doctors

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Cancer Journey: Part 1

Published October 20, 2017 by lynn k scott

I am the first to admit that I am not the ideal patient.  Heck, I’m a barely tolerable patient.  Regardless of my good/bad patient status, effective communication between the doctors/staff and the patient is top priority.  It’s the foundation of a trustful, working relationship between the two.

I admit, I’m extremely direct.  I become irritated very quickly when I have stated expectations and they are either ignored or downplayed.  Add in ill-mannered office staff and a stressful situation turns downright ugly.

Now, we are talking about a cancer center.  A place where emotions run high; especially after patients go and they have been newly diagnosed.  You would think a medical assistant, walking into the waiting room, would have the faintest inkling you don’t try to get the patient’s attention by saying, “hey”.

Sorry, I don’t answer to that.

I was playing a game on my phone when the first “hey” was said.  My husband happened to look up, but didn’t say anything.  As I was non-responsive, this person thought saying, “HEY!” was the next course of action.  This time I did look up.  She stated the doctor’s name and that I needed to come with her.

STRIKE 1

We walk into the room, where she informs me she will take my vitals.  Hmmm….last I knew, I had the right to consent to any and all treatment; even vitals.  Based on this poor medical assistant’s communication skills in the lobby and now telling me what she will be doing; I think not.

My New York personality emerged to take center stage.  I told her she would not be taking vitals.  She thought putting her hand on her hip, telling me she needed those vitals and whatever blah blah blah she uttered after (I stopped listening) only reinforced my stubborn nature and I promptly dismissed her.

STRIKE 2

She didn’t take kindly to that.  Arguing with me wasn’t going to work.  If nothing, I’m a stubborn, Irish New Yorker and I’m pictured in the dictionary next to “Stubborn” (ok not really, but I should be).  I still have the right to say no and apparently, she wasn’t taught that patients give consent.  I have a personal issue with being told what I will and won’t do by people who are not in charge.  I didn’t deem vitals necessary for a consultation appointment.  Not to mention, tell me you are taking vitals instead of asking if it’s ok to vitals will get them declined EVERY TIME!

The medical assistant walks through another office door where she proceeds to loudly complain about me.  Well, my first oncology visit is off to a great start.  I’m TICKED off and an unsuspecting doctor is going to walk through the door and he and I will be having words about his medical assistant.

Needless to say, the appointment did not go well.  He kept pushing IV chemotherapy when the benefits are barely above oral chemotherapy and have a lot more side effects.  I don’t know how many times I told him no to IV chemo, but it was obvious that was his preferred method of treatment.  I actually had to tell him not to mention it again.

My husband and I left the appointment and went to a bar.  Wishful thinking the alcohol would kill the cancer.  Oh well, the drink was needed and went down smooth.

Now, after more poor communication with the oncology office, we can’t find a location where I can get a blood draw to take a bunch of poison that will or won’t cure this cancer.  Apparently, the medical profession thinks everyone sits home all day and no one works.  They must think that because no blood draws after 4:00 p.m.

Now I could go to the cancer center.  However, their poor treatment of me and lack of communication skills raises my anxiety 10-fold.  I don’t even want to go there for the necessary appointments.

The situation is so bad, I’m looking at driving 20 minutes out of my way, and maybe incurring bridge toll, in order to go to a better facility because I’m not receiving proper care where I am.

My positive mood about getting through this has changed into being angry about having cancer.  I don’t want to see doctors, nurses and anyone associated with the medical profession.  I hate the cancer center.  It just reminds me of the family I lost.  It reminds me how this disease has made strong people weak before it took their lives.

Needless to say, my mood is less an amicable at the moment.  I deactivated my Facebook account because I am having trouble just interacting with online friends.  I will probably reactivate it again, but saying that I’m overwhelmed is an understatement.

