiding out, life been alright with you?

     
  • At 11:47 AM, Blogger Dana said…

    I roared when I read your blog, Florence. I can completely relate and you have my sincerest sympathies.

    In my case, I had a slightly elevated liver enzyme level. The next thing I know, I'm being counseled by my primary physician about alcoholism. (I drink at weddings and funerals and if there isn't one in ten years, I don't imbibe). After the alcoholism lecture and a round of exorbitant tests (to include an incredibly painful liver biospy), the endocrinologist says, "You're well within what I consider to be the normal range. Oh...you're hyperthyroid and a slightly elevated phosphatase is normal." If only I had remembered my baseball bat.... :)

    You hang in there and give 'em hell for all us!

     

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