11 January 2016

Do Some Harm?

Happy New Year Comrades!

The depression beast has been at me, so very little blogging has been happening. Also, Snap moved out into her own apartment, Crackle had 4 more vomiting episodes, and Pop takes a bunch of lessons, so I've been busy. I also acquired a genealogy project and got hooked on the stories. As usual. And of course, Christmas. One of our SEAs (special education assistants) quit and I had to hire a new one. So I've been a wee bit busy.

So if you've been here a while, you know how I loathe doctors. To be fair, Crackle currently has a decent team - his neurologist is fabulous, for example. But I feel like I've fluked into this, and should she leave, we're boned. I've told stories before. There was

Dr Prankster

Dr Fuckface

Dr Ego

Dr Douchebag

This shitbag

And I cannot believe I forgot to document my appendix surgery last April. What a nightmare that shit was. But before I get to that, I'll explain what's got my panties in a twist about this all over again. I read these three articles this week:

Doctor misses cancer patient's cancer, probably because he was treating her as a "neurotic jew", where neurotic = female.

Pain management doctor becomes chronic pain patient. Finds out what douchebags her colleagues are.

Teenager dies because doctors miss her cancer while telling her to "Stop Googling your symptoms."

And that all reminded me of this lady, who was having strokes but couldn't get doctors to believe her until she fucking video-recorded it. For fuck's sake.

So, this April, I had appendicitis. As you might guess, I'm not the first to go into an ER. I have to be scared I'm going to die before I'll go to one of those fucking hellholes, especially Vic General. But at 6pm on a Thursday, I went. I told the triage nurse my story, and got bumped from the main waiting room to the priority waiting room. I was in a LOT of pain. A lot. I was not given anything for it. In the priority room, there was a young woman who had somehow been stabbed with something in the eye. She was sobbing from pain. No meds. Hours long wait. An old man fell down the stairs and needed stitches. His wife sat there and bitched that "people with stomachaches" get to go ahead of him (Thanks, lady!) HE got a shot of pain relief.

At 9:30, I finally saw a doctor. He sent me for a CAT scan. Still no meds. CAT came back (the very next.. hour) and the doctor called me in to tell me I had appendicitis (DUH). At that point, I was offered Tylenol 3. Um, no. That shit is a nightmare for me. I hallucinate, my stomach hurts like I've been beaten there, and I get thinking everyone is trying to kill me. So I said all that and then said, "The only pain med I can tolerate is Demerol". The liar then said they don't stock that here. I said I'd wait, that I know it's available. He basically accused me of trying to customize the high I was going to get. I had appendicitis and he still treated me like a drug-seeker! Jesus. So then I said, "But I only need half the normal dose." And bingo, he went and ordered the demerol. Which took an hour for them to get to me. I was in a "room" (it was a storage closet - literally) with two other women. One was an addict with numerous issues - she was given no drugs at all, and she was shaking with pain (or withdrawal). The other, I don't remember well. So the three of us sat there in the storage closet, sharing stories and trying to manage our pain. It was awful. There was no call button if something were to go wrong. No one checked on us for 3 hours.

I finally got to surgery at 2:30am, with the same dose of demerol, long worn off. I was in pain, tired, frustrated, and scared. They took out my appendix, but not the gallbladder that I thought was the problem (and coincidentally, was completely full and really needed to come out years before). The surgeon said, "Oh, when we do gallbladder surgery, we also always take out the appendix, so yeah, we could have done that, but it isn't bothering you so we didn't." I just about cried. I'd cancelled the gallbladder surgery 3 times, and yeah, it bothers me. No one asked.

Afterward, pain management was a joke. Again with the goddamn codeine. I finally went home unmedicated because "We're not going to customize pain control for you" What? Why not? Shouldn't that be exactly what you do? I'd saved pills from after my c-section, and used those. This is why I save pills. I shouldn't have to. I should be treated with dignity and respect.

We are going to have to start demanding respect from doctors and nurses. I don't know how exactly, given their enormous power, and how badly they are overworked in ERs, how scarce GPs are, and how we literally need them for our survival. But I do know I am done. DONE. I am done being talked to as if I am stupid. I am done being condescended to. I am done being told not to advocate for myself by learning about my conditions. I am done being told to "stop googling symptoms" (even though I'm the one who figured out my husband's illness, my son's illness, and my mother's drug side effects, when doctors failed all of them.) I am done being told what I must do. Doctor's orders, my ass. Doctor's educated suggestion, that I may or may not decide to follow. That's how it will be. I'm done.