 

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Now for the curve ball…

Published September 15, 2017 by lynn k scott

I haven’t posted in awhile; longer than it should have been.  I’ve been struggling with my health.  For those of you who follow this blog, you’re aware I am less than a fan of the medical profession.   Ok, ok, I actually loathe it and view dealing with doctors and health facilities as a necessary evil.

I’ve had multiple issues trying to be seen for an ongoing issue.  First specialists were only working when I had to pick my daughter up from school.  Perish the thought they work past 3 o’clock.  Then, I couldn’t find a native English-speaking doctor.  Hold up…hop off that train of thought you are beginning to process.  I had a non-native doctor dismiss my symptoms because she didn’t take me seriously.  When she finds it appropriate to recommend a banana and drinking more water (without knowing my dietary habits), yup, it justifies walking out and asking for a US-born physician.  Heaven-forbid wanting an English-speaking doctor is the sin the medical practice made it out to be.  How dare I? Sorry, hiring native Spanish-speaking, Farsi-speaking, Chinese-speaking doctors, for the comfort of the patient is no different than what I was asking.  All in all, I ended up being banned for my instance on seeing a female doctor; whose first language was English.

Onto waiting for the first of the month to be seen by another practice.  Oh, I’m a new patient and haven’t been “established”.  That means my necessary appointment can wait an additional two weeks while the insurance carrier and practitioner discriminate new and established patients and refuse to give them the next available appointment.

Finally!  I see a doctor.  She regurgitates a peptic ulcer that I was treated for a year ago and I’m there to see her about the same issue as the treatment was effective.  She cannot understand my not wanting a scope stuck down my throat to test for an ulcer that I tell her I am not suffering from; that something else is wrong.  She tells me I have insurance and can’t see the big deal in my refusal.  Ummm…invasive and a 20% copay AFTER a $1500 deductible.  Welcome to the real world, Doc.  I refill the ulcer meds anyway. I message her for three days in a row:  medicine is not working.

I gave up.  She was ignoring me because I refused an unnecessary procedure.  I chose to look the other way regarding my copays and headed to the Emergency Room (ER).  The ER thanked me for coming in.  I apparently have Intussusception.   That’s being caused by Tubulovillous of the colon.

Needless to say, I am already sick of dealing with the G.I. dept, the oncology dept, as well as constant communication with my surgeon.  Yup, next week I go under the knife for a few hours to have a good section of my colon removed.  The ulcer, that two doctors said I have was actually a polyp that grew to be 10-15 cm and is blocking 80% of my colon. I paid copay after copay, because I was in PAIN.  Let me tell you, the pain is nothing short of being in second to third stage labor, for weeks at a time.  I have been trying to resolve this, actively, for over a year.  Doctors:  LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS!!!

I’m glad to have a diagnosis and treatment plan.  I’m not happy with knowing, every doctor I have spoken with, while telling me we will have to wait for pathology, believes I have cancer.  We have to wait for the mass to be removed and tested.

I can deal with having cancer, if that’s what the test shows.  Telling my kids, esp. my older children who watched both my parents get diagnosed and ultimately watched my father and sister lose their cancer battles is scary.  Telling my 11-year old, who is basically being raised as an only child is terrifying.  She is already emotional with my first hospital stay and my upcoming surgery and longer hospital adventure. She has heard the word, ‘cancer’, but has no idea what it truly means. Children shouldn’t feel afraid for their parents.

While my family, friends and church have been extremely supportive, whenever you are forced to face your mortality, your brain goes into overdrive.  I have given this to God.  I know he has a plan for me; even if I don’t understand it.  I am used to being independent. I don’t want those who depend on me to worry.  I just pray for strength for my family.

The doctor will see you now…NOT!

Published February 10, 2017 by lynn k scott

No one in today’s world can question the reality that the face of your medical care has changed.  With new laws, requirements, insurance requirements and medical office billing, trying to see “your” doctor isn’t always your choice.

Whether you have a chronic medical condition or just need to be seen for newly developed symptoms, making an appointment isn’t as easy as it used to be.  In today’s world, the emergence of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) are the new “in” thing.

