Thursday, April 17, 2014

That's some catch...

Have the super, best day ever!

I've learned something disturbing.  Now that I am aimlessly floating in the sea of "normal" healthcare, I understand that actually getting cared for is kind of a joke.  For example: Say, you're sobbing into your hands while sitting on the edge of the examination table, crying, "I can't live like this.  I don't know what to do..." The response will be:  "I can order some more tests.  Alrighty, make an appointment at the front desk as you leave, for four weeks from now.  Have a great day."  And, as you wipe your eyes and nose on the sleeve on your shirt, before pulling on your jacket to cover your wet sleeve, you tell the receptionist that you need an appointment in four weeks.  She clickity-clacks on the computer and says, "I don't have anything in four weeks, but I do have an opening on May blah, blah, blah."  That will be about six weeks from today, you figure in your head.  That's fun.  Super!  "Okay... um, okay."
She'll smile and say, "Alright, you're all scheduled, have a nice day!"

Now, I'm not sure about you're reaction, but in real life mine was to sort of throw up in my mouth, and think:  Shut up!  I will not have a nice day.   I don't like you.  (Or "F.U.C.K. YOU"... except I don't really swear a lot in real life).  I didn't smile.

See, my family's physician, (and when I say family, I mean entire extended family), retired this past summer.  He is a genius.  He knew our family health history like it was his job... It was his job.  (I am almost positive that is why he retired).  "Dr. Wally" took care of us.  He took care of me.  If I didn't feel well, I could make an appointment with him within the week, and if it were an emergency, that day.  He would stay late to see any of us.  We could email him if we had a question and he would respond.

Here's a thing.
I don't have a doctor now.  I'll surmise that there is a deficit of actual physicians in this area.  Most people
have a regular Physician's Assistant now, not a doctor.  There is no doctor to step on in when the old assistant doesn't know what the Hell he or she is doing.

My P.A. ordered a complete blood panel along with a full physical at my first appointment.  I received a letter stating my blood tests were great, with the exception of one thing: I have "small red blood cells," which can point to anemia, but requires further tests, if I have any questions I can call the office and..." I saw her again a month later.  She would order more blood tests.  When I told her that my thyroid had to be messing with my body, that it made sense that it was my thyroid, she told me I didn't have access to the information doctors had.  Some people don't like it when you figure stuff out yourself, I guess.  I said, "Actually I do.  I can access almost all the relevant medical studies and journal which are referenced in the public health publications." She said she would order tests to check my Thyroid functionality.

My Ferritin and Hematocrit levels were very low.  (Well, very low for a healthy adult woman; under the "normal range" on the lab scale which encompasses all of humanity.  Those are blood problems).  My Free T4 is at the very lowest end of normal.  The rest of the tests hadn't come back yet.  Now, I would not even know the results of these tests if I didn't happen to see Dr. A. the very day after I got my blood drawn, and if I hadn't told the lab tech to send him the results as well as my fun P.A. lady.  I don't see her until mid-May, so she probably won't send the letter telling me I'm going to die until early May, I would say.  Dr. A doesn't do the whole blood and thyroid thing.  He did want me to see an endocrinologist.  He did call a very big practice in a very big hospital.  They said they could see me in June if he sent along my entire medical history and all his notes, and all my blood tests, and a small biopsy sample of my liver...

No...  They didn't need a sample of my liver.

I was sobbing all over my shirt because I can barely hold my head up most days, I'm very depressed some days, and and I'm living in a foggy-headed malaise every day.  I guess that's pretty A-Okay in the current, "normal" health care system.  You have to feel really, really sick to get an appointment with a doctor.  If your sickness isn't an "emergency," you may eventually see a medical professional, but not get help until she orders some tests.  Get some tests, but you need to see a specialist.  You can see a specialist...  in June.

I mean, this super old man, with crooked knees and a crooked back, wearing a VFW hat, and leaning heavily on a cane, whom I did smile at sincerely as I left the health care center, got his toe cut off and sewed back on.  That's not A-Okay.  Is it?

He told me about his toe as I drove him home in the rain.  See, his foot was hurting something awful and he didn't think he could walk all that way.  He didn't ask me for a ride.  I just happened to smile at him, and he happened to tell me that as was reaching for my hood, ready to run through the April showers and icy puddles to my car.
Are you waiting for a ride? 
 I'm getting up the nerve to start walking.  
I can drive you home.  
Could you truly, young lady?  Thank you.  I would appreciate that quite a bit. 

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