Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm a terrible patient with no patience

Thank God I don't have anything seriously wrong with me, because as you can imagine, I make a terrible patient.

Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment at Nevada Eye and Ear, per instructions from the St. Rose Hospital ER.  My appointment was for 2:30, and as soon I as walked in there, I knew I was in for it. The packed waiting room reminded me of the DMV at the end of the month, except half the people there couldn't/shouldn't drive--lots of kids running around and elderly folks in sunglasses.  Of course, I immediately start in with the mental groans and feel like Larry David when I have to sign in at the desk for everyone to see.

As I'm filling out the paperwork, the woman who'd been sitting a couple of seats away walked by me in search of a new magazine. She had on a flowing blue skirt, funky jewelry, cool sandals, beautiful silver hair... I'd say she was about 70.

"You look gorgeous," I told her, smiling out of the side of my mouth that still actually smiles.

My compliment jolted her.  "Well, I wasn't expecting that," she said. She tried to smile back, but it wasn't forthcoming. I could tell she was doing everything possible to suppress her bitch face. "Thank you.  I've been waiting for over an hour.  Yeah, they don't think we have anything better to do."

Hellloooo, kindred spirit!   But she's been waiting over an hour?  FML.

I return my paperwork and the girl at reception directs me to the other side of the waiting area, so I can no long co-rant with my new best friend.  Bummer.  Fortunately, I sit right next to the new double issue of People magazine, so I'm happy for the moment. I'm about a third of the way through it, thinking how Violet Affleck has always been my favorite celebrity kid, when they call my name and move me through a maze to an exam room.

Where I sat.  And sat.  And sat.  And bitched on Facebook that the People in the exam room was from May 16, 2011.  Oh, there was also a Newsweek from March and another from April.  Maybe the Golf magazine was more current; I didn't look.  Oh, and there was a bird and garden magazine, too, which I wouldn't go near.

At about 3:45 the doctor comes in.  I get the feeling he's slightly annoyed that he has to work on a Friday afternoon or has recently been questioning his career choice.  He makes me squint my eyes and smile widely and then pucker my lips. I tell him my left eye is still not blinking and it's making me mental.

"I'm going to send you for a hearing test," he says.

No, I'm gonna send YOU for a hearing test.  I just told you my EYE doesn't blink.

So he leaves, another doctor comes in and leads me down the hall for the hearing test.  "Your hearing is good," she says. What a shock.

I go back to the exam room and wait, wait, wait and finally the doctor comes back.  I tell him my face around my eyes and cheekbones hurts.  And the gland near my left ear is tender.  Maybe I have a sinus infection?

No response.  I'm thinking, Could you just feel my glands?  Humor me!

"Are you taping your eye shut at night?" he says.

I nod.


What do I say?  Yeah, I've completed Tape Your Eye Shut 101 and have passed the certification? Just for fun, I tell him about the green tea bag eye patch I invented.

No response. He starts in about how critical it is to lubricate my eye and keep it shut at night and I could do permanent damage to my eye if I don't.  I start to freak, like everything I've been doing is not quite good enough and now I'm going to be blind in one eye.

"What if there's already damage?" I ask, tearing up this time because I'm ready to cry.

He looks at me.  "There's not." 

I'm thinking, Could you just shine a light in my face?  Again, humor me! A doctor in Albany once told me that the main reason he uses his stethoscope was not that he was concerned about the patient's heart, but that it gave him thinking time.  That's the kind of doctor I like!

Again he leaves the room and I'm waiting... Finally I got out of there at about 4:15 with another prescription for Predisone.  On my way out, the girl tries to set up an appointment in two weeks.  I tell her don't bother; I won't be coming back.

Man, I hate the medical loop.  My heart goes out to people with serious or chronic conditions.  Every week I talk to my friend in Albany who's in need of a kidney/liver transplant, and I swear, I don't know how he keeps his sanity. He's dealing with a ton of specialists and half the time the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

You have to be so proactive; you're the one who's ultimately responsible for your own health care.  We have to remember--we're health care consumers. If a provider doesn't satisfy you, make a change and keep looking until you find someone you like.  I told Mike, this whole experience makes me realize that we need to find a good primary care doctor, someone who takes a holistic approach and doesn't roll his eyes when you mention acupuncture.

Anyway, it looks like it will be at least another week until I see some real improvement.  Again, it's not that bad, I'm not disfigured or anything; the inability to blink is the real pain in the ass.  And I assure you, I will be posting about other topics.  You have to be as tired of this as I am.

One of the reasons I love Louis CK so much is because he's as impatient as I am.  Here's a clip of his bit about waiting in line at the post office.  (Language warning)  Enjoy!


raydenzel1 said...

of course I will be concerned until you give the thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

Uff Doctor's. If that really is their profession... I feel for you, truly I do. I spend anywhere from twice to much more times in the children's hospital where my children see plenty of specialists. Their whole lives it has been this way except for the 4 years without medical insurance. I am thankful they can get treatment I am a nutcase while waiting though. We spend all day or half a day there each time we go. It gives me time to refocus and show my children that I can be as strong as they have been. I do hope you get better soon. You are in my thoughts. I was just about to leave you a message on FB when I clicked on this post. at least you find some humor in all this, many others wouldn't know how to stfu and just roll with it. xoxo

Liz said...

As a diabetic, I'm at the doctor's office every 3 months (which isn't too bad). I'm very, very lucky. I have a great team in the endocrine department at the hospital I visit. I like going to my doctor's office (and I've never waiting more than 5 minutes to be called for care!).

Keep looking for a better doctor. You'll find one eventually. It's a pain but you have to be happy with those that care for you!!