“Hi, I’d like to make a doctor’s appointment”.

Seem’s like a simple enough request.  After all, most of us are pay enormous premiums and/or copays for the privilege of a doctor to spend 10 minutes with us.  That’s in addition to two or three patients being scheduled for the same time slot so the doctor doesn’t lose any money, should there be a cancellation.

“Sure, you there is an appointment with Jean Smith at 3:30.”

There you go…your appointment…WAIT!  Where was the word “doctor” to go with that name?  Ahh…did you catch that too?  That’s because in this case, you won’t be seeing a doctor; but a PA instead.

Awesome.  No, not really.  I already have issues with doctors “practicing” medicine.  If I’m going to drop $45 on an appointment that a General Practitioner wasn’t able to resolve, why in God’s name would I entrust an on-going, chronic issue, to someone who isn’t even a board-certified doctor?

I don’t have the flu and I don’t need a throat culture performed.  I need a real diagnosis, made by a doctor, that will resolve my issue; the first time around.  “Oh, sorry, there are no doctor appointments available then”.  Don’t you just love the system?

Truth be told, PAs and NAs are half the price of a real doctor.  They are in even in the specialist’s office…the specialist!  Someone who may, or may not, have done any clinical work, who is now entrusted to see, diagnose and treat you, independent of a doctor reviewing their work.

Does that leave you with the same lack of confidence it does for me?  So, what are the other options?  Urgent care…yea..seeing a doctor, at double the cost of your primary’s copay only to refer you to your primary doctor.  The emergency room.  You’re in pain.  You have severe symptoms; chronic symptoms…just go to the emergency room.  Sure all the testing will be done right then.  You’ll be lucky if you only walk out owing about $2,000 as your portion of this wonderful care provided by your insurance.

All this, because carriers and medical offices prefer using under-qualified medical personnel instead of having you treated by a physician of your choosing.  After all, it’s only your hard-earned dollar that is footing this medical nightmare, right?

If you’re vegan than you are neglectful

Published April 6, 2015 by lynn k scott

If you’re vegan than your neglectful?  Did I just say that?  Did I just infuriate an entire dietary population?  No, because I don’t believe that.  I am doing exactly what a headline did because a pediatrician in Florida seemed to have a communication breakdown with a new mom regarding her newborn baby.

The article and video in this link illustrates to me just how judgmental and abusive those in power, such as doctors, can be. When a 12-day old baby was brought in for a checkup, the doctor wanted the baby to have a formula supplement because of a latching issue caused by a tongue defect.  When the mother raised concerns she was a strict vegan and a needed non-animal supplement for the baby, the emergency room was the option the doctor insisted on.

It begs the question why the doctor didn’t give the mother a soy-based formula, which is vegan safe, and let the infant have a bottle in the office?  Did the doctor get uppity because the mother of the newborn dared to question something that went against her dietary belief?  Did the mother not have the right to choose to spend $30 (give or take) at the grocery store on soy-based formula instead of getting raped in the emergency room with their ridiculous fees to provide the same treatment the mother was planning to do at home?

Was it necessary to arrest the mother for doing exactly the same treatment at home?  Oh wait, she disobeyed a doctor’s suggestion.  While failure to thrive and dehydration are serious issues for an infant, it was suspected, according to the article. The doctor didn’t give the mother a chance to give the baby a soy-formula bottle to see if that would help the situation.  Had the mother been able to see another pediatrician, perhaps a less judgmental one, this entire situation could have been avoided.

The fact that the mother was keeping check-up appointments, seeking another opinion and doing what the doctor suggested, just not in the manner the doctor would have preferred, shows she was not neglectful.  I am in the minority, according the comments on the article, that side with the mother.

I personally hope this doctor is sued, loses his practice and learns he is not god.  He doesn’t get to enforce his suggestions as law.  This doctor obviously did not agree with the vegan mother.  The article tried to tie the two situations together, which really had nothing to do with each other.  Vegan breast milk is the same as any other breast milk.  A tongue defect preventing latching while breast feeding will still be an issue regardless of the mother’s diet.

While I personally could never follow a vegan lifestyle, I did follow a vegetarian one for almost a decade.  It’s not for the medical profession to decide how you should eat.  After all, if that were the case, McDonald’s and the like would be out of business by now.  They should advise all legitimate avenues and then allow sound-minded individuals to follow what they feel is best.  This doctor’s overstepping stripped a mother and child of 5 months of bonding time.  That is inexcusable simply because she just didn’t wouldn’t do exactly what he said, in the time frame he said it.

Establishing Appointment: I call BS!

Published March 16, 2015 by lynn k scott

No secret I don’t play nice with those in the medical field.  Ironically, I have several close friends who hold medical positions. I just never utilize their facilities.  So if you’re offended by those that bash the medical community, you might want to skip this particular post.

Dear Doctors:

I FINALLY managed to make a damn appointment after 30 minutes on the phone because of your office procedures which are in direct conflict with the carrier’s policy. I’m tired of this “establishing appointment” shit. You are not the doctors of yesterday. Your clinic mentality does more harm than good. You barely know your patients because you are rarely in the office. You allow your cohorts to pick up your slack.  The increase in scripts, potentially dangerous combinations, not treating the root of on-going symptoms and most of all, not even knowing the patient’s name before entering the room.  Where is the trust bond?  It never existed because you flip patients faster than houses are flipped in Vegas.

Patients rarely end up with the doctor you “establish” with anyway. You up and change practices like us little people change shoes or are constantly unavailable and we get stuck with whomever is available.

Yet, a meet and greet appointment isn’t going to change the fact I’m not telling you shit. It’s need to know and you only need to know what I am there for. My medical history is my business til I deem it necessary that you need to know. This appointment is strictly to have a test ordered and then I will see an Internal Medical doctor, which costs more to see. Why should I pay you $25 to order a stupid test. Why should I go in at all when the same information I will give you in person can be given over the phone?

Family medical doctors are strictly a means to an end. When I need something that any doctor can do, then you’re worth the $5 copay. When I need a real doctor, who can’t relay on Nurse Practioners to do their job, I see someone in Internal Medicine. Another benefit of that is there are less kids at their facilities.

I’m sorry, I have enough anxiety just making and attending appointments, I cannot deal with other people’s kids during this time. My patience starts at nil when I need to go to the doctor. I also stand less of a chance of catching whatever the kid has because most of the issues that internal medicine deals with aren’t contagious.  You love your open floor plans, yet don’t have the foresight to separate those sick with those who are well.

Health “care” – biggest damn scam on the planet.

Go ahead…say it…I already know I”m a bitch. I’m ok with it. I will always despise doctors until one gets off his/her ass and proves they give a shit about what they do for a living.

Lucy…you got some ‘splainin to do

Published March 5, 2015 by lynn k scott

Without anyone else to walk me through the hellacious insurance nightmare, I figure Lucy could provide a better explanation than what’s been offered so far.  This is today’s exercise in futility.

  • My plan hardly has any providers – still getting those set up (4 months later…sigh)
  • We’re going to be borrowing providers from an established plan – week late on that being done….(sigh)
  • Given a name to a specialist – as my plan is able to authorize referrals without a PCP. Yet, the provider refuses to set appointment without PCP referral (catch 22 much?)
  • I don’t have a PCP because there aren’t any providers setup in my area yet (see the first two line items)
  • PCP (if available) doesn’t handle my issue – so I’m supposed to waste $25 plus lose time from work ($$$) to see someone to write a damn referral for something they don’t address, to someone who won’t see me without referral from someone not qualified to assess my issues?

So Lucy, I say again….you’ve got some ‘splainin to do.

NOTE:  If anyone would like to take on the roll of Lucy, please feel free to entertain me.  It’s really almost laughable at this point.